Calling the Calder Valley constituency!

Dear Calder Valley constituents

By Rodney Burton, CC BY-SA 2.0,
By Rodney Burton, CC BY-SA 2.0,

I’d like to thank you for your support for my e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting. Your constituency has provided the largest number of signatures supporting my e-petition – over 850 signatures with just over a week to go.

I guess that the reason that support has been so strong from places such as Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd, Sowerby Bridge, Rastrick and Brighouse is that these areas are all susceptible to flooding and that moorlands on the hills above such towns are the source of much of the flood water. This includes areas such as Walshaw Moor which has been under a spotlight ever since Natural England started legal proceedings against it back in 2011/12.

I know that many of you believe that the intensive management of the moors above your towns has increased the frequency and intensity of floods in recent years, and that those floods have caused misery in your community because of their effects on businesses and homes.  My view, based on the studies from Leeds University and others, is that you are right to look to the hills for the source of your problems.

A ban on driven grouse shooting would remove such intensive and damaging management from the uplands of Britain and would lessen flood risk for many homes and home insurance costs for many people (for we all bare some of these costs – though some communities much more than others).

welcomingI’ve visited Walshaw Moor and stayed in the Crown Inn in Hebden Bridge on two occasions, I interviewed the former landlady, Lesley Wood about the impacts of the 2012 floods on her business for my book Inglorious – conflict in the uplands, and I’ve spoken on these matters in the Trades Hall at Hebden Bridge.  I really hope that the government will respond to your plight and my e-petition provides an opportunity for them to do so.

I wonder whether your MP, Craig Whittaker, will speak in the debate and what he will say if he does. Surely, he ought to be putting your case for relief from the danger of flooding and for action to be taken to manage our hills much better for the benefit of the many and not just for the few who pursue the hobby of driven grouse shooting.

And I wonder what the Defra minister who will wind up the debate will say – will she (for it is likely to be Therese Coffey) acknowledge your position and offer any hope of a solution?

Thank you again for your support for my e-petition.  I wonder how close to 1000 signatures you will get by the time when the petition closes at midnight on 20 September?

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9 Replies to “Calling the Calder Valley constituency!”

  1. Millions upon millions of voters will have been appalled by the scenes on our tv screens from Hebden Bridge last Boxing Day and would be incredulous to know the number of serious flooding events since Walshaw Moor changed hands in the early noughties as opposed to the preceding decades. A stat I only became aware of when I visited this site a few weeks ago.

    It won’t be good enough for Andrea Leadsom and co to visit and sympathise and pledge all sorts of artificial future defences when the bleeding obvious is staring us in the face. The message must be pressed home during the parliamentary debate and preliminary briefings. Mark is doing a good job overall. It’s a pity all conservationists and conservation groups can’t come together on this and some of the squabbling on this website is shameful! Fiddling while Calderdale floods!!

    I for one would like to see a compulsory purchase order placed on the moorland above the valley and people employed to restore and maintain it to its full natural function of maximum water storage and flow reduction.

    I don’t have a prob with grouse shooting per se, just not at the expense of other people’s homes, businesses and lives.

    1. Why compulsory purchase, if there is a case to be answered further to evidence that mis-management caused issues to downstream catchment then there will be a claim made against the estate(s) and their allies whose actions caused this?

      The Walshaw complaint progresses (and we are still a member state given that Article 50 has yet to be triggered).

      There needs to be a comprehensive assessment of all the financial elements in this whole issue, I’ll not repeat them again they are well documented. If parliament do not address this then they fail in their duties?

      Post Brexit land subsidies should focus on delivery of public benefit not private profit for the few at the expense of the many? Which I think is what Roderick is also suggesting?

      We need to focus on thorough, detailed, accurate facts and figures, shelve the destructive vitriol and collaboratively deliver justice for the benefit of local communities and for the environmental and for nature conservation interest essential to us all?

      Crucial to all assessment is independent validation, not undertaken by any party with a potential conflict of interest?

      1. Fiddling while Calderdale floods! Let’s remove the problem of land ownership Asap and start the process of moorland restoration before the next period of exceptional rainfall.

        In full agreement re shelving the destructive vitriol. I went through the correspondence between Philip Merricks, Keith Cowieson and Mark on this blog yesterday after being surprised by the exchange over Sheffield presentation notes. How much would a united front help the cause?

  2. There is a bigger question here, which the probability that the UK will leave the CAP makes urgent and pressing: should we be thinking again about a land owning system that permits and owner to cause damage to another landowner ? And if not should society fund landowners to deliver benefits to the wider community ?

    And the Calder valley is a good starting point because, sadly, it has for along time been a key exemplar flood risk site -just look at the OS map and you will see quite clearly that, in contrast to most catchments, there is just nowhere for the water to go – which is why what happens on the moors above is so crucial.

  3. Today’s words: bloody harriers!

    After three days of unsuccessful searching for a juvenile Pallid Harrier on the Eastern Moors, Derbyshire, I am less than amused with both harriers and predator control free ex-grouse moors! A sighting tomorrow, however, and i’ll I no doubt adore them both again!

    The scores for the last few days;

    Saturday 10th September finished on: 121,159 (+152 signatures)
    Sunday 11th September finished on: 121,421 (+262 signatures)
    Monday 12th September finished on: 121, 611 (+190 signatures)
    Total for the week so far: 604 signatures (daily average 201)

    Only 8 days to go!

  4. Amazingly another 3000 homes have been identified in the Carlisle area that could flood! Remember 16,000 homes flooded in the North of England this time. Only 90 in the Somerset Levels and 9 in the Thames Valley when the papers were full of disaster! Suddenly the pressure group wakes up and says the £12 million won’t even buy the sand bags! I approached EA in 2005 and gave them a chance to do some thing right so this time I approached Wildfowl and Wetland Trust and showed them 3 main sites to store water during peak flood times. I am sure it was the governments lack of cash which ‘dried up’ the scheme but the difference between the money spent in the south compared to the north is ridiculous.

  5. I am unfortunately a constituent of Craig Whittaker in Calderdale.The reply I have received from him concerning the petition would make your blood boil.He is going to check with the landowner of Walshaw estate to see what is really going on up there and how much,if any burning has taken place this year and to find out what contribution ,if any it makes to flooding of the valleys..(I kid you not).
    He thinks the beetle banks and hedgerows encouraged by Grouse moor owners are helping the wildlife up there.
    It’s getting harder to sleep at night.

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