DEFRA / Natural England

Letter from CEO of Natural England

In October James Cross, CEO of Natural England completed his 1st year of office. He has sent round a letter explaining what he has achieved.

You can download his letter here

Concerns in Dartmoor over HL15 - Seasonal Livestock Exclusion supplement

We have been sent the following from commoner in Dartmoor you can also find this story at NFU online

Depending on the outcome this may affect some commoners in Cumbria.

Delay to agri-environment scheme payments "unacceptable" says NFU

A delay of up to four months for agri-environment scheme payments to farmers in England will put added pressure on farm businesses at a time when thousands are facing low farmgate prices. Natural England has told the NFU that payments, usually expected in August, will start being made to farmers in October but the majority of transactions won’t take place in November and December. This is partly due to IT failures in the spring and the extension of claim deadlines for the BPS and agri-environment scheme.

Defra and NE have updated their guidance on managing common land

Defra have recently updated their Guidance on managing common land - to find out more, go to

Good news: keeping of detailed livestock records postponed till 2016

Defra have decided to postpone their plans to require the increased level of movement recording that we were threatened with last month.  Common sense has prevailed recognising the practical problems recording livestock movements by land parcel caused.  But this is only a postponement to a later date.  

CAP reform - we need decisions now

We, along with the Foundation for Common Land, the NFU and others have become increasingly concerned about how the new Basic Payment Scheme will be implemented on common land. We need decisions  soon before purdah starts at the end of March. Purdah is the pre-election period when central and local government can't make announcements about any new or controversial government initiatives. The Foundation for Common Land has recently written to the Defra Minster, George Eustace and we hope he listens.

What is bothering us?

No mention of common land in Targeting Statements for Countryside Stewardship

Natural England have decided to call NELMS Countryside Stewardship. They recently issued Targeting Statements for their National Character Areas in Cumbria and are asking for comments.

I wasn’t sure what a Targeting Statement was, so I looked it up. The Humber Nature Partnership says:

Natural England's application for a fence on Fell End Clouds rejected

A planning inspector has refused Natural England consent to erect a fence around an area of limestone pavement on common land in Upper Eden, known as Fell End Clouds, Cumbria.

Fell End Clouds is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Natural England  considers that temporary fencing is needed to prevent sheep from grazing on its rare and unusual species of plants .in order to bring it back into “favourable condition”.

Another change for next year: new requirement to submit an annual claim form for payment of UELS/HLS money

We have been told by Natural England that from next year (2015), existing Environmental Stewardship (ES) agreement holders will be required to submit a claim form by 15 May each year, in order to receive their scheduled ES payments. This new claim form is required because the EU rules that apply to current ES agreements are changing, as part of the new Rural Development Programme which starts next year.

Implementation of Part 1 of Commons 2006 Act delayed

The roll out of Part 1 in Cumbria and North Yorks has been delayed by a few weeks as the requisite regulation has not yet been laid before parliament.

We plan is to hold information meetings with the Chairmen of Commoners’ Associations when we know more.


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