Natural England on the wrong track in West Yorkshire

by Mark Avery

Natural England on the wrong track in West Yorkshire

by Mark Avery
Mark Avery
Case Owner
I'm an author and environmental campaigner. I'm passionate about protecting our wildlife from harm.
Funded
on 08th May 2018
£9,972
pledged of £26,000 stretch target from 367 pledges
Mark Avery
Case Owner
I'm an author and environmental campaigner. I'm passionate about protecting our wildlife from harm.

Latest: May 10, 2018

A significant victory - thank you for your support.

We have won a significnt victory!  Thank you to everyone who contributed to fund this case.  I cannot thank you enough.

Here is a link to what has happened.  I will provide a fur...

Read more


I am seeking judicial review of an agreement made by government agency Natural England that will allow a landowner to damage protected habitat in West Yorkshire.

Natural England, the government agency that is supposed to protect wildlife, has signed an agreement with a Yorkshire landowner that allows protected peatland habitat to be damaged.  The plan allows the building of a 5-kilometre track through blanket bog at Walshaw Moor near Hebden Bridge, and also permits the vegetation to be burned to a damaging degree. Natural England isn’t doing its job properly and I believe we can get this agreement thrown out.

The technical aspect of this case is that Natural England has assessed the impacts of this agreement very badly, in my view. A few years ago Natural England refused the landowner permission to build a very similar track and yet this time our conservation agency has simply caved in!  Many other agreements are in the pipeline across the English uplands and unless we draw a line in the sand (or in fact in the peat) right now more sites will be damaged and more wildlife will be lost.

Walshaw Moor is part of an area with the highest European conservation designations because of its wildlife and its important bog habitats: it is a Special Protection Area for Birds and a Special Area of Conservation under the EU Birds and Habitats Directives.  If our statutory agencies don’t ensure the protection of such places then what on earth are they for?

I've got some great lawyers together to argue our case but I need your help to pay the court costs, the costs if we lose (nothing is certain) and at least some of our lawyers' costs (they have kindly agreed to work at heavily discounted rates).  The first stage is to raise £5000 to start the process rolling but we need to raise another £21,000 to see this through to the end.  Please help start things off by donating today - right now please, if you can.

Let’s make Natural England work to protect England’s nature!

I'll give regular updates on how things are going - here and on my blog Standing up for Nature. If we raise more money than is needed, the additional funds will be held for up to a year and spent on other legal work to benefit upland nature conservation or other environmental causes.  Thank you.


Photo credit: Bob Berzins

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Update 2

Mark Avery

May 10, 2018

A significant victory - thank you for your support.

We have won a significnt victory!  Thank you to everyone who contributed to fund this case.  I cannot thank you enough.

Here is a link to what has happened.  I will provide a further update here some time tomorrow.

But thank you again!  I was keen to let you know as quickly as possible.

Mark

Update 1

Mark Avery

May 10, 2018

Movement

We have received an interesting response from Natural England.  

I am seeking legal advice from our lawyers.  

I expect to be able to give a full update either later today or tomorrow. 

This appears to be good news for our case rather than bad news - but I'm not the lawyer!  More as soon as I have advice and have got my head round that advice.

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