Public Inquiry May 24/25
Says Janice Bridger.
Regional Access & Bridleway Officer South region, West Berkshire Access & Bridleway officer, British Horse Society
A public inquiry is taking place next week 24/25th May on West Berks Council’s application to fence Padworth Common for conservation grazing.
However, it is not just the fencing and gating that riders are objecting to but the Council’s application to fence horse riders out of a big chunk while allowing all other user groups plus their own herd of Exmoor ponies to access it.
They claim horse riders ‘undermine the conservation efforts’.
"There are alternative regimes/timescales that generate 100% biodiversity without grazing."
Says Steve Yandall
read in Horsey Talk of the inquiry
and noted the council 'excuse' for enclosure."
The Centre For Hydrology And Ecology are the 'think tank' that research all things natural.Their expertise goes far beyond NE's(and all their ilk) and forms the basis for NE regimes--after NE have selected out the bits that fit their agenda.
Suggest talking to Rob Rose(the last 'functioning' heathland expert) as he told me several years ago that there are alternative regimes/timescales that generate 100% biodiversity without grazing.In that knowledge the council has alternatives but only if you can call on experts that eclipse their own.Rob also told me that the failure to acknowledge/use perfectly valid research was a source of frustration BUT is he brave enough to say that when it matters?
One victory at inquiry will change the way NE's expertise is viewed and that,of course,is the hurdle. It is not just the grazing issue but the availability of alternative regimes( that NE have actively suppressed )as the alternatives would have removed some of the justification they sought to 'milk the European cow'!
Without presenting the alternatives any inquiry will be left with a 'them versus us' argument which boils down to credibility and the obvious decision will be to maintain the status quo by electing to agree with another NGO.
To me it is not a case of whether grazing works or not (it does carry great risks) but whether NE maximised benefits by adopting the most effective regime under specific circumstances.One of those specifics is NE's inability to educate,monitor or enforce inexperienced conservation graziers.
If the CEO illustrate alternatives then ALL other NGO's are trumped and shown to be premeditated in attempting to promote an agenda at the expense of best practice,science and public access.