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									              SAVE PENWITH MOORS
Our objections and solutions to the fencing and grazing of local
     moorland under the Natural England HEATH Project

Natural England, as lead partner for both the UK and Europe in the HEATH Project, had
overall responsibility for the correct implementation of the Project by sub-partners, of
which the National Trust was one.

The following issues apply to ‘our’ areas: Carnyorth Moor, Watch Croft (NT), Carn Galva
(NT), Men-an-Tol & Lanyon Quoit Crofts (Lanyon Farm); the former being the only one
so far to be entirely stock proofed and grazed with cattle. In essence this will only affect
15.7% of the Natural England HEATH Project sites of grazing in West Cornwall.


       Project results so far do not match intended outcome (access impaired, grazing
        ineffective, public opposition, visual ‘vandalism’, archaeology damaged).


       Project planning unprofessional and secretive.
       Implementation of Project incompetent and, in some cases, unlawful.
       Failure to ‘move with the times’ and take account of social change (more leisure
        time, better access to transport facilities).


       Lack of previous efficient moorland stewardship under ESA.
       Project systematically flawed.


       Achieve a grazing exemption for ‘our’ areas.
       New gates, fencing and cattle grids can then be removed as redundant.
       Conservation and access to these areas to be achieved through a regime of
        manual, mechanical, herbicide and controlled burning.

                     (A) WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?

  1. Failure to engage with the public at a planning stage has resulted in wide spread
     opposition and, in some cases criminal damage (wire cutting and fencing
  2. Accountability for complex biodiversity issues, as well as all day-to-day problems
     arising from HEATH, have been left for the farmer to deal with rather than a
     trained biologist or Natural England official.
  3. Access was heralded as a benefit of grazing but intimidatory signs on access
     gates have severely depressed visitor numbers and local walkers/horse riders.
     (Carnyorth Moor), and there has been very little clearance of even legal rights of
  4. At least four serious accidents to horse riders have been caused through HEATH
     works on Carnyorth Moor.
  5. Cattle spend much of their time grazing in back-up fields where there is their only
     source of water, rather than on the moors (Carnyorth Moor).
  6. Cattle destabilised stones of Tregeseal Circle and failed to trample bracken in and
     around this circle.

                  (B) WHY IS THERE A PROBLEM?

  1. Maps drawn up for stock proofing included items that were not checked for their
  2. When maps were sometimes altered these were not voluntarily sent to people
     who had received an earlier edition: hence new works were unknown and could
     not be challenged.
  3. Although public grant funding was given on the basis of involving the community,
     this was clearly not the case. Almost no effective engagement with the public was
     carried out during the planning stage, especially with those groups and residents
     who regularly use the moors (as opposed to office-bound bureaucrats) to check
     suitability for disabled access; easy use of gates for horse riders; appropriateness
     of mounting blocks for riders; car parking facilities; removal of ‘pinch-points’.

   4. Once public concern became apparent and a Heathlands Forum set up, there was
       still no meaningful dialogue – only dogmatic restatements of NE own position.
   5. Failure to ‘move with the times’ and take account of social change whereby many
       people from UK and abroad now have more leisure time, annual holidays, access
       to private cars, and improved air, rail and road links.
   6. There was no engagement ‘on the ground’ with tourists or locals.
   7. No effort was made to undertake any risk assessments (cattle and public).
   8. False information was given to Cornwall Council Historic Environment Service
       over existence of a ditch (Carn Galva) that allowed HEATH ditching and upcasting
       to be approved by HES.


   9. Cattle grids were unlawfully installed across public rights of way (Watch Croft &
       Carnyorth Moor)
   10. ESA regulations were breached (ditching/upcasting on Carn Galva)
   11. Contractors falsely blamed for ‘unsatisfactory work’ (on Carn Galva) even though
       NT supervised the work.
   12. Ditching/upcasting carried out on Registered Common Land without satisfactory
       checks by NT for legality (Watch Croft)
   13. Proven lie told by NE/NT to Interreg NWE (Lille, France) that the cattle grid on
       Watch Croft had been re-used when it had not.
   14. Waste of NT finances from remedial works needed to address unlawful works.
   15. No water supply yet installed on the moors for cattle (Carnyorth Moor).
   16. Legal guidelines regarding Health and Safety and the disabled were disregarded.

                 (C) WHAT CAUSED THE PROBLEMS?
Lack of previous efficient stewardship under ESA: Over the past two decades
NE/NT land, including large areas of moorland, have received considerable financial
support, yet lack of effective ‘policing’ now means that areas have to be ‘re-managed’
using methods discouraged under the ESA (erection of gates & fencing across moors;
grazing all rough ground).


   1. No ‘control’ areas set up beforehand: NE/NT have committed to action with
       no 'control' areas or direct comparison sites to ensure that the selection of cattle
       to manage is tested.

2. Failure to take account of variations of different moorland areas: Areas of
   West Penwith moorland vary considerably in their environmental ‘make-up’ and
   should not have been treated as being all the same. The imposition of one
   management system ‘to fit all’ over such a short space of time will homogenise
   our landscape.
3. No proper survey of existing grazed sites: No survey of multiple grazed sites
   has been undertaken to support the claims made. All claims are based on best
   practise and fail to account for poor sites (which are common).
4. Subsidised grazing with cattle is an unsatisfactory and unsustainable
   method of moorland management:
      a. To create viable grazing demands dedicated stewardship: not farmers.
      b. Grazing subsistence areas between farms creates a disease transmission
      c. Grazing subsidies are not a sustainable method to manage moorland: it
           depends far too much on current national financial ‘well-being’.
      d. Grazing reduces biodiversity initially until nature responds.
      e. Cattle reduce the 'seed rain' of heather by up to 60% thus (with viability
           of 25 to 100yrs) we are reducing the ground’s seed bank with absolutely
           no knowledge of the long term impact on heather numbers.
      f.   It is intended that cattle will graze polluted land.
5. No account taken of adding to, or effect of, climate change:
      a. Cattle add methane and reduce carbon lock up by reducing shrub cover,
           thus propelling climate change.
      b. Climate change will create enormous natural stresses.
      c. How can cattle continue to be a viable management tool on subsistence
           land when climate change is likely to depress grass?
      d. If we remove woody ground cover in tandem with climate change those
           same areas will be exposed to the Sun. The drying/warming of the
           exposed areas will start to cause shrinkage of the surrounding woody
      e. Why has no innovation been adopted to ensure we face climate change
           with a selection of 'tools'?
6. No in-depth consideration of any management other than grazing as the
   primary method:
      a. On the basis that nature is going to create huge intervention which we
           cannot anticipate we need to be very light handed in all we do.

         b. We lack time to gain knowledge so the very best we can do is adopt
              means which give us the luxury of a response time (grazing is always
         c. Burning is pre-emptive and gives us 25yrs reaction time. At 4% a year it is
              low intervention and produces maximum biodiversity.
         d. Burning is an 'out of season' operation thus maintaining aesthetics on the
              4% while keeping 96% beautiful.
         e. Burning has no depressive effect on access.
         f.   Phytopthera kernoviae (PK) could be encouraged by grazing whereas fire
              will burn these areas away – so having a double value in clearing infected
              material and sterilising. [PK is a new and potentially serious pathogen of a
              heathland disease]
         g. Grazed areas cannot (on average) equal a burning regime in maintaining
              heaths as a visitor attraction.

                      (D) WHAT IS THE SOLUTION
SAVE PENWITH MOORS campaigns to:

     Achieve a grazing exemption for ‘our’ areas.
     New gates, fencing and cattle grids can then be removed as redundant.
     Conservation and access to these areas to be achieved through a regime of
      manual, mechanical, herbicide and controlled burning.
     Ensure that there is safe and adequate car parking facilities.
     Suggest creation of a ‘disabled circuit’. (This would be feasible for the severely
      disabled along the level track on Carnyorth Moor where a cattle grid has been
      placed near Hectors House that will hopefully be removed before long.)

                                                          Ian McNeil Cooke (Co-ordinator)
                                                         on behalf of Save Penwith Moors
                                                                       3rd November 2009


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