Tuesday, 25 February 2014

The Farming Agenda

It's all about control. They may be clumsy but SWT still contrive to keep hidden from most people their true objectives on Blacka Moor. They will not be satisfied until every trace of natural regeneration is expunged. The agenda is control of nature, not working with it. They encourage people to believe that they are here to protect and 'conserve' nature. Yet at the same time they destroy it. The truth is there is no money in protecting nature.

A group of deer were grazing this morning on this part of the heathland where new grass shoots were coming through. This was never intended for them. This is a bit of pasture land created by SWT specifically to give farm animals some grazing. It's one of a number of zones where the natural vegetation was razed to allow grass to dominate and provide what cows like. That has never been made clear to the public, to political decision makers or to those who have tried to engage with SWT via the RAG. There are 6 of these areas and the flimsy, unchallenged story put out was that the work was to create firebreaks. As if this could have any use in the event of a fire. You can see easily where the cutting was made. The idea is simply to help move the cattle away from the gateways and footpaths where they make so much mess that people are incensed. Put alongside the cutting down of naturally regenerating birch and pine it adds up to a determined flouting of the agreed position in the 2006 consultation - the principle of 'mimimal intervention'.

That principle has been simply chucked aside. When that was put to Liz Ballard SWT's Chief Executive recently the response was the inevitable querying of how we define 'minimal'. Well she and her staff may choose to define it their way, but we certainly know what it's not. It's not gradually, year on year, redefining a natural site as farmland. It's not installing £20,000 worth of barbed wire and now a similar expenditure on stone walling to create a secure enclosure for cattle to destroy the natural vegetation in order to trouser more thousands in farm subsidies. It's not treating beautiful native trees as learning material for new chain saw operatives on a training project.

It's not piling up the spoils as a lesson to other native vegetation not to mess with the power tool generation. It's not letting cows loose on the bog asphodel flowers.

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