HABITATS DIRECTIVE IMPLEMENTATION REVIEW
Bob Milton writes to Simon Hopkinson, International Protected Areas Team, Bristol.Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)
Says Bob Milton
I have been in discussions with Gerry Hamersley for some time now without getting very far so have raised the stakes as required by EU regulations prior to making a formal complaint to the fraud department of the EU commission for Agriculture as advised by my legal team.
I have attached some correspondence which may or may not make the issue clear. I do come down to your neck of the woods or can get easily into London if it would help to have a round table discussion as the issues cover a wide range of effects such as the Thames Basin Heaths SPA development mitigation which you have referred to below, HLS agreements which do not take into account existing public access, displacement which does not only apply to equestrians as a result of the imposition of conservation grazing with the attendant fencing and self closing gates [a BHS trials report is due out imminently].
It is my opinion that the approach of the Planning inspectorate is not quasi – judicial but substantially biased as can be seen from the Hartlebury case in 2009. This has been confirmed by various inspectors that they cannot accept any questioning of the advice of NE no matter how self willed and biased to their on PSA objectives and targets they are.
The matter affecting Pillar II money is the use of HLS for statutory duty which is where you come in. I do not think I have actually raised it with Defra but I have with NE. I have forwarded you some correspondence with the NAO and others.
The key issue for us is the refusal of NE to allow exempt grazing in their SSSI agreements and the imposition all be it by default of dangerous gates and fencing which acts to displace equestrians and grazing which displaces dog walkers and equestrians without any liability for the accidents caused. In the case recently on Ashdown Forest the displacement as a result of the introduction of one way self closing gates  caused an accident and the death of the vehicle driver and horse. The attached are some examples of recent accidents caused by NE imposed gates.
Just out of interest it was convenient that Defra waited until after the period of challenge to publicly admit that the inspector at both the Carnkie and Hartlebury cases perhaps needed clarification on the interpretation of the SoS guidance.