On Tuesday 10th January 2012 an inquiry opened into an appeal by Walshaw Moor Estate in respect of a notice of modification of consent issued by Natural England under s. 28E(6) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended).
The Appellant either owns or has the benefit of sporting rights leased to it over approximately 6475ha of Walshaw Moor and Lancashire Moor. It mainly manages the land as a driven grouse moor. The challenged notice of modification of consent seeks significantly to restrict certain management activities such as prescribed burning of heather and grazing.
The land in question forms part of the South Pennine Moors SSSI, the South Pennine Moors SAC and the South Pennine Moors SPA. The inquiry will examine not only important questions of moorland ecology, grazing and burning of heather for grouse rearing, in areas of blanket bog and heathland habitats, but also the Secretary of State’s powers and duties under the Habitats Directive and Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Despite earlier contrary statements, Natural England now seeks to ban all burning on blanket bog, whether previously burned or not.
The inquiry is due to sit until 4 February 2012.