Wuthering Moors 75 – six long years of complaining

Six years ago today the RSPB made its complaint to the European Commission about burning practices at Walshaw Moor and many other driven grouse moors in the UK (See Wuthering Moors 28, 15 October 2012). The RSPB deserves great respect for this important move (even though it is very quiet about it itself these days).

To cut a very long story short (see Inglorious and posts here entitled Wuthering Moors – there are, with this one, 75 of them now) action started by Natural England, which proved to be abortive, to attempt to regulate damaging burning of blanket bogs led to the RSPB complaining to the European Commission and the Commission threatening infraction proceedings against the UK government and Defra in particular. We are now in the position where Michael Gove and Defra are wriggling and trying to persuade the Commission that everything is OK (see
Wuthering Moors 58, Wuthering Moors 68 and Wuthering Moors 70). But Defra/NE have come up with an inadequate set of measures to regulate habitat damage and are essentially trying to pull the wool over the Commission’s eyes in claiming that they have a grip of moorland burning.  Burning of what appears to me to be blanket bog still continues on Walshaw Moor this burning season and it remains to be seen how much will happen elsewhere.

I’ll be blogging later this week on how you can help Defra and NE monitor compliance with what they have promised the European Commission they will achieve.

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4 Replies to “Wuthering Moors 75 – six long years of complaining”

  1. I notice how you often get 2 dislikes for these kinds of post. If it helps, I always think the 2 that always do this are a comedy duo eg Laurel & Hardy, Steptoe & Son etc.
    That makes me smile, and then that reminds me of all the likes you get.
    Keep going Mark.

    Likes(13)Dislikes(6)
  2. The RSPB and yourself deserve great credit for your work on this. I hope that you are about to ask people to submit information on burning which should help show whether estates are burning blanket bog, or suggest how people can help in that regard.
    I further assume that the RSPB are concerned that if they tackle this issue much more aggressively they could be involved costs and potential reputation damage in having to defend further spurious reports to the charity commissioners etc.
    If they do not work as a group of NGOs with a common aim it is certainly more likely, and I see that is how they and others would now prefer to proceed if campaigning.
    This leaves the field open to individual actions, where you are certainly effective, and can be assertive as well as effective.
    If that is the case, it is certainly excusable, but I'd like the RSPB and other charities and NGOs to make clear that there are specific issues that they feel they are not able to support by campaigning, and list them in their website to help staff and supporters to understand that they will not campaign. Surely if they are not prepared to campaign, there should be no complaint made.

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  3. This is yet another good example of this Government trying to defend its vested interests, in this case grouse shooting. They will go to any lengths to avoid doing the right thing which is to properly penalise the owner of this grouse moor foe severely damaging our natural environment. They have also reduced Natural England to a puppet organisation such that it can no longer properly defend nature. There can be few instances of past responsible Governments acting (or failing to act) as irresponsibly as this one consistently does.
    Well done Mark and the RSPB for battling so nobily on this case. The truth of the matter is though that if we had a Government that acted responsibly you should not have to battle when the right thing to do is so obvious namely to prosecute the grouse moor owner and stop the destruction of our environment and wildlife.

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  4. This must be up for some kind of award, is it the longest running complaint submitted to the European Commission I wonder?

    Defra must be hoping it'll just be left to rot in the 'input /ignore tray' whilst public funds are still passed across to such estates for management regimes deemed to be in the 'public interest'.

    The lobbying act did a lot of damage to third party interest challenge (but perhaps that was the intention). We need to get actions from pages 41 to 71 (people Manifesto for Wildlife) implemented to begin to redress the ongoing damage to sites and wildlife crime.

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