I object!

Picture (Device Independent Bitmap) 1

Picture (Device Independent Bitmap) 2

butt track

I’m not the only one to have objected to this retrospective planning application for a ‘temporary’ track to a line of grouse butts.  You could object too, but comments have to be submitted by Monday so it is a job for this weekend.

At the time of writing this post, all 30 comments are objections but none is from a conservation organisation. In favour are the applicant and Natural England.

NEhouseYes, that’s right, Natural England, despite the fact that this application is made in the Peak District National Park, the Peak District Moors Special Protection Area for Birds, the South Pennine Moors Special Area of Conservation and the Dark Peak Site of Special Scientific Interest.

The application is made by Wakefield Farms Ltd who are based down the road from me here in Northants and it is reported that they are owned by Dan Richmond Watson, who has an interest in grouse shooting. Fair enough.

The reason for needing this track are ‘to facilitate plant access for moorland restoration and general management access. the material laid will not effect or alter the vegetation which is encouraged to grow through the matting to provide a stable platform to permit access.’ apparently. So it’s not just to provide access for shooters to the centre of a line of grouse butts, despite that being the thing that might immediately come to mind when seeing the location on the lowest of the three maps above?

Here are some images of the track – remember this is in a National Park, on an SSSI, SPA and SAC and that Natural England supports this retrospective application.



Photos (all three above): Bob Berzins

This is industrialisation of a National Park – and for what purpose? It couldn’t be for access to those grouse butts could it?

As an aid to moorland restoration it seems a bit of a failure.

This is my letter of objection:

I am not a local resident and I have never set foot on this part of the Peak District – though I do know the general area well and visit it frequently.  I have read the comments by others and support them all: I am particularly struck by the points made by Addy, Berzins, Besley, Clough, Grange, Hakes, Halstead, Minkovic and Wakeley.

National Parks exist to maintain and enhance natural beauty – this project is a failure at this as it is an eyesore and has caused habitat damage to an SSSI, SPA and SAC.

Others have suggested that this track appears to be used to provide access for shooters to a line of grouse butts, but this does not form part of the application unless grouse shooting is regarded as ‘general management access’.  I do not regard grouse shooting as ‘general management’.  Is it possible that the applicant has not fully disclosed the reasons for their need for this track? Any ongoing need for the track is unclear: the application should be refused and the applicant required to remove the track and make good the habitat damage.

Others have pointed out that this application is flawed in not fully describing the whole of the track and its impact on the environment. That, and the retrospective nature of the application do not increase one’s confidence that this scheme would be as described in the application into the future.

See images posted on my blog https://markavery.info/2016/05/06/i-object/ ‎which illustrate the damage caused to the habitat and the eyesore of the track.











Website Pin Facebook Twitter Myspace Friendfeed Technorati del.icio.us Digg Google StumbleUpon Premium Responsive


47 Replies to “I object!”

  1. Mark,
    I hope somewhere you have used the words “I object” in your letter. Otherwise it will not be treated as an objection.

  2. Two things appear to be missing here:

    1) An ‘appropriate steps assessment’: i.e., ‘appropriate steps’ are required (Habitats Directive Article 6(2)) to put right the habitat deterioration apparently brought about by the previous owner – laying this material, and continuing use, is not demonstrated to be an ‘appropriate step’ – will it put right the habitat loss within the footprint of the track?

    2) Information to inform a Habitats Regulations Assessment: there’s an EIA screening opinion, but that’s not the same as an HRA (required by Article 6(3) of the same Habitats Directive). There’s no information here, including within NE’s letter, that amounts to ‘information to inform an appropriate assessment’. Until such information is supplied, one cannot assess whether this particular plan will adversely affect the any SACs/SPAs, alone and, crucially, in combination with any other plans or projects. If this site is subject to on-going grouse moor management, there’s great potential for in-combination impacts and an adverse effect on integrity. NE can’t simply say ‘we’ll supply info for the HRA if needed’ – this information should be consulted upon in support of the current application, not left to some secret afterthought discusses.

    And the track looks bloody awful!

    1. Nice one Messi. Keep legal beagling and litigious beavering into their paperwork.

  3. I should add…….the scope of an Appropriate Assessment must include both the track itself and the use to which it is put, so if it’s used, in part, to support damaging land management, such as burning, drainage etc, then those activities form part of the plan itself and should be assessed as part of the ‘alone’ question, not left until one asks the ‘in combination’ question. So, in my opinion, this plan will likely have a significant effect alone, due both to physical habitat loss and the uses to which the track is put.

    1. With respect Paul, I think it is our land which they manage for public benefit.

      There is a serious question needs asking about this particular public body being fit for purpose?

  4. I too have objected. The track looks an appalling mess, I also think in principle we should object to retrospective applications of this nature.

    1. Good point Paul – and the fact that the applicants are applying for retrospective planning permission implies that they also did not consult with NE first. If that is the case then the SSSI management conditions will have been breached and the owners should have been issued with a Cross Compliance penalty. As this would clearly constitute an intentional breach of the management conditions, then one would expect the financial penalty to be in the region of 10-15% of the applicants combined Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 payments. Last year Wakefield Farms Ltd received £288,549.94 in subsidy payments. The RPA should be contacted to see what deductions have been made, and if not, why not?

      1. It all rather smacks of collusion on the part of the local NE senior staff. I wonder if someone is a member of the grouse shooting community? It wouldn’t be unusual, but I wonder what the internal rules are when staff find themselves in a situation of conflicting loyalties.

        1. Ernest & Sandra

          Whilst I am one of the many who might be keen to see NE culled, there are very occasionally instances where they are required by senior hierarchy not to act, look at ‘Wuthering’ well documented by Mark and others. Failure to progress the review and creation of SSSIs etc. As ever ‘politically motivated’ management appointments? I don’t envy grassroots staff, but then again a civil service salary, pension and perks ….

          Yes, I seem to recall a regional director holding ‘fraternity’ membership? So, some bad apples but we must still try to ensure they follow and implement procedure and correctly interpret the regulations? If you read NE letter of support they are clearly covering up? “Natural England will be happy to support the Authority in making any assessment of this proposal with regard to protested sites and species including a Habitats Regulation Assessment.” ‘Protested sites’ (as opposed to protected perhaps?), were they anticipating this challenge?

          How could they now claim independence and undertake required assessments as a supporter of the applicant? There is a potential conflict of interest and given they operate in open office(s) suggestions of Chinese Walls, pah!

          As for the RPA best of luck as they do not take kindly to suggestions that agri-industrialists be investigated.

    2. Exactly, Paul. I made that point in my objection.
      Giving retrospective permission amounts to saying ‘don’t bother asking first, just do it, and we’ll agree after.’
      It’s outrageous.

    1. Apologies for the copycat, lazy Sunday morning missive of an objection which is heavily based on Messi’s hard worked comments above.

  5. My name is Dale Turner and I am the local Green Party activist in this area. This sort of industrialisation of our beautiful wild moorland must be stopped. This is a part of our national parks and so we must all fight to protect the destruction if these areas. If we allow one of these tracks then many more will follow if the grouse shooting industry get their way.
    It is unacceptable for this to be allowed to continue and we must fight this. I would like to form a group of activists who would like to join us at the green party in objecting to this sort of destruction of habitat to be allowed.
    I object to this being allowed to happen in the strongest terms possible to protect the habitat and the wildlife who use this habitat including the grouse.
    If the applicants do not have planning permission then these mates should be moved immediately.

    I object and wsnt a stop put to this destruction now.

    1. Good work Dale.

      I’d very much like to see the Green Party take driven grouse shooting (or rather than intensifying land management it seems to require) as one of its national cause celebre in nature conservation policy – have a national-level Green Party biodiversity campaign theme for 2016 focused on this issue.

      If that can be done, you’ll have my active support and involvement.

  6. Agree with the above comments and have copied/pasted some of them into my letter of objection to the council. Hope you don’t mind – Ernest Moss + Messi!
    Thank you Mark for continuing to make these issues public.

  7. There have been a few comments about how ugly the tracks looks.
    Of course it does but i’m not sure that ugliness doesn’t distract from the most important issue.
    There are roads going to the grouse butts at Mallowdale Fell in the Forest of Bowland which are better roads than where i live.
    I am sure if someone like Lizz Truss or head of NE went to visit they would think they look wonderful.
    I remember first seeing that road when it was only a few hundred yards long and wondered what it was all about. Now i look on a satellite map and see it goes all the way to Tarnbrook, Littledale and Abbeystead.
    Little motorways across our moorland and those huts have huge parking areas.
    Quite literally ‘They paved paradise to put up a parking lot.’
    That is what i object too.

  8. Objection sent….and have asked others in a 100 strong local natural history e-group to do likewise.
    Ps Anand: that Joni Mitchell quote is so apt.

  9. I too have lodged an objection:
    ‘I have been walking along the Mickleden Edge footpath – one of my favourite walks – for forty-five years. This track was already there when I walked the path almost two years ago. And they are only just applying for planning permission? Just who do these people think they are? On recent walks, under icy / wet conditions, the track was actually quite dangerously slippery to cross. And it is, of course, an utter eyesore, an ugly scar on the landscape. I strongly believe that the party responsible for putting it there should be required to remove it at their own expense.’
    Thank you Mark Avery for alerting the public to the fact that this was done without permission.

    1. Follow the first link in Mark’s post above, scroll down a bit on that page – you just need to enter your name, email address, tick the ‘Object’ box, then enter some text saying why you object in the text box – they’ve made it really quick and easy, so go for it.

  10. Having lived in Derbyshire for the whole of my seventy years I despair and object to the continued degrading of our beautiful countryside.I see this track as another blight and am disgusted at the way it was installed with a view to get planning permission at a later date. I despair!!!!

  11. Thanks Mark for alerting us to this abuse and the urgency in registering our objections. I have just registered my own strong objection

  12. Just seen this! As the end of public consultation is todays date, hopefully any submitted today will be accepted?! Sent an objection anyway, makes my blood boil, and at this time of the morning, that’s not good!

  13. Just received a standard email reply to my objection …….

  14. The above link isn’t happy …… so here’s a copy ….
    Bit worried about the ‘delegated powers’ ………

    Peak District National Park Authority
    Tel: 01629 816200
    E-mail: customer.service@peakdistrict.gov.uk
    Web: http://www.peakdistrict.gov.uk
    Minicom: 01629 816319
    Aldern House . Baslow Road . Bakewell . Derbyshire . DE45 1AE

    Your ref:
    Our ref: P/6669
    Date: 09 May 2016

    Application Code Number: NP/S/0316/0214
    Development Description: The laying of access matting to facilitate plant access for moorland restoration and general management access.
    Site Address: Route from Mickleden Edge heading towards Harden Moss, Midhope Moor, , Grid Ref – 419344, 397700

    Dear Sir/Madam

    Thank you for taking the time to make comments about the above planning application. The application is being dealt with by John Keeley who can be contacted by email at john.keeley@peakdistrict.gov.uk or on 01629 816378.

    Your views will be taken into account, along with all other comments, when a decision is made on the planning application. You will be told the outcome within 10 days of the decision.

    Please be aware that, by law, all letters commenting on planning applications become public documents once we receive them and so your letter, including your name and address, will be available for other people to see on our website or in a file at our offices.

    Unfortunately due to the high number of letters we receive we cannot normally enter into further correspondence on issues raised in letters commenting on planning applications, although all your views will be taken into account when the decision is made.

    Decisions on most applications are taken by planning officers under what is known as ‘delegated powers’. This means the planning officer dealing with the application will thoroughly investigate the specific circumstances at the planning application site and consider the relevant planning policies. They will make a recommendation to a planning manager who then makes a final decision.

    However, in cases that are more complicated or contentious, an application may go to our planning committee. You can find out which applications are going to committee by visiting our website at https://democracy.peakdistrict.gov.uk/ieListMeetings.aspx?CommitteeId=132 or ringing 01629 816362.

    Anyone who wishes to speak about a particular application going to planning committee can do so through our Public Participation Scheme.

    All you need to do is make a request, which we need to receive at the latest by noon two working days before the meeting date. You will then be able to speak for three minutes and make your points directly to the members who make decisions. You may be asked questions by those members.

    Details of how to make a request to speak are available at http://www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/planning/have-your-say/comment-on-an-application , by ringing 01629 816362, emailing democratic.services@peakdistrict.gov.uk or visiting our Aldern House offices in Baslow Road, Bakewell, Derbyshire, DE45 1AE during office hours.

    All the papers relating to the planning application you are interested in can also be seen on our website at http://pam.peakdistrict.gov.uk/ and clicking ‘planning search’. You can search for application by using the application number, applicants name or the address of the application site.

    Thank you for your interest in this planning application.

    Yours faithfully,

    John Scott
    Director of Planning

    In any correspondence, please quote our reference and Application Code Number.

  15. We submitted a response (objection) ahead of the published deadline & for some unexplained reason, it’s not registered – deliberate or the technology? We have followed up, watch this space ….

    1. Bog Trotter – the comments are dated. Last time I looked any submitted on Sunday or Monday weren’t yet there. They are catching up I guess – and the consultation period has been extended too.

    2. Bog Trotter – the comments are dated. Last time I looked any submitted on Sunday or Monday weren’t yet there. They are catching up I guess – and the consultation period has been extended too.

      1. Cheers Mark

        Looked and the initial objection (Sunday), with rationale, is still not posted yet the reminder sent today (Monday) is.

  16. It was a bit rushed, and didn’t make any startlingly original points, but I submitted a response mid-afternoon Monday.

  17. There were 91 objections printed on Monday morning …….. 139 just now and hopefully many more to come in before 27th May ……

  18. Any idea what’s happened to this planning application, Mark – details appear to have vanished from their web site (I thought details would remain available even after the end of the consultation period)?

  19. What has actually happened to this application? I can no longer find it on the planning website. If the application – which was retroactive – was withdrawn, does that mean that the track will be removed, and if so when, by whom and at whose expense?

Comments are closed.