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Bob Milton writes to Defra

Bob Milton writes to Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport.

“Natural England is, I believe, in breach of its legal remit for public recreation in its drive to meet its aims and targets for conservation.”

Bob Milton writes to DefraSays Bob Milton

So NE does pay for all the consultation and that it is a done deal for fencing and grazing?
Perhaps NE would like to contribute to the objectors costs on the grounds of Equality as their one sided payment discriminates against a minority yet lawful user group as does the stipulation of and capital financing of self closing gates for the introduction of conservation grazing. No alternative to a grazing scheme is even considered neither is any cost benefit, environmental nor access impact assessment made to support the proposal.

Natural England is supposed to treat public access equally according to its facilitating Act
You are correct re the area the MoD owns and uses. It must also be made clear that SWT ltd is not only contractor for the MoD and NE but also a landowner in this application being the owners of Bagmoor common which is some 5% of the area. So they have a beneficial interest in the consultation going their way.

This is no different to the present situation where SWT ltd is the applicant on Chobham Common where they are the management contractors for that s193 common [SCC]. They are in receipt of HLS for the 3.500 acres of Ash Ranges which is held for military training and where such monies cannot be paid to the MoD as a government department for statutory duty but have been under the scam of a long term grazing licence which as I have said before is I believe is fraudulent.

Another important fact to remember is that NE income comes predominately from Modulation of the Common Agricultural Policy payments for farmers which is purely voluntary. We in the UK are the only country in the UK where this happens. It is also true that earlier this year in the budget modulation was raised from 14% to 17% giving NE an increase in budget not given to other departments. This money is for commercial farming and the dominant tenement of conservation grazing is not. The recent CAP proposal seeks to plug this interpretation, though the Chancellor in his autumn statement indicated that the UK government is to seek exemption from the Habitat Directive.

NE has sought to use HLS to directly reduce or exclude lawful public access. This has been seen across the south of England and is now being seen more in the rest of the UK. Natural England is I believe in breach of its legal remit for public recreation in its drive to meet its aims and targets for conservation much of which is over and above what is required by the EU whilst at the same time bending over backwards to accommodate local development contrary to EU case law such as with the Thames Basin Heaths SPA. Such issues such as user displacement, recreational capacity discounting on existing public recreational land and the threat of access management are ignored at the individual site assessments.

I pine for a more sensible approach to saving our forests

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