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The Governement should sycamore rider-friendly policy !

Chorleywood Common

Chorleywood Parish Council. Threat to fence Larks Meadow

The Clerk to the Council is lying

Says Bob Milton

Says Bob MiltonThere is no HLS agreement listed on the NE site for the common, only a Countryside Stewardship agreement 15CSS011368

It is listed as a Local Nature Reserve but not an SSSI. It is shown as lowland heath over the whole with Calcareous Grassland over laying 50% of the lowland heath. The Countryside Stewardship agreement runs out in September 2012 and only covers 23ha of the common where as the common as a LNR is 75ha.

So where is the HLS and when was it agreed or signed?

There is no guidance for NE officers to take into account existing public access when entering into agri or environmental stewardship schemes. Which begs the question as to why when the general purpose of Natural England is to include 'promoting access'. This would or should include the protection of existing public rights but it seems to me that there is an institutionalised discrimination against existing public access rights and a complete disregard for its statutory duty under the Equality Act 2010 notably

  • Part 3 including Schedules 2 and 3 makes it unlawful to discriminate against, harass or victimise a person when providing a service (which includes the provision of goods or facilities) or when exercising a public function.
  • Part 4 including Schedules 4 and 5 makes it unlawful to discriminate against, harass or victimise a person when disposing of (for example, by selling or letting) or managing premises.
  • Part 11 including Schedules 18 and 19 establishes a general duty on public authorities to have due regard, when carrying out their functions, to the need: to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment or victimisation; to advance equality of opportunity; and to foster good relations.

This being at the centre of the fencing and gating of the public access commons which are held for public recreation and exercise. The dominant tenement of this common is not nature conservation but public access and this seems to have been lost in the head on rush to introduce cattle to the detriment of the public's rights

Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006

General purpose

  1. Natural England's general purpose is to ensure that the natural environment is conserved, enhanced and managed for the benefit of present and future generations, theraby contributing to sustainable development.
  2. Natural England's general purpose includes :-
    1. promoting nature conservation and protecting biodiversity,
    2. conserving and enhancing the landscape,
    3. securing the provision and improvement of facilities for the study, understanding and enjoyment of the natural environment,
    4. promoting access to the countryside and open spaces and encouraging open-air recreation, and
    5. contributing in other ways to social and economic well-being through management of the natural environment.
  3. The purpose in subsection (2)(e) may, in particular, be carried out by working with local communities.

"A picture starts to emerge of not only disregard but unlawfulness."

Says Steve Yandall

Says Steve Yandall Could I remind you of the stance taken by EN and its morph NE in applying for grant funding in our own instance(Penwith) and throughout the trans national HEATH Project.?

  1. the application to HLF stated that public access was a degrading factor and instrumental in the erosion of heathland.
  2. the 1997 HLF(14 million I believe)contract was 'non standard' in that it excluded two standard clauses(verified by Verita);
    1. a.to seek public agreement.
    2. b.to allow for the disabled.

I believe both the above factors were indicators of intent and that combined with the confirmation,by letter(Mathew Carter,2009,NE Cornwall manager) that NE had no intention of catering for the disabled a picture starts to emerge of not only disregard but unlawfulness.In tandem with the above a reliance on anecdote rather than veracious research relative to public access pre and post HLS indicates an unwillingness to face the reality of NE depressing access.

Further to the above audits of sample heathland in Cornwall showed that none were taking a positive trajectory of change(they were in decline) after 20 plus years of ESA management however this opportunity was taken to impose HLS as a 'cureall' with the only scapegoats being equine/human erosion and a failure of ESA .

I was present when a steward stated that the condition of Carn Galva was "criminal".A very apt description as the failure of ESA can be more easily attributed to a failure to educate,monitor and enforce than a failure of any husbandry regime.In essence payments were made with no initiation of husbandry BUT NE ignored this clear failure in order to promote 'new' without the real failures being attended to.

I can only deduce that public access has been sacrificed to protect NE's 'expertise' and 'credibility' whilst also fitting the European funding criteria relative to maximising income by adopting husbandry that DEMANDS fencing.

The irony is that the fiscal laxity associated with HLS is a huge contributor to global environmental degradation as the very tool of 'salvation' is also the result and measure of material damage. The real tool of salvation lies in public education and participation which,very unfortunately,is the main casualty in this current imposition.

The above commentary is a general HLS precis that also applies to Common Land but,having monitored Carnyorth Common(Penwith) for 4 years HLS has failed to make inroads into Bracken,access has fallen by 80%,archaeology has suffered serial damage,horses have been injured,multiple unlawful events have happened,20k of payments were "withheld" because of Save Penwith Moors monitoring and the archetypal Penwith heathland is aesthetically challenged with a low rate of heather regeneration where management has been applied.

I remind you that the research definition of heathland is a "plagioclimax community dominated by dwarf ericaceous shrubs" whereas grazing regimes produce a more undefined result.

The criteria alluded to by both senior NE staff and politicians places a paramount importance on maximising the Cornish and English 'cut' of the European budget rather than 'best practice' and 'duty of care' in ensuring that monies achieve all that providers(ourselves)would wish.

As you know I believe that inundation and population growth are propelling the UK toward the loss of wild places and access to ensure food/housing etc are accomodated.HLS is but an introduction to the future whereby the quality of life is compromised to ensure consumerism thrives.

Apologies,I am getting too deep.

I pine for a more sensible approach to saving our forests

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