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Yateley Common: What happens next?

Sarah Palmer comments

" This is ridiculous, reverse evolution philosophy to be adopting, especially in such an urban area where open space is at a premium."

Says Sarah Palmer

Says Sarah PalmerDoes anybody know what should/will happen next in regards to the management of Yateley Common? Apart from all the objectors applying for numerous trees and woodland to be put under Tree Preservation Orders that is!

The official line, according to the background paper Yateley Common: Consulting on its future - the next steps - "the County council and Wildlife Trust will carefully consider all the representations made and views of consultees before making any final decisions on their preferred options". Who from the County Council will be attending that meeting and when it will be? When will they announce the final decision or will it be slid through the planning application without publicity?

I find it unclear as to who is running the show as none of the parties involved appear to acknowledge the existence of the Yateley Common Management Committee.

Does anybody else think there might be a conflict of interest insofar as the organization (Footprint Ecology) who produces advisory leaflets for landowners on behalf of Natural England (the grant providers) see are also the same organization who carry out the public consultations for prospective grant applicants. I can’t think what the term is but it’s a case of "We'll audit you, we'll issue findings and recommendations, then we'll organize your corrective action and fund it if you do what we say". That is definitely not good audit practice. Natural England seem to be adopting judge, jury and executioner role to the detriment of the public open space.

According to their website, Natural England is the government’s advisor on the natural environment. “We provide practical advice, grounded in science, on how best to safeguard England’s natural wealth for the benefit of everyone. Our remit is to ensure sustainable stewardship of the land and sea so that people and nature can thrive. It is our responsibility to see that England’s rich natural environment can adapt and survive intact for future generations to enjoy.”

It clearly states people before nature and for the natural environment to adapt – not the people. The assorted types of livestock once living on the common, with their different diets and eating styles would have created the common landscape along with the commoners burning the vegetation in winter, making hay in summer and collecting turf and wood. As Peter Tipton says - the landscape has been derived from the needs of the community and the wildlife has adjusted to this landscape. Now the reverse is happening and the needs of the wildlife are being prioritized and the community has to adjust to the new landscape. This is ridiculous, reverse evolution philosophy to be adopting, especially in such an urban area where open space is at a premium.

I have my doubts that there will be a meeting, considering how much information is already in the public domain, almost fed to us prematurely by means of an appeasement for the fact that it will be going ahead. The Rangers said at the YCMC on 7th November that cattle grids had been vetoed on expense grounds by the Highways Authority. Plus Footprint Ecology said by email there will be no loose ponies grazing, only cattle. The only confusing information release is that the MOD are already going ahead with Higher Level Stewarded (HLS) funded work on the Hawley side of the A30, known as Yateley Common South, whilst we had been led to believe they were part of the main consultation.

Putting my horse and dog interests to one side, I don’t profess to understand all the historic and current legal and rights of ways misdemeanors the Peter and Bob have raised regarding the common management but I can see that:

  1. The historic woodland element of the common is being overlooked in preference of the minority heathland area.
  2. The process is being poorly project managed to the detriment of historic commonland, open space and the rights of the public to use that space.
  3. There is a poor track record for Conservation cow management in Hampshire over the last decade.
  4. If information provided is correct and I’ve done my sums right then Yateley Common is already providing the correct amount of hectares per territory per breeding pair of Dartford Warblers and it can’t sustain more if survival is based on optimum territory sizes.

Rather than send the world's longest email I've attached a PDF giving further detail / research findings & sums behind comments 1- 4 above. I don't know what good it will do but maybe it will generate some more ideas on what we can do next and help Cllrs David and Adrian if they are looking for evidence to oppose the fence and graze plans.

To read the research findings and sums CLICK

I pine for a more sensible approach to saving our forests

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