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:

  • Where farm boundaries are down such that stock have access to public highways or neighbouring land and this damage is of an extent that is not easily repairable.
  • Where flood debris covers a significant proportion of available lower lying grazing land on a farm holding such that there are animal welfare issues.
  • Where changes in river channels and other flood driven losses of land have resulted in a significant reduction in the area of lower lying grazing land such that there are animal welfare issues.
  • Where stock housing is no longer available and stock have to be moved outside resulting in animal welfare issues due to overstocking on any available low lying land

Natural England also recognises that normal supplementary feeding sites may not be available. Where this is the case, preference should be given to feeding on land that is not SSSI and/or is not under HLS options. Where this is not possible:

  • SSSI land in particular should be used as a last resort.
  • Site selection should avoid areas of heather where possible
  • Where there is no practical alternative to using SSSI land, the use of ring feeders and silage feeding trailers should be avoided.

This general relaxation will be reviewed by the end of January and in intervening period we will review this waiver on a case by case basis as staff resources allow.
Please inform Natural England, within 10 days of being able to so, where any of the above apply. You should include your ES agreement number or the name of the SSSI and you can contact us by:
Telephone:  0300 060 3900,
Writing to: Natural England ,Block B, Government Buildings, Whittington Road, Worcester ,WR5 2LQ