How many European-protected sites have Natural England’s Consent to burn blanket bog?

I have sent Natural England an Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) request, (RFI 1870) to find out about Natural England’s Appropriate Assessments, Consents and Environmental Stewardship Agreements that cover blanket bog burning on Natura 2000 sites across England.

(To see what these terms mean, please skip to the end of this post.)

This follows Ban the Burn’s complaint to the European Commission about Natural England’s “probably unlawful” Consent to Walshaw Moor Estate’s blanket bog burning on the European-protected South Pennine Moors site.
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Opportunity to raise Ban the Burn position at free Natural England workshop, Tuesday 29th Jan

Ban the Burn! members and supporters might like to attend the free South Pennines National Character Area Profiles Workshop. This Pennine Prospects/Natural England workshop is about how the South Pennines Watershed Landscape Project has been influenced by Natural England’s update of the South Pennines National Character Area (NCA) profile.

The workshop takes place on Tuesday 29th January, 10am-2pm, at Hebden Bridge Town Hall. It is free, with lunch provided, and open to all, but you need to book in advance by emailing or phoning 01422 847612, or 07582 101319.

Speakers include Nancy Stedman, Natural England Senior Adviser and Robin Gray, Watershed Landscape Project Manager Continue reading

Conservation watchdog’s approval of grouse shooting estate operations on protected moors may fail key legal test

Information I have obtained through Environmental Information Regulations requests shows that Natural England’s 2012 environmental impact assessment of Walshaw Moor Estate’s  grouse shooting operations appears not to pass a crucial legal test.

The assessment fails to show that no reasonable scientific doubt exists that Walshaw Moor Estate’s burning and draining of blanket bog (and other operations) will not damage the integrity of the protected conservation site. This calls into question the validity of the £2.5m Walshaw Moor Estate Environmental Stewardship Agreement, since the ESA  is based on the Appropriate Assessment conclusion that WME’s operations will not have adverse effects on the integrity of the site.
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