DEFRA / Natural England

Agriculture Bill

We are very pleased that Federation of Cumbria Commoners was one of the few local farming organisations that got a name check during the second reading of the Agriculture Bill last Wednesday.  We thank Tim Farron MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale for an excellent speech and mentioning us. 

Proposal to commons-proof New Environmental Land Management Testing and Trials

We submitted a proposal to Defra to develop and test a commons-proofing tool that scrutinises New Environmental Land Management Scheme (NELMS)  design and delivery so that new schemes enhance rather than undermine traditional fell farming.

Michael Gove sets out his vision on the future of our natural environment

For what it's worth you can read Michael Gove's recent speech (21st July) : The Unfrozen Moment - Delivering A Green Brexit here

George Eustice may believe that commoners have received their BPS 2015, but this isn't the case

It was reported in the Cumberland News that George Eustice, Minister of State, Defra told the audience at the Northern Farmer Conference in Hexham, last week that as far as he was aware all commoners had now received their 2015 farm payments. We know that this is not true, but then he may have been misreported.

Today I sent him the following e-mail and I will post his response when I receive it. 

FCC letter asking for assurance that RPA wil play fair

We have just written to Liz Truss, Secretary of State Defra, Mark Grimshaw, CEO of RPA and our local MPs. We are asking for answers as to why no commoner has received their BPS 2015 payment yet. With the deadline for BPS 2016 applications coming up quickly, and commoners not having sight of their 2015 payment scehdule, we want assurances that their BPS 2016 claims will not be penalised as a result of RPA's maladministration.

Below is the text of the letter. We'll let you know when we get a response.

Dear Ms Truss,

RPA even further away from paying BPS 15 on commons

A press release from RPA yesterday revealed that around 3,500 claims from landowners with rights to common land are yet to be paid.

Commoners continue to bear the brunt of the RPA  fiasco and unfortunately there is not much light at the end tunnel.

The floods and Force Majeure and Derogations

Did you know that you can be formally released from your Environmental Stewardship (ES) commitments where unforeseeable events, such as flooding mean that it is impossible or impractical for you to meet the terms of your ES Agreement.

Force Majeure applies when there is long term damage and you are unable to meet the management prescription required, for example:

Management of Commons in Cumbria following Storm Desmond

We have received the following from Natural England.

Natural England recognises that there will be situations where lower lying ground will not be available for grazing or for holding livestock due to the floods. As such Natural England will waive normal restrictions on winter stock numbers on intake, fell and common land in the following circumstances:

Natural England temporarily lifting UELS/HLS requirements

To help those affected Natural England are temporarily lifting all the requirements that normally apply to Environmental Stewardship agreements and protected sites, so that farmers and others are better able to deal with the problems caused by this week’s terrible weather.

Simon Humphries, Natural England`s Area Manager for Cumbria said:

New commons information on website

Staff from both Defra and Natural England have been working with writers to reformat the guidance on commons for the government’s website GOV.UK.

There are now fewer pages on commons, these are:
•    Carrying out works on common land

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