29th July Calderdale Council Cabinet will discuss cutting back on glyphosate use

At a meeting in Halifax Town on 29 July (starting at 6pm) the Cabinet will consider a report that recommends Calderdale Council stops using glyphosate within its parks and on roadside verges. It calls these “soft landscapes”.

However the Cabinet has to wait for another report before considering whether to stop the use of the herbicide within hard landscapes, such as street pavements and at the roadside. This report will include fully costed plans.

The reason given for the delay is that the Council needs time to undertake trials into more environmentally sustainable methods to remove weeds.

As we said last time the Council put out a press release about reducing glyphosate use – they are kicking the can down the road. Continue reading

Primary School invites people to observe use of foamstream as alternative to glyphosate on school grounds

Alternative weed control methods will be used at Northern Primary School, Burnley Rd, Bacup OL13 8PH on Wednesday 12th June – Friday 15th June, from  10-4pm approx – traffic permitting as the contractor is travelling down from York.

The contractor will be working at the school using a foamstream machine to tackle the weeds, clean play areas and equipment, clear weeds on the artificial surfaces, fence lines, and forest school and undertake a pioneering exercise marking the school pitch.  (Apparently glyphosate is usually added to the paint during conventional marking of pitches). Continue reading

Support Woodsetts against Fracking at 11th June INEOS Planning Inquiry in #Rotherham

As you may know, INEOS have lodged an appeal with the planning inspectorate against Rotherham Council’s decision to refuse permission for exploratory drilling at a site on the edge of Woodsetts.

Starting on Tuesday 11th June, the Appeal will be heard at Riverside House, Main Street, Rotherham, S60 1AE. It will last for eight days.

  • Woodsetts against Fracking (WAF)  need as many people as possible to come to Rotherham on the opening morning, 11th June, at 9.00 AM with lots of banners and placards.
  • They are also asking for people to make short video statements to the WAF media team outside the Appeal, and to take part in a photo shoot mid-morning.
  • They’re also asking for people to be present in the public gallery throughout the hearing.

Continue reading

Big Hebden Bridge call for Yorkshire Water to stop grouse shooting on its land


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.

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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.

All the signed petition cards

All the signed petition cards

If you missed the chance to sign the petition postcard, you can contact Yorkshire Water on social media – tweet @YorkshireWater and on Facebook. Make sure they understand that you’d like them to pull the plug on grouse shooting and become an environmental champion.

Yorkshire Water is one of the largest landowners in Yorkshire which leases its land to
grouse shoots, where tens of thousands of birds are shot for ‘fun’ – and the profit of the
grouse shooting tenants.

On its grouse shooting land – as on other grouse shooting estates – large sections of
heather moorland are set on fire to engineer optimal breeding habitat for red grouse –
damaging sensitive peatland habitat. Air and water are polluted and rare breeding birds
can no longer make the degraded moors their home.

Many other animals such as stoats, weasels, birds and other wild animals are trapped,
snared and shot on the estates to ensure red grouse make it into the air to be used as
living targets.

Thanks to all the people who signed the petition card to Yorkshire Water

Ros Berrington, from Ban the Burn, said:

“Thanks to all the people in Hebden Bridge on Saturday who signed the card to Yorkshire Water. People were aware of the issues and eager to tell Yorkshire Water to stop grouse shooting on Walshaw Moor above Hebden Bridge.

“The residents of the Calder Valley are at the sharp end of climate change, with several serious floods from extreme rainfall in recent years. That’s why we had so much support in our campaign to stop Yorkshire Water leasing their land to Grouse shooting estates.

Mismanaging the moors for grouse shooting increases Hebden Water flood levels, destroys blanket bog, worsens climate change and kills off many native animals to increase Grouse numbers. All so they can be shot for trophy hunting.”

Most Yorkshire Water grouse shooting tenants haven’t signed up to government scheme to end burning on blanket bog

Richard Bannister, owner of Walshaw Moor Estate, is Yorkshire Water’s grouse shooting
tenant on their land around Widdop and other nearby reservoirs.

Along with the majority of the water company’s grouse shooting tenants, Richard Bannister has failed to add his name to the government’s scheme to end burning over blanket bog.

The government introduced the voluntary scheme in the hope of avoiding legislation to
bring grouse moor management in line with EU regulations that protect peatland habitats.

When Natural England gave consent to burn blanket bog on Walshaw Moor Estate, after inexplicably dropping its legal case against the Estate for mismanaging the highly protected Natura 2000 land, Bannister’s intensive burning of the moor prompted the RSPB to lodge complaints with the European Commission.

In 2013, Ban the Burn also took a complaint to the European Commission.

As a result, in 2016, the European Commission launched its investigation into Walshaw
Moor estate’s practice of burning heather on blanket bog. Because deep peat should be
maintained or restored to healthy blanket bog.

This led to European Commission proceedings against the UK for breaking binding EU regulations protecting peatland habitats and wildlife.

The UK Government admitted to the European Commission that, in addition to Walshaw Moor Estate, grouse moors are the only places in England with Natural England’s permission to burn blanket bog on Special Areas of Conservation and that management activities, including burning, are funded by EU agri-environment money.

The UK Government made a commitment to the European Commission to carry out a review of these permissions,  following completion of Natural England’s review of its upland evidence.

Natural England’s evidence review concluded that ongoing burning of blanket bog habitat would prevent its maintenance and restoration

But rather than introduce legislation banning burning, in order to make sure that
landowners maintain and restore blanket bog,  the Defra minister Michael Gove chose
to trust landowners to stick to a voluntary pledge to stop rotational heather burning.

It’s a sign of the weakness of this measure that  Richard Bannister – whose mismanagement of Wlashaw Moor Estate created problems for the UK government in the first place –  doesn’t appear to have signed up to Mr Gove’s voluntary deal. Along with most of Yorkshire Water’s grouse shooting tenants.

So Ban the Burn, along with other campaign groups, has asked Michael Gove to ban burning on upland peatlands. We’re not holding our breath.

What’s Natural England doing to make sure Walshaw Moor Estate is sticking to its Environmental Stewardship agreement?

Ban the Burn urgently want to know what Natural England’s doing to make sure Walshaw Moor Estate is complying with its agreement to manage and restore the estate’s habitats and wildlife. For which it’s being paid £2.5m of public subsidies.

Particularly in the light of this recent evidence that doesn’t look anything like restoring the peatland habitats (please click on each picture for full view):

Yorkshire Water likes to claim it’s an industry leader in environmental protection and conserving wildlife

So why does it continue to allow grouse shooting on its land? The company has also admitted native wildlife is being killed to ensure large numbers of red grouse can be shot for entertainment.

Ban the Burn and other campaign groups working with Stop the Shoot are asking Yorkshire Water to become the environmental champion it aims to be by pulling the plug on grouse shooting.

Blanket Bog 1: Walshaw Moor Estate 0. Stone and timber access tracks won’t be built

The Walshaw Moor Estate proposed new stone and timber track across protected blanket bog will not go ahead, thanks to the efforts of local residents who objected to the planning application, Mark Avery’s legal challenge to Natural England, and Natural England’s resulting withdrawal of support for the track.

On 19th March this year, Walshaw Moor Estate emailed Calderdale Council Planning Services to withdraw their APPLICATION 18/00237/FUL. Continue reading

No-burn management of Geltsdale blanket bog and heath is restoring habitats and wildlife


Grouse moor owners and their allies claim heather burning on peatland is necessary for habitat restoration and reduction of wildfire risk.

The RSPB’s management of Geltsdale reserve in Cumbria shows that this is not the case. Continue reading

Calderdale Council continues glyphosate use despite US court rulings on cancer link


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.

Now Councils across England are reviewing their use of Roundup  (the brand name for glyphosate).

Hebden Royd Town Council decided a few years ago not to use glyphosate on any of its projects, according to the Clerk, Jason Boom.

But Calder Ward Cllr Dave Young says that Calderdale Council is continuing to use gylophosate, although they are reducing the amount year on year. Continue reading

Ban the Burn, Treesponsibility and others call on Gove to ban burning of upland peatlands in England


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.

The lack of compliance with the voluntary ban on burning is likely to worsen, thanks to Natural England’s recent ‘restoration burning’ position statement. Continue reading

Calderdale Council’s RE:FIT scheme cuts costs and carbon emissions of some of its energy- guzzling buildings

In 2017 and 2018 Calderdale Council took steps to cut carbon emissions from its buildings, through Phases 1 and 2 of its “Re:FIT” programme to reduce energy use and costs in some of its most energy-guzzling buildings. Continue reading