Commoners are not being treated equally over HLS Extensions.
The Federation of Cumbria Commoners has become increasingly concerned about disparities in the way Natural England are applying the rules for Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) extensions on commons. We wondered if this is peculiar to Cumbria or whether this lack of consistency was England-wide. We talked to commoners up and down the country. In brief we found many feel they have not been treated in a fair and impartial way by their Natural England (NE) Adviser.
As a result, commoners are becoming increasingly disillusioned with NE and wary of signing up to new schemes. This is counterproductive especially at a time when the government is introducing a new system (ELM) for delivering additional environmental outcomes and public goods.
Writing to MPs
We decided to form a small working group of representatives of commoners in Cumbria and other parts of England with significant areas of common land. Our aim is to raise this issue with our local MPs. We have sent a letter to Tim Farron who is the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hill farming.
Please read the letter we have sent out. Link to the letter
If you feel strongly about this, please write to your MP too and share the letter.