Upper Calderdale Wildlife Group says the situation with Natural England is hopeless following Defra’s recent rejection of Natural England’s recommendation to set legally binding, strong targets for improving conditions at Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
The quango’s ability to protect Walshaw Moor, above Hebden Bridge, was already limited.
With its budget slashed over the past decade and a half by central government, Natural England hasn’t had the staff to monitor the Walshaw Moor Estate Site of Special Scientific Interest – even though, as a Natura 2000 site, the grouse shooting moor is supposed to have the highest level of conservation protection.
Walshaw Moor is one of the rare areas of upland blanket bog in the UK, and as such, should be protected as a vital carbon sink on a par with tropical rainforest. But its management for intensive driven grouse shooting is at odds with protecting this vital habitat, and the wildlife it should support.
Report on Calderdale Council Climate Change Working Party’s discussion of Defra’s proposed legislation on the licensing of burning on peatlands in England on Wed 3rd March
Thanks to Hazel Draper’s question to the Calderdale Council Climate Change Working Group meeting on Wed 3rd March, Councillors agreed to seek clarity from Defra about their proposed legislation on the licensing of burning on peatlands in England. (Hazel’s question is around 4min 50 sec into the recording of the meeting. )
In October 2020, Ban the Burn made a formal complaint to Natural England about their failure to investigate 8 examples of Walshaw Moor Estate’s burning of sphagnum and apparently unconsented infrastructure construction that we’d first reported in June 2019, and supplemented in March 2020 with information about the Estate’s construction of 10 more new grouse butts that year.
Natural England has not acknowledged our complaint.
Over the weekend, Calder Valley again suffered horrendous flooding – the third in eight years.
When Ban the Burn heard that Theresa Villiers, the Defra Sec of State, would be doing a walkabout in central Mytholmroyd on Wednesday between 9am and 10am, we called Craig Whittaker’s constituency office to say we would like to talk to her.
We wanted to ask when the government is bringing in promised legislation to ban peatland burning and to make sure it has no loopholes or exemptions that would allow burning to continue.
They agreed it would be appropriate for us to talk to her.
Natural England is to investigate a grouse-shooting estate’s recent burning of sphagnum moss and apparently unconsented construction of infrastructure on the highly-protected Natura 2000 site of Walshaw Moor, above Hebden Bridge.
Walshaw Moor Estate has undertaken these actions in order to intensify their industrial-scale grouse shooting business.
Natural England has agreed to investigate Walshaw Moor Estate’s:
apparent deepening and widening of ditches that they’ve been paid to block, on Heather Hill blanket bog
unconsented construction of steps up to newly constructed grouse shooting butts in deep peat/blanket bog adjacent to Hole Sike
apparently unconsented construction of a tarmac car park
Members of the public crowded into Hebden Royd Town Council chamber on September 25th, to hear Dr Nigel Taylor address widespread public concerns about patient safety and restricted access to appointments with Hebden Bridge Group practice doctors.
He was there at the invitation of Hebden Royd Town Council, which had asked the Practice to explain what was going on.
The meeting followed at least two years of public anxiety about lack of access to adequate health care, after the Practice decided to send all patients needing urgent appointments to a morning walk-in clinic in Mytholmroyd.
Dr Taylor said that the Practice is “desperate to recruit more GPs” and has been advertising continuously since five of the 12 GPs left in 2018 for personal reasons. It now only has 9.25 Full Time Equivalent GPs and GP equivalents (Advanced Practice Nurses and Pharmacy Practitioners), for 18,000 patients. Continue reading →
Ban the Burn was one of 17 groups across Yorkshire that took part in Yorkshire Water Day of Action on 25th May, organised by StopThe Shoot.
People queued up at the Ban the Burn stall in St George’s Square to sign petition cards to Yorkshire Water’s Chief Executive Officer, saying they want an end to grouse shooting on the water company’s land. All 100 cards were signed in just over an hour. Continue reading →
A US court has recently ordered the manufacturer of the bestselling weedkiller brand, Roundup, to pay one user $80m (£61m) in damages after he developed cancer. This is the second such ruling from a US court.
Ban the Burn and Treesponsibility are among a group of charities, academics and local campaigners with a track record of working on peatland conservation, which has today written to Michael Gove urging him to implement a complete ban on the practice of burning on upland peatland habitats.
A ban is vital in order to protect carbon stores, wildlife, habitats and communities.
We have seen plenty of evidence of continued burning on protected peatland this year, despite the government’s introduction of a voluntary ban on burning.
There was more burning off on Feb 24th throughout the day till 5 30pm, behind New Laithe plantation in the Hoar Nib area, as well as some burning in the same area last week. This photo was taken on Feb 24th, approx grid ref sd962 324.
On the basis of this new Habitats Regulations Assessment – which concludes that the track would cause permanent loss and damage to protected habitat, as well as negatively affecting protected birds – Natural England have written to Calderdale and Pendle local planning authorities objecting to the proposal to build a track across Walshaw Moor.
Despite the Estate’s claims that the proposed track was to enable fire engines to quickly reach the site of possible fires, it is intended for the convenience of grouse shooters.
You can read more about this on Mark Avery’s blog here.
Now it’s up to Calderdale and Pendle Councils’ planning committees to say no to Walshaw Moor Estate’s planning application.Continue reading →
Calderdale Trades Union Council is holding a public meeting at 2pm on 10th April at Hebden Bridge Trades Club, with “Deep Deception” co-author Helen Steel and Undercover Policing Inquiry (UCPI) core participant Mark Metcalf, a National Union of Journalists delegate to Calderdale Trades Council.
McLibel campaigner Helen Steel tells the story of ‘the spycops network’ and the women like herself who uncovered the shocking truth about shadowy undercover policing set up to to spy on protesters in mainly left-wing and progressive groups.
The A6033 from Hebden Bridge to Oxenhope will be open on Bank Holiday Monday (31 August). It will also continue to be open at weekends.
But road closures as part of work to improve its safety will continue throughout September 2020: the road will remain fully closed from Monday to Friday, between Hebden Bridge and Oxenhope with local access only between Hebden Bridge and Pecket Well.
Before we all go rarara about the Conservative government’s new scheme to boost tree planting, let’s just note that it’s based on the financialisation of the ecosystem – ie turning the natural environment into another set of markets for the financial services industry to get fat off.
Basically the new Woodland Carbon Guarantee scheme is based on a trade in carbon, via Woodland Carbon Units. This is made clear on the Forest Trade website and the UK Woodland Carbon Code “Buy Carbon” webpage.
Plan hatched in 2011 by ConDem government
The Government’s new scheme is the fruition of the ConDem coalition government plan to create a market in so-called ecosystem services. This was laid out in its heavily business-oriented 2011 National Environment White Paper. Continue reading →