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.
Yes, 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.
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 blogwhich illustrate the damage caused to the habitat and the eyesore of the track.