Ban the Burn protesters, bearing mops and buckets, visited the Head Office of Natural England this morning to deliver a clear message- DON’T FUND FLOODING – only to find that Natural England had advised staff to stay away from the office rather than face the protesters from Hebden Bridge, which suffered major flooding twice in the summer of 2012.
The protesters managed to hand over their petition to one remaining member of staff in the office.
The protesters wanted to tell Natural England that action on reducing run-off from the uplands is urgent, in order to minimise flood risk downstream.
Posted from Hebden Bridge, England, United Kingdom.
Hebden Bridge flood activist group Ban the Burn has raised two cheers for Natural England’s new guidance that restoration of all degraded blanket bog is possible and that landowners should phase out blanket bog burning because of the damage it causes.
The group is sending Natural England its comments on the draft guidance, and hopes that as many people as possible who are affected by the way blanket bogs are managed will also read the draft guidance (embedded further down this page) and email their views in to Natural England.
Posted from Hebden Bridge, England, United Kingdom.
Last October over 90 Hebden Bridge residents signed a letter which the campaign group Ban the Burn sent as the residents’ submission to Natural England’s Uplands Evidence Review (UER).
The residents’ letter urged Natural England to ban burning and draining on Walshaw Moor Estate blanket bog, in order to allow degraded blanket bog to recover. Active blanket bog slows run off from the tops, and so has an significant role to play in reducing flooding in Hebden Bridge.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning 01422 847612, or 07582 101319.
Speakers include Nancy Stedman, Natural England Senior Adviser and Robin Gray, Watershed Landscape Project Manager Continue reading
The European Commission is to investigate the legality of Environmental Stewardship payments to Walshaw Moor Estate.
Hebden Bridge campaigners who want a ban on burning and draining blanket bog – a rare, priority protected habitat – are challenging the legality of a £2.5 million Environmental Stewardship Agreement (ESA) that Natural England has awarded the grouse-shooting Walshaw Moor Estate, part of the South Pennines Site of Special Scientific Interest and Natura 2000 site.
In Brussels on 10th January, Hebden Bridge resident Dongria Kondh asked Jean Francois Brakeland, head of the European Commission’s unit for enforcing EU environmental law in the UK, to investigate whether Natural England and the Defra Secretary of State acted unlawfully in deciding that Walshaw Moor Estate’s grouse shooting operations would not adversely affect the integrity of the protected moors. Continue reading
Posted from London, England, United Kingdom.
Just been looking at the action plan list we drew up at the 12th August BtB campaign launch (below – the links in the list show what we’ve done for each action item).
What should we be doing next? Ideas, please.
Defra’s Triennial Review proposes to merge Natural England and the Environment Agency.
Defra is inviting anyone with an interest in Natural England and the Environment Agency to respond by 4th February 2013 to a discussion paper which proposes to merge the two agencies. This follows considerable cuts to Natural England’s funding in the Coalition government’s first Comprehensive Spending Review, and the removal of the agency’s power to make policy. The Coalition government has also already cut 27% of Environment Agency funding, stopping 294 planned flood prevention schemes from going ahead – including one at Walsden Water.
After six months of investigation, the RSPB has decided that Natural England has failed in its duties to enforce wildlife and habitat protection laws on Walshaw Moor Estate, and has asked the European Commission to step in.
Mike Clarke, RSPB chief executive, said
“The decision to lodge this complaint has not been taken lightly, but this is a vitally important issue which centres on the Government’s statutory duty to protect our natural environment.”
Dodging the odd rainstorm the LibDem MEP for Yorkshire and Humberside, Rebecca Taylor, today walked to the blanket bog on Walshaw Moor with Ban the Burn campaigners, to see for herself how draining and burning have damaged this valuable habitat.
Rebecca Taylor MEP (left) hearing about the Ban the Burn campaign from Keith Wilson and Dongria Kondh
Simon Thorp, the Director of the Heather Trust, has blogged about Ban the Burn, under the title National Campaign against moorland bog-burning. The thing I like about his blog is that he responds to comments and there’s a bit of a dialogue in the comments on the post. He says in a reply in the comments section that his work for The Heather Trust includes working with the IUCN UK Peatland Programme and he runs the Peatland Working Group in Scotland, and that
“I am all for healthy peatland and active bogs, but I think we need to be careful about how we achieve this.”