Rumour has it that Natural England has agreed a highly contentious Moorland Plan with the Walshaw Estate – the famous grouse moor, owned by millionaire businessman Richard Bannister, which sits above Hebden Bridge.
I wrote in this blog on 2 October 2017 ‘It remains to be seen whether NE will really dig their heels in over burning consents or whether they will cave in to grouse moor managers, or allow other damaging operations such as building tracks all over our hills as a quid pro quo for properly controlled heather burning.’.
The first mention of Walshaw Moor on this blog was on 19 March 2012 where I wrote ‘Last week Natural England ‘reached an agreement’ with the Walshaw Moor estate which is feared by some to be a euphemism for caving in to intense pressure from grouse shooting interests.’ and today I am wondering whether we can use the same phrase again almost six years later.
How much burning will be reduced? How many tracks restored to blanket bog? How many ditches filled in? Or has NE caved in again?
You can catch up with the important role that Walshaw Moor and its management have played in the campaign to ban driven grouse shooting either by reading Inglorious (pp149-57, 175-6 and 190-2) or by entering ‘Wuthering Moors’ into the search engine on this blog and reading the previous 54 blogs on the subject.
But here are some highlights:
Wuthering Moors 1 – NE reach a tame agreement with Walshaw Moor after abandoning a court case earlier in the year.
Wuthering Moors 5 – Looking back at previous transgressions on Walshaw Moor, in 2005 Dr Andy Clements, then a senior staff member of English Nature said of Walshaw Moor ‘Dumping and construction of tracks in this manner, without English Nature’s consent, has caused significant damage to this important site. We will try to maintain positive partnerships with owners and occupiers, but we will prosecute when necessary.’. Andy is now on the board of Natural England.
Wuthering Moors 20 – through persistence I shook a few details out of Defra on correspondence between them (in particular their grouse moor-owning minister at the time, Richard Benyon – who remembers him?), and the Moorland Association, who were then ‘headed up’ by their secretary Martin Gillibrand (who remembers him?) and their Chair, Ed Bromet (who remembers him? Mr Bromet is, I believe, the outgoing shooting tenant on Ilkley Moor). there are also details of correspondence with Natural England (with their then Chief Executive Helen Phillips – who remembers her?).
Wuthering Moors 23 – a bit of a summary of events up until then (July 2012).
Wuthering Moors 26 – local campaigners march to ban the burn on Walshaw Moor.
Wuthering Moors 28 – RSPB takes a complaint to tthe EU about burning activities on Walshaw Moor and the permissions given on many other grouse moors across northern England.
Wuthering Moors 34 – Defra’s response to the EU (which took quite a lot of getting but arrived inSeptember 2013)
Wuthering Moors 35 – a response by me to Defra’s response to the EU.
Wuthering Moors 38 – photographs of sensitive management of blanket bog.
Wuthering Moors 39 – a magic track where there used to be a stream.
Wuthering Moors 40 – RSPB calls for end to burning of blanket bogs.
Wuthering Moors 43 – more from RSPB
Wuthering Moors 45 – confirmation from NE that restoration of Walshaw Moor is not part of the deal that you the taxpayer are funding and that, at the time (April 2014), thee were well over 100 other burning consents extant on other sites in northern England.
Wuthering Moors 48 – Henry goes to Walshaw Moor in July 2015.
Wuthering Moors 52 – does moorland drainage on Walshaw Moor exacerbate flooding of the Calder Valley?
Wuthering Moors 54 – a study that suggests that drainage and burning at Walshaw Moor might well exacerbate flood risk downstream.