Posts Tagged ‘John Armitage’

‘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.

 

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Hen Harriers & campaigning?

February 15, 2014

My birding year has not really had many highlights in terms of sightings of note, but today’s garden tick was a very welcome one.  A stunning male Hen Harrier was observed quartering the northern fields on the periphery of Hatfield Moors SSSI, and all easily witnessed from my garden!  What ‘moor’ could you ask on a cold February day?  There is just something magical in their flight, in the majesty of their graceful movement.  BUT …. I wondered will the superb male I was priviledged to see in winter manage to survive and sucessfully breed in the coming season?   The Hen Harrier failed to breed sucessfully in England last year.  The BBC announced that the Hen Harrier is on the brink of extinction, Mark Avery’s blog frequently posts updates on the topic of Hen Harrier persecution, the most recent data available from JNCC is unfortunately out of date, but nevertheless catalogues a worrying trend.  Mark Avery’s blog is also a good source of background information about the now ‘infamous’  Walshaw Moor case which was initially taken up by Natural England.  Fast forward, it is now with the RSPB who took up the case after NE decided to drop the case.

Can I encourage readers of the blog who have not already done so to consider signing John Armitage’s epetition Licencing of upland grouse moors and gamekeepers at the time of writing it has reached 9,302 and needs to achieve 10,000 signatures for the issue to be debated in Parliament.  OK we know what happens to topics that those in power do not like, but if nothing else let’s add it to the catalogue of Government failures to protect our environment.

Of community campaigning, congratulations to the consortium of collaborators who mounted a campaign to persuade Derby Council to safeguard one of their Local Nature Reserves ‘The Sanctuary’.  Unfortunately the Councillors approved the application, however the campaigners believe that they have grounds to challenge the decision and are considering a Judicial Review.  For more background see Derbyshire Wildlife Trust’s post here.  It is worth viewing the drone’s eye view of the site, I wonder what brownfield invertebrates lurk amidst the wonderfully neglected grassland and scrub?  As an LNR it even qualifies to feature on Natural England’s website, see here.  Unsurprisingly, given the dangerous precedent in terms of planning law Mark Avery has taken an interest and I suspect that in no small part that assisted in the number of objections submitted to Derby Council.  So, in addition to a potential legal challenge the consortium have also created an online petition which is aimed at the Lottery, see hereSimon Barne’s writes in today’s Times.

A plea also to anyone able to post on facebook or twitter, that the Forum’s petition about Open Access on NNRs could do with a push here.

We need to take back common ground and ensure those in power listen to the community, common sense should prevail but sadly that is swamped by developers greed and a planning system which appears no longer fit for purpose.  If you need a half reasonable justification for that accusation then look no further at a Government which encourages developers to build 20% of new houses in flood plains without ensuring that they are appropriately designed and built IF they are actually really needed in such low lying areas.

In the meanwhile I shall go and dream of another ‘skydancer’ on my horizon tomorrow …. magic moments like that remind me why we must keep on campaigning.

NPPF & unintended consequences & ‘Moor grouses’ ….

January 31, 2014

It seems that it isn’t just conservationists who had and continue to have concerns about the National Planning Policy Framework. 

We are all of us asked to sign epetitions and recently I was alerted to another, and I now share with you an interesting bit of the background to the appeal circulated by a ‘campaigning PC’ (Parish Clerk) who wrote:

You will no doubt be familiar with the rapidly growing number of opportunistic housing development proposals being submitted in many rural communities throughout the country.  You  will also be aware of the enormous difficulty in resisting inappropriate   planning applications without a core strategy in place or an identified 5 year supply of developable land.  Even if applications are refused by the Local Planning Authority, there is a likelihood that they will be allowed at   appeal as a result of the presumption of sustainable development.

 As you may know the MP for Stratford  on Avon, Mr Nadhim Zahawi, has spoken out strongly against the damage being  done to rural communities.  The Daily Telegraph of 9th January reported  him as saying that loopholes in the guidelines are allowing developers to   “undermine the Government’s good intentions to deliver bottom-up planning and   much needed housing” and that the “physical harm” being inflicted on the   countryside could become “the defining legacy of this  Government”.
 
Unfortunately, whilst Mr Zahawi has a  great deal support for his opinions, both regionally and at Westminster, the   Government is not listening and seems determined to press ahead with its   current policy despite the widespread irreversible damage that will ensue.
 
We believe that Mr Zahawi’s stance should be given public support and that with three simple amendments to the planning policy the Government’s objective of building more homes can be  achieved without the creation of a damaging legacy. 
 
With this in mind we have lodged an  e-petition on the No 10 website and are inviting you and your councillors to  support it.
For more detail as to the particular aspects of the petition see “Amend the NPPF now before irreversible damage is caused to our communities”
So, might this see a challenge to the drive to concrete the countryside, might it see sense prevail in floodplains?  It was always going to be contentious, heralded as local people making local decisions.  Lest we forget that when local decisions go against developers they go to appeal, yet if decisions go against local wishes they have no right of appeal.  Yes, they can consider Judicial Review and to do that they have to raise thousands of pounds to challenge and only then if the process was flawed.  Democracy?
Of petitions nearing their deadlines and requiring a bit more support to ensure that the Government at least ‘discuss’ the proposal in Parliament, can I also ask you to consider signing John Armitage’s petition:  Licencing of upland grouse moors and gamekeepers.
Red Grouse TM
Red Grouse in the Peak District, copyright Tim Melling (with permission).
It seems to be enjoying a last minute burst thanks to ‘celebrity bloggers’ like Mark Avery.  The Forum featured it previously but in case you missed that plea then can you help it to secure the 10,000 signatures needed by 27 February 2014?   Currently it stands at 8,461 ….

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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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