No comment never looks that good

My question to Defra 0n 21 November:

What is the status of the complaint made by the RSPB and Ban the Burn campaigners of Hebden Bridge against the UK government and to the European Commission regarding management practices on grouse moors?
When will Defra make a public comment on the case?
Defra’s response to me today:

Dear Mr Avery,

Thank you for your email of 21 November about the Hebden Bridge complaint.

I am afraid we are unable to comment on ongoing legal proceedings.

Yours sincerely,

***** *********
Ministerial Contact Unit

Watch this space – Defra will be making a comment on this pretty soon. Could be 22 December or even between Christmas and the New Year to minimise publicity (that won’t work) but I’d say it might be even sooner.  And it won’t be good news for grouse moor managers (which is why there has been so much heather burning recently…).
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6 Replies to “No comment never looks that good”

  1. I contacted Natural England recently about Walshaw moor estate's substantial upgrading of tracks,new drainage ditches that run at right angles to these tracks (not alongside them as you would expect in regards to keeping these tracks drained) and 2 new tarmac car parks to ask if they had planning permission for all of this.N.E responded 2 months later that they didn't need permission to upgrade tracks.That was the only comment they made to address my points.

  2. Can someone please outline what responsibility/oversight/control NE have over Walshaw Moor? And the whole Pennine area of moorland generally? How much is SSSI or similar classification?
    Do the new drainage ditches (or any older ones) have any form of attenuation in them? If not, they are clearly improving the ability of the moorland to drain, therefore 'speeding the flow' and increasing flood risk and peaks in the hydrograph downstream; reducing the climate change resilience of the peat moorland in both flood and drought conditions; increasing sedimentation downstream. Plus any detremental effects on wildlife and bird populations.
    I take it we, the taxpayer, are still paying handsomely for this questionable management regime?

    1. Mike - SSSI, SAC and SPA.

      If you use the search engine on this blog (top right) and enter Wuthering Moor and 'return' you'll find over 50 blogs about the case. Also Inglorious contains quite a lot about it (including some results of FoIs that aren't on this blog if I remember correctly).

      And yes we are paying still - and the legal case cost us a fortune too.

  3. Hi Mike,after the R.S.P.B and 'Ban the Burn' started legal proceedings against the environmental damage occurring on the Walshaw Moor estate,Natural England rather quickly entered into a Higher Stewardship agreement with the owner of Walshaw estate that began in 2013 and does not end until 2026.This agreement allows burning of both active and degraded blanket bog,much to the disgust of many of us who live in the flood alert areas of the Calder Valley.
    So in theory,N.E have quite an input into what takes place on Walshaw Moor.

    1. Burning active bog, building new tracks, increased drainage. HIGHER stewardship eh! You couldn't make it up.


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