Natural England to investigate grouse shooters’ unconsented burning and infrastructure construction on Walshaw Moor

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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
  • burning which destroyed sphagnum moss
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Start of grouse moor burning season – please report all burning to RSPB

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• Grouse moor burning is now banned on blanket bog

The burning season started on 1st October and runs until 15th April

• Please report all burning you see to Valerie.Wheeler@RSPB.org.uk – if possible with photos, videos and location info.

Grouse estates burn the moors to engineer optimal breeding habitat for red grouse – for their own profit.

A recent RSPB blog post reports that in June 2019, Natural England revoked agreements for grouse moors to burn over blanket bog.

We need to keep an eye out on the moors to see if the landowners respect this limitation on burning.

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

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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. Continue reading

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

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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

Natural England objects to Walshaw Moor Estate’s proposed permanent track- finally!

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Thanks to legal action by Mark Avery, and more than 100 people who objected to Walshaw Moor Estate’s planning application, Natural England has produced a new Habitats Regulations Assessment of the Walshaw Moor Estate’s proposed track across blanket bog. 

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

11th August rally to ban grouse shooting, St George’s Sq, #HebdenBridge 11.30am

The moors above Hebden Bridge are some of Yorkshire’s most iconic beauty spots – and also a vital source of biodiversity, a huge natural carbon sink and a natural means of slowing the flow of pluvial flooding into the Upper Calder Valley – if not mismanaged for grouse shooting.

Yorkshire Water has put them in jeopardy. The company lets out uplands to grouse shooters who decimate the wildlife for sport by trap and gun. Not only this – large sections of heather are deliberately burnt to increase game bird numbers, destroying blanket bog and contributing to flooding in the valley and other sections of the county. By leasing out land for grouse shooting, Yorkshire Water is damaging wildlife, habitat, visitor experiences and the regional economy.

What shall we do? Saturday 11 August is the day before the start of the grouse shooting season. We will hold a respectful protest in Hebden Bridge’s Town Square to urge Yorkshire Water to stop leasing land above the town for grouse shooting. Continue reading

Posted from here.

Tuesday 3rd April deadline for comments on Walshaw Moor Estate’s planning application for 5km stone track across protected moor

Here is the link to the planning application 18/00237/FUL| Formation of new stone and timber access tracks to connect to existing stone tracks, including passing places and turning circle | Land At Coordinates 396528 435776 Widdop Road Heptonstall Hebden Bridge Calderdale, on the Calderdale Council Planning Portal.

Since the track also goes into the Pendle Council area, the planning application is also being considered by Pendle Council, you can comment here – the planning application number is 18/0143/FUL.

You’ll need to log in to each planning portal to comment.

Summary of key points for objections to the planning application Continue reading

Walshaw Moor Estate resumes burning – despite flood risk to Hebden Bridge

As is by now widely known, Walshaw Moor Estate’s annual burning on the protected “Natura 2000” uplands creates an increased risk of flooding in Calder Valley towns.

This is responsible for around 2.5-5% of the peak flow in Hebden Bridge during floods – roughly the difference between over-topping flood barriers in shop and home doorways, and staying below that level. Continue reading

Posted from here.