Posts Tagged ‘doncaster mbc’

When is a pond no longer a pond?

May 12, 2016

We oft hear of hedgerows and field ponds being an intrinsic part of the rural landscape.  Fishlake Parish in the Borough of Doncaster had many delightful such features.  Howes (1997) catalogued the decline of these features and we now mourn the passing of another ….

A pond such as this below in a quiet corner could assist alleviate the impact of flooding, it could be useful when biodiversity value of a land holding is assessed?

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Pond beginning to be infilled

Had this pond been checked for Great Crested Newts?  Had the local planning authority, that is to say Doncaster MBC, been asked about the presence of any protected species within the vicinity via their Local Records Centre?  Had the Environment Agency been contacted?

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Shows the same pond above filled with reclaimed soil from the nearby barrier bank

Crucially, had permission been sought for the use of barrier bank soil to infill it?  If so who was involved in any ‘discussion’? Had Danvm Drainage Commissioners as the Public Body responsible for drainage matters in the area been involved?

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Shows the barrier bank removal scar

What risk assessment had been undertaken which determined that there was no need for this bank in terms of flood management?  It seems wholly reasonable that given the low lying nature of the area that features were installed or created for a reason and if that was now redundant then it would receive approval from the appropriate authority for an alternative use?  Who was and who is now that appropriate authority or agency?

Does the landowner involved receive stewardship payments for the feature (ie the pond)?

The function of the IDBs is land drainage and their powers are through the Land Drainage Act 1991 (as amended), it is the Environment Agency who is responsible for flood prevention/alleviation/mitigation etc.

In the words of Gerald Manley Hopkins “Oh let there be left wildness and wet; long live the weeds and the wilderness yet”?

What will be left of a once pastoral landscape for the next generation, some would say it’s progress and for landowners to do as they wish with their own property?  As oft the case, much is underpinned with public funds.  IDBs receive significant sums via a levy collected through the local authority and there is reported to be an expectation of public benefit for those funds.  IDBs have Biodiversity Action Plans for their catchments, but these are often little more than words and tangible outputs from the expenditure is as scarce as field ponds?  The DDC website offers an array of BAPs, the relevant BAP Pond and Great Crested Newt Action Report (2014) simply details a survey of a couple of sites, not a catchment survey, and no actions so one might be forgiven for pondering the claim of BAP ‘implementation’?  Implementation would generally mean tangible activity post assessment?  Do the local IDBs have any biodiversity inventory relating to the areas managed by them, it would seem reasonable given that the management service provision would at least hold a baseline inventory of protected species as a minimum with periodic updates? Parallels could be drawn where nature conservation organisations (both charitable and statutory) do hold relevant data material to their management function of land and water courses?  How else can they deliver appropriate management without an asset register of key biodiversity interest?

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Low lying land in flood plains are a resource to alleviate the impact of increasing rainfall events? 

 

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Draining …. & fracking …. updates?

February 15, 2015

We’ve still no news or useful updates on the hedge / tree works yet, beyond that is notification that ‘investigate immediately’ will now take 20 working days to provide a reply!  This approach begs the question of what kind of a response there might be if a member of the public noticed a damaged embankment or Pumping Station issues and were to report it?  The recent DDC Governance Audit Report makes recommendations about engaging with the public, but as a Chairman of a neighbouring Board’s sub-committee recently reminded his colleagues …. the Board receives recommendations but it does not have to act upon them (in fairness he did hint that a Board would need a good reason not to at least ‘note’ recommendations)!

There is, we offer, another option as to who might have undertaken the works?  If readers can think of others then please do let us know.

The Local Authority, Doncaster MBC in this situation as the site is at Fishlake, could have commissioned contractors to undertake the ‘management’ to ensure that the footpath is kept clear?

This lane, Wood Lane is notified as a “Restricted byway on signs at both Clough House Farm and Jubilee Bridge.   It would be a strange way to conduct business if such management works were carried out by any Public Body seeking to create lanes for off road vehicle use?  An enquiry was made of DMBC Public Rights of Way officers and a response is awaited.

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Additional images which show recent management activity along a drain (above) and the associated hedgerows on both sides of Wood Lane in Fishlake.  The image below also shows where a heavily tracked machine reversed across the track?

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Has the work been undertaken by a neighbouring landoowner who utilises the lane for access to land?  Readers are recommended to view the area via Google Earth.  This excellent tool, providing reasonably up to date aerial images (current Fishlake panel is 2008), clearly illustrates the state of the once extremely rich pastoral landscape and how in recent years the hedgerows have been removed to create larger fields and a mono-culture of prairiescape easily accessed by large agri-industrial machinery.  Despite the  transformation from rich wetland to a modern industrialised food factory there are still pockets which harbour interesting species just hanging on in fragmented habitats.  DMBC, like the DDC have created a plethora of documents which extol the virtues of such places, but despite the data the areas are still lost and the area ‘developed’ under the Planning System reformed by the current ConDem Government.  DMBC Habitat Action Plan for Ancient and Species Rich Hedgerows (2007) records in Section 3 the amount of the local resouce, it would be interesting to learn nearly eight years on how much has been lost?  It is highly likely that many miles will have been planted from public funds, but it will be many hundreds of years before they are of any real biodiversity value and that assumes that the Scarce Vapourer wingless female can make the journey without the requisite wildlife friendly corridors or perhaps the funded project to a local NGO might be to facilitate an ‘introduction’?

Is fracking good for us?

Water supplies, personal health, carbon targets, and naturally income from company shares &c.?

The other update which might be of interest to our readers is the recent publication by the Environmental Audit Committee the report which details the Environmental Risks of Fracking.  This work was commissioned by the Environmental Audit Committee .

The EAC undertook an inquiry on the risks from fracking operations in the UK, including potential risks to water supplies and water quality, emissions, habitats and biodiversity, and geological integrity; (b) necessary environmental safeguards, including through the planning/permitting system; and (c) the implications for our carbon emissions reduction obligations.

Too late?  The flood gates have been opened and the Tresspass Laws amended to accommodate big business plans?  See the various links below (with apologies if some have changed):  Whoiswho

 

 

The Danvm Drainage Commissioners & ‘moor’ badgering of politicians needed?

October 30, 2014

Open transparent conduct in public office – is it a thing of the past?

Readers might surmise from a recent post that we are in the process of scrutinising the recently published Danvm Drainage Commissioners Audit – Governance Audit 2014 undertaken by Doncaster MBC, they would be right.  What is interesting in itself is that they [DMBC] are effectively auditing themselves as Local Authorities (including DMBC) appoint the majority of the Commissioners (13 as oppossed to 12 elected members).  How is it that collectively the three Local Authority (Barnsley, Doncaster, Selby & Wakefield) appointees have missed the signs?   This Board is around 85% funded through Special Levy (public taxes).

We will update the blog with our analysis in due course, in the interim here are a few other updates which might be of interest to readers:

1.  On 27 October, MPs voted against tabled ammendments to allow constituents to sack their MPs.  See the 38 degree campaign website for more information and how to act if you feel that as constituents we should have a say.

2.  There are three days to stop investigations into MPs’ expenses being hidden from the public.  The consultation on whether to go ahead with these dodgy plans closes on Sunday.

IPSA, the independent watchdog in charge of MP finances, claims its main duty is to serve the interests of the public, not protect MPs. But so far it’s suggested giving MPs a 10% pay rise. And now it wants to hide when MPs’ expenses are being investigated.

The 2009 expenses scandal destroyed the public’s trust in politicians.  And it was the lack of transparency that led to it. These plans would be a huge step backwards. If we want to prevent MPs abusing expenses, this means keeping every part of expenses in the public eye.  We might be forgiven for asking if it [trust and respect] has yet returned?

IPSA says it wants to hear from the public. So together let’s make sure they know what we think?  Nearly 200,000 people have already signed a petition. If thousands email in now, when they look at the results in a few days’ time, they’ll hear one clear message: don’t make investigations into MPs’ expenses secret.

3.   TTIP is another capitalist ambition which will see us the UK taxpayer foot the bill if corporations are allowed to sue the UK government. The ConDem government are supporting this deal, but do they speak for the public? See the 38 degree website for more information on the issue and how you can act if you are oppossed to the ISDS component particularly.

Why would politicians want to hide facts?  If the expense is legitimate then what have they to hide?  If a trade deal is being negotiated then public interest should be paramount not capitalist profiteering.  Open transparent and principled politics, including at a European and international level ….  we can dream but in the interim we have effectively a two party system with periodic appearance of alternatives which people then fail to embrace for a whole raft of reasons often because they fear the party they don’t want getting in so they vote for the other ‘main’ party.  Until there is a change in legislation which requires politicians to represent their constituents rather than the party then we continue to waste our energy with an outdated and archaic system alledgedly a representative democracy?

 

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Keep on BADGERING Government ….

Badger Trust disappointed by Court of Appeal decision against ensuring an independent referee. They call on the Secretary of State not to once more move the goalposts.

The Court of Appeal handed down its judgment on Wednesday in the matter of the Badger Trust’s appeal concerning the refusal of the Secretary of State to maintain an Independent Expert Panel (IEP) to oversee the monitoring and analysis of the results from the second year of the pilot culls in West Somerset and West Gloucestershire.

​The Trust had understood that the Secretary of State had promised that an IEP would oversee the monitoring and analysis of the results of the culls while she was still considering a wider roll out. However, although the IEP had concluded that the first year of the pilot culls had been an abject failure and therefore the Secretary of State rightly decided not to roll out culling more widely, she abandoned the use of an IEP for the second year of the pilot.

​The Trust challenged this decision on the basis that the Secretary of State’s promise amounted to an enforceable legitimate expectation and accordingly any decision to roll out more widely after the second year of the pilots would be unlawful. The Court of Appeal rejected this argument, noting that the Government’s policy could be “said to be characterised by a tone of optimism as to the likely success of the pilot scheme in the first year.”

This optimism proved to be totally unfounded given the failure of the first year of the culls to achieve sufficient standards of effectiveness, humaneness and safety, despite the then Secretary of State’s premature announcement to the contrary. While the Trust respects the decision of the Court of Appeal as a matter of law, as a matter of policy, it calls upon the Secretary of State to confirm she will not roll out culls more widely given the failure of the pilot culls.

​Jeff Hayden, Financial Director and the Trust’s lead on the Judicial Review challenge said: “The current Secretary of State rightly has not jumped, as her predecessor did, to a premature conclusion regarding the result of the second year of the culls. However, if the leaked figures regarding effectiveness are correct, then contrary to the suggestions of the National Farmers’ Union, she cannot yet again move the goalposts, particularly when she has refused to have an independent referee.”

​“If the second year of the pilots has not met the standards determined by the Secretary of State, she must acknowledge that the pilots are a failure and culling cannot be rolled out more widely. Instead, DEFRA should commit to rigorous cattle control measures as employed in Wales where a reduction of 48% in bovine TB (bTB) has been achieved during the last five years. The small threat from badgers should be dealt with by vaccination rather than inhumane and ineffective slaughter.”

 

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DMBC What Do They Know about Danvm Drainage Commissioners?

August 18, 2014

Regular readers may recall the post of 20 July when we reported submitting a Freedom of Information request through the website WhatDoTheyKnow.  Well the deadline for a response, according to the website is 18 August.  That’s today …. but I suppose that technically they have until midnight?

DMBC did respond quickly to confirm receipt of the enquiry

Dear Thorne & Hatfield Moors Conservation Forum

Re: Request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000

Thank you for your request for information.

Your request has been passed to the Audit department. They will endeavour to search for any information held to provide you with a response as soon as is possible within 20 working days and in any case by the 15th August 2014.

Yours sincerely

Sarah Winn
Finance & Corporate Services,
Customer Services & ICT
Doncaster Council, Civic Office, Waterdale, Doncaster, DN1 3BU

So, absolutely nothing not even a request to extend the period of search.  What should we do next?  Given that DMBC indicated that we would receive a reply by 15 August, we have requested an internal review of this case and their handling of it.

Many Drainage Boards are archaic in their modus operandi, even those which have ‘modernised’ operate under some interesting governance regimes.  Examples of this can be found in the minutes which are sometimes made available on their websites.  Those for the DDC for example are located in ‘News’, ten sets are available with the earliest available are from 2012.

The Forum’s area of geographic interest is broadly speaking the Humberhead Levels and the Drainage Boards which operate around Thorne & Hatfield Moors SSSI and the peripheral wetlands include the Doncaster East IDB, the Black Drain DB and the Danvm Drainage Commissioners.  Members of the public are entitled to observe conduct of business by these boards as generally the majority of funding received by the boards is through Special Levy (public funds).

 

Keep on ‘badgering’ …. DEFRA found to be acting outwith the public interest?

August 6, 2014

We are pleased to be able to update readers of the latest in the long running saga of badger culling, we are grateful to the Badger Trust and South Yorkshire Badger Group for sharing this with us.

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Public interest found to be in favour of disclosure of secret badger cull policy documents

On 31st July 2014 the Upper Tribunal held that it was “not persuaded” by DEFRA’s justifications for withholding key badger culling policy documents.

In May 2012, the Badger Trust requested documents relating to the controversial development of the Government’s badger cull policy in 2010. Unknown to the Badger Trust, these documents related to the involvement of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) on a secret project board set up to explore essential aspects of the Government’s policy. DEFRA refused to disclose the Risk and Issue Logs (RILs), which demonstrate the project board’s hidden assessment of the risks associated with developing a farmer-led badger cull prior to the Minister’s decision on introducing the policy.

In June 2013, the Information Commissioner ordered DEFRA to disclose the RILs, finding that the public interest test favoured disclosure. DEFRA appealed to the First-tier Tribunal. The case was exceptionally transferred directly to the Upper Tribunal where it was vigorously defended by the Information Commissioner together with the Badger Trust.

Following two days of evidence and submissions at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, the Tribunal indicated that it was unconvinced by any of DEFRA’s public interest arguments to justify withholding the RILs. Full judgment will be handed down in due course. There will also be a further hearing around late October 2014 to address important wider issues to clarify the legal exceptions relied on by DEFRA to keep the Board’s assessment of the risks under wraps.

This places the Badger Trust at the forefront of potentially ground-breaking developments in environmental information law, which will assist other NGOs like themselves to ensure greater transparency and scrutiny of controversial environmental decision-making within Government.

Jeff Hayden, Financial Director and the Trust’s lead on judicial challenge, who attended the two-day hearing, said:
“The Badger Trust was unremitting and determined in challenging DEFRA’s refusal and today’s finding is a complete vindication for all its hard-work. Our legal advisors, Bindmans LLP, have again proved an invaluable partner in our battle to protect badgers. We deeply regret that we have been unable to save the 1,861 that were slaughtered in the 2013 trials.”

Dominic Dyer, CEO of Badger Trust and Policy Adviser Care For The Wild, said:
“This is another important step forward in the Badger Trust’s on-going legal challenge to show that it is cattle, not badgers, that are at the root of the spread of bovine TB. Although the written judgment is awaited, the Tribunal Chairman, Mr Justice Charles, made it quite clear that DEFRA had not been justified in withholding these documents from the Badger Trust in 2012.”

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The moral of the story: when you know the cause is just then just keep on badgering and trust that the truth will out and become available for public scrutiny to the public who funded it in the first place.

The Farmers Weekly, a much read rural publication have also been forced to admit that a photograph they have often used was not one taken in the wild, but 25 years ago at a wildlife sanctuary and the activity it captured was highly unlikely ever to happen in the wild.   The complaint was upheld by the PCC, see here and here  

Another piece of pleasing news is that following a presentation made by SYBG, Doncaster MBC have agreed not to allow any badgers to be culled on local authority owned land, well done DMBC!  Sheffield CCwere the first to declare without any prompting, decisions are still awaited from Barnsley MBC and Rotherham MBC.  So any readers living in those boroughs might like to contact their local councillors and ask them to examine the science and guage the public mood for culling badgers perhaps?

Warning: the clip shown through the BRAVE website here is deeply distressing but the message still needs to be sent to Cameron and the continued unscientific, inhumane and barbaric blame mongers who obstinately refuse to listen to science, rationale reason and the public.  Disturbingly Paterson’s replacement Liz Truss has made it clear that she intends the cull programme to continue, a move swiftly lamented bt the oppossition.  In her first session at the dispatch box 48 hours after being appointed to Cabinet explained that after speaking with Defra scientific advisers she had decided to progress with the Government’s two culling pilots this autumn …. if readers are minded to write to Ms Truss then contact details can be found here (sadly they are via the Defra gate, but critical mass can be convincing).  Perhaps a timely reminder with just 273 days left to the next general election that Mr Cameron might like to receive correspondence about his ConDem environmental conservation performance ….

 

Thorne Moors A Botanical Survey …. hot off the press & available now

July 29, 2014

Well, at long last it’s in print!  The first ever checklist of the botanical interest of Thorne Moors.  To Ian McDonald who initiated the project well done, to Paul Buckland as Editor a massive thank you for seeing it through the process and into print!  Many have extended blood, sweat and in all probibility a few tears over this mammoth undertaking but it is now to others to judge ‘a book not by its cover but its content’?

A considerable tome, some 265 pages many in colour with some superb photographs of the flora (including the bryophytes) and habitats found on Thorne Moors NNR — a bargain at only a tenner!  That price is thanks to financial support from JBA Trust and Natural England and the Forum Executive deciding to make this publication more readily accessible to students, researchers and local community at an affordable price.

Copies can be obtained by sending a cheque made payable to Thorne & Hatfield Moors Conservation Forum for either £15.75 (first class post) or £14.10 (second class post) to Thorne & Hatfield Moors Conservation Forum (TMABS) PO Box 879, Thorne, Doncaster, DN8 5WU.  Copies will be sent in Mail Lite padded bags through the Royal Mail small parcel system.  We will acknowledge receipt of orders & payment and upon diaptch will obtain a proof of postage, if potential purchasers require a ‘signed for’ or ‘special delivery’ service then please contact execsec@thmcf.org to make the necessary arrangements.

TMABS front scan

Regular readers of the blog will be aware that the Forum submitted a FoI request in respect of the Danvm Drainage Commissioners.   To update readers that Doncaster MBC has acknowledged receipt of our request for a copy of the DDC Audit Report.  Interestingly the notification asks you to update the status of the enquiry to indicate if the response contained useful information.  The reply was an acknowledgement of the enquiry, certainly not what we’d describe as a response, that will come in due course or more precisely “within 20 working days and in any case by the 15th August 2014”.

Readers can subscribe via WhatDoTheyKnow and follow the enquiry and already we have one such follower.

 

Thorne Colliery Solar Farm

April 17, 2014

Readers may recall that we posted details of an information event about the proposed Solar Farm development at Thorne Colliery. The public event was well attended which seemed to surprise the developers whose staff struggled valiantly to answer the questions posed by local residents. There was the usual generic detail but little substance in terms of assessment of impact upon the nationally important invertebrate assemblage at Thorne Moors SSSI, particularly the nationally significant lagg fen at Inkle Moor.

 

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An example of solar panels, Richborough Solar Farm image licenced through Creative Commons licence

We understand that Natural England have provided RES [BSG Ecology and LDA Design] with data, but the exchanges we have seen relate to planning advice obtained through the Discretionary Advice Service (a service which the develope pays for).  It is understood that the outcome of BSG surveys further to Natural England’s recommendations will feature as part of the full application to be formally submitted to Doncaster MBC in the next few weeks (per Eliot Davies, Solar PV Development Project Manager, UK & Ireland Development).

Documents available at the moment can be accessed below by clicking on the links, the first is the letter from the developers to Doncaster MBC, the second is a series of maps and photomontages providing graphic (as opposed to textual) information about the proposed development.

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‘moor’ badgering …. conservation campaigning epetitions ….

February 27, 2014

Well done to John Armitage who has secured sufficient signatures to ensure that he receives a response to his call for Licensing of upland grouse moorsMark Avery did an excellent analysis of his achievement in terms of conservationists lobbying Defra.

South Yorkshire Badger Group have recently alerted us to three other epetitions readers might consider signing.  Under new rules Local Authorities run their own petition schemes and as with central Government, Local Councils are obliged to debate the issue.  So, the petition(s) requests the three councils below to declare that they will not allow badgers to be culled on council land, and instead will agree to badger vaccination. This has the potential to seriously affect  the Government’s cull policy, and to emphasise further the degree of anti-cull feeling.

Badger & mayweedBadger by Tatterdemalion.   Image courtesy of Flickr – Creative Commons license.

Doncaster MBC’s  epetition ends 3 April 2014, so anyone living within the LA area please consider signing and spreading the word.  30 signatures so far.

Barnsley MBC’s epetition has until 31 May 2014 to run, so same comment applies to this LA area residents who read the blog.  44 supporters thus far.

Rotherham MBC epetition runs until 17 May 2014, their website informs us that if this petition reaches 9 signatures an officer will investigate the matter, so well done Rotherham MBC … we look forward to learning of the outcome, in the interim I’m sure there are more than 9 people living in the Rotherham area who care about badgers?  19 have already given their support.

So, collectively can we send a clear message to these Local Authorities about how local tax payers and voters feel about wildlife?

Sheffield City Council get a Gold Star because without any prompting the council has already declared they will not allow badger culling on public land.

As yet I’ve not managed to locate how many ‘signatures’ are required to cause two of the Councils above to debate the petition, but I hope you’ll agree that given the short window left it’s important to get the message out there.  I’m sure someone will locate the threshold requirement and let me know.

 

Fishlake’s ever diminishing wildlife habitats

July 10, 2013

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Despite there being no threat of flooding or damage to property, in otherwords an over riding public interest requirement, routine management was carried out mid season and threatened rare species such as Stone Parsley.  A species known only from very few areas of South Yorkshire with the parishes of Fishlake and Sykehouse being regarded as the remaining haven for this very rare species considered by Wilmore et. al. (2011)* to be at its northern limit here in South Yorkshire.

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Sison amomum is a species of unimproved grasslands, hedgerows and verges and sadly is a declining species as areas are drained and improved for agriculture.   Like so many wildflowers once familiar across the countryside it is a casualty of ‘improvement’ and no amount of biodiversity building projects sees its return to lost habitats.  The connectivity and corridors described in Making Space for Nature don’t seem to have reached the Humberhead Levels despite various schemes to ‘Improve’ its Area for Nature.

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We’ve reported on various occurences of hedgerow losses in the pastoral parishes around the village of Fishlake.  The most recent incident relates to management of wildflower verges by Internal Drainage Boards.  These Public Bodies have a duty under legislation to further biodiversity, not to destroy it.  These photographs which accompanied a complaint to the Danvm Drainage Commissioners illustrate the inappropriate management undertaken recently.  Apologies were offered to the complainant but campaigners might be forgiven for considering them empty and meaningless following assurances earlier in the year that a proper management regime had been produced by their professional ecologist.  A shame that there was yet another break down in communication which sadly re-enforces the view that n’owt changes on the ground and the carnage continues.

We had been hoping to post an update on the DMBC investigations involving unauthorised hedgerow removal, sadly no news yet but watch this space for updates.

We are also awaiting replies from Defra about the decission to accept proposals by the Danvm Drainage Commissioners to proceed with a hedgerow removal contra, in the view of the Executive and its legal advisors, to the Hedgerow Regulations 1997 and the Hatfield Thorne Fishlake Inclosure Award of 1825.  It is interesting to note that Defra did, in their decission notification advise the DDC to take legal advice themselves but it appears that they are relying upon a third party opinion rather than safeguarding the Board Membership which includes elected representatives (49% of vote for a 13% financial contribution) and special levy (taxpayers) Council appointments (51 % of vote for an 87% financial contribution).  Watch this space for updates as they become available.

* South Yorkshire Plant Atlas published by the YNU & YHEDT.

Follow the Forum’s FoI to Defra on hedgerow matters?

June 9, 2013

Some of you following this blog will be aware that as well as recording, surveying and monitoring the amazing natural history interest of the Humberhead Levels, the Forum has and will on occasions, when its Executive deem it necessary, take a ‘campaigning stance’ in such matters as hedgerow damage or removal.

We are currently awaiting responses to enquiries regarding alleged illegal removal of Enclosure Award hedgerows in the Parish of Fishlake.  Doncaster MBC as the local  planning authority are the ‘appropriate authority’ in this case.

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The Executive is also in correspondence with DEFRA about the procedure applied to an application for a drainage scheme in the same parish which would have seen nearly a kilometre of species rich ancient hedgerow removed along with substantive mature oak trees.  This scheme was only modified as a result of local challenge but it still seeks to destroy around 150 metres of ancient hedgerow.  Should we regard the saving over 800 metres as success and walk away?

The scheme was submitted by the local Danvm Drainage Commissioners (DDC) under Environmental Impact Assessment (Land Drainage Improvement Works) Regulations 1999 (as amended) (‘the Regulations’).  However, in the opinion of the Forum’s Executive and others the scheme failed to take due account of the Hedgerow Regulations 1997 and the Hatfield Thorne and Fishlake Enclosure Award of 1825 and its enabling Acts of 1801 and 1811.  Defra based its decision on EIA Regulations but pointed out to the DDC the existence of other extant legislation.

So, look up our questions here and here and follow progress, the deadline for the Defra response is 5 July.  Whilst not actually part of the current casework per se and described herein they do relate to the wider issue of erosion of environmental protection and accountability and they are research which will inform another ‘project’ which is currently at development stage.

Does it matter that the landscape character of the district continues to be changed from pastoral to agri-industrialised prairie scapes more akin to that of the neighbouring flatlands that can be seen as you travel north from Fishlake along the M62 and look eastwards?  Should developers and advocates of ‘improvements’ be bound by legislation or regulations?

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We reported on the State of Nature report recently, farmland losses are discussed and larger fields have had a significant impact on the loss of natural field boundaries, that is to say hedgerows which make a significant contribution to that biodiversity mass and hedgerows can act as corridors for colonisation further afield.   But,  despite protection and regulations governing hedgerow removal there are still those who seek to act out-with procedures and regulations.

Does it matter?  Are the pastoral landscapes doomed to be fondly described as a thing of the past, lowland haymeadows awash with a fabulous flora and associated invertebrate assemblage all but childhood memories consigned to natural historians academically penned obituaries in colourful tomes such as the just published Meadows by George Peterken (British Wildlife Publishing), no mention in there of Doncaster’s fritillaries, goldilocks or other such rarities still hanging on in forgotten corners.

 

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Mark Avery

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I write about politics, nature + the environment. Some posts are serious, some not. These are my views, I don't do any promotional stuff and these views are not being expressed for anyone who employs me.

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