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RSPB raises concerns over Natural England statement

12 March 2012

Gemma Hogg
Media Officer

The RSPB has today (9 March 2012) raised a number of concerns about a Natural England statement which confirms the resolution of a dispute about management practices with Walshaw Moor in the Pennines.

In a letter to Natural England’s Chairman Poul Christensen today, the RSPB’s Chief Executive Mike Clarke said that the announcement was ‘opaque and raises a series of questions’.

Natural England took legal steps to curb the excessive and damaging land management practices employed by the estate, including action to stop the Walshaw Moor Estate from burning heather on blanket bog to prevent damage to the ecologically sensitive 16,000-acre estate on 9 December 2011.

Despite supporting Natural England’s claims in a recent public inquiry, which has now concluded pending a decision, the RSPB has not been given any details about why Natural England have decided to end all action against the Estate and how the resolution has been reached.

Mike Clarke, said: “Having supported Natural England throughout its legal battle with Walshaw Moor, today’s statement was a surprise.  We’re deeply concerned about this decision – what assurances does Natural England have as part of this settlement that the estate will now comply?

“This statement is extremely brief and doesn’t provide any details about how the resolution has been reached.  There is clearly a need for some clarification on this matter - it’s in the public interest – so we have written to Natural England’s Chairman today to request this.”

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