I’m grateful to NE for responding rather rapidly to my EIR/FOI on the moorland management plan for the notorious Walshaw Moor area of west Yorkshire.
Although I am grateful to NE for providing the plan, which you can see is very oddly called a Catchment Restoration Plan, they should be deeply ashamed of its content. This marks a further catastrophic dive in standards for statutory nature conservation in England.
NE has agreed a plan which hardly mentions nature conservation but which includes the building of a brand new track across remote blanket bog and moorland which is notified/designated as SSSI, SAC and SPA.
Here is the estate, north of Hebden Bridge and straddling the boundary of Calderdale and Pendle planning authorities. This map shows the network of tracks and the area where the proposed new track will go (in pink and dark blue);
…and here is a more detailed map of the proposed track and the peat depths along its route…
Any suggestion that this track would remove the need for a long drive off the moor and back on it again for any shooting party which wants to encompass the southern and northern grouse butts in the same day would be rather churlish and might be wholly inaccurate.
This is a spectacular thing for ‘our’ statutory nature conservation organisation to agree – the further industrialisation of the uplands on driven grouse moors. A new 5+km track across an SSSI, SPA and SAC?! Did no-one tell Andrew Sells that this role of his is to ensure that damaging development does not occur to our national assets? NE is a failing organisation – and shockingly so.
I will come back to Walshaw Moor tomorrow after having a much closer read of this terrible plan. But it won’t be first thing as tomorrow morning there is a Guest Blog lined up which NE staff involved with moorland management will also need to read, and which provides further evidence, though none is now needed, that NE is not fit for purpose.
We are seeing the complete capitulation of statutory nature conservation to the demands of the hobby of killing birds for fun which is driven grouse shooting. If it were up to me, and it is if only you will join me too, then I’d force a future government to ban driven grouse shooting. If you agree, then please sign here.