Bob Milton writes to Sir Mike Pitt, CEO, The Planning Inspectorate
"It seems to me ... that your officers and the inspectors find for fencing without allowing any questioning of the advice given by Natural England."
Writes Bob Milton
Freedom of Information Act and Environmental Information Regulations 2002
I am writing to you equally under the above provisions to request if there have
been any instructions, guidance or clarification of any kind to the Common
Land Case Work Department or to any of the appointed Inspectors dealing with
Common Land or any other lawful consideration under any legislation in respect
to their duties or interpretation under CROW 2000
[Countryside and Rights of Way Act] Sch9 s28(G) (1&/or2)
This inquiry has come about as a result of the almost total finding by officers and inspectors in respect of fencing for extensive grazing under s38 Commons Act 2006 as a result of the inclusion of nature conservation as a benefit to the neighbourhood. It seems to me, except in the extremely limited number of cases where the applicable legislation [eg Kingwood Nettlebed Oxon] does not allow fencing or enclosure that your officers and the inspectors find for fencing without allowing any questioning of the advice given by Natural England. This has also happened in a number of housing appeals in the Thames Basin Heaths SPA area as well.
Whilst the duty referred to above is clear in its intent Parliament included a saving for land held for other purposes such as recreation and military training. Such is the pressure to meet self imposed conservation targets that no truck is considered for anything else but extensive conservation grazing.
I am due to give evidence in a number of s38 fencing inquiries and do not wish to feel that I have more than one opponent - the applicant. Please respond in sufficient time to meet the evidence and statement of case requirements for the first inquiry on the 17th April 2012.
Steve Yandall comments
"It is my belief that incorrect legal interpretation or proof of 'inexpert' witnesses should invalidate inquiries"
Says Steve Yandall
The nub of your message is symptomatic of a very unhealthy fraternal bias within supposedly independent NGO's.Examples are available of NGO's creating an expert peer group which immediately degrades independent expertise,and the law,to subservience in any situation.
The case of the St Dennis incinerator whereby the HPA/EA/NE were accepted as expert when, in fact ,there were huge gaps in their knowledge, that none of the organisations referred to, thus creating a bias toward commerce and denial of best practise and duty of care.This continues through current incinerator inquiries.Whether this represents perjury/failure to disclose I know not? The case of the fraudulent purchase of 'Prees heath', within the knowledge of PINS ,aided by NE.Despite 'ownership' being held by 'Common Heritage'(registered some years before)and the true name being Whitchurch heath the purchase went through.
I recall Eric Pickles being determined, in the election build up,to tackle those that assumed powers beyond their remit.The above examples represent that but with the addition of a firm belief in their own fraternal expert mythology with few real reference points or a detailed knowledge of our legal heritage .
You are aware of individuals being criminalised for carrying out their perfectly legal right to remove obstructions.Of LA's claiming 'ownership' of common land when they can only legally claim stewardship.Of CAP payments to those not entitled to claim it.Of multiple unlawful activities by NGO's.
What we are unaware of is whether the will exists to instill a culture of service rather than one of imposition and whether the problem you have drawn attention to is seen as a symptom of corporate ills within NGO's or a single aberration(if acknowledged at all).
It is my belief that incorrect legal interpretation or proof of 'inexpert' witnesses should invalidate inquiries but,of course,that would require an admission that the NGO fraternity was fallible and that the agenda was flawed.