CLA President visits Calderdale Moor to hear landowner concerns

The CLA President, Mark Tufnell recently visited CLA members on Calderdale Moor, hearing concerns about the renewal of stewardship agreements on the Site of Specific Scientific Interest.
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The moorland provides vital habitat for many protected species such as curlew and lapwing and other ground nesting birds and stores many tonnes of carbon below the ground in its deep peatland. Farms and landowners have stewarded the land for generations, through the grazing of livestock and the protection of wildlife habitat alongside the management of combustible vegetation to reduce the risk of devastating wildfire on the moorland.

For many years, Natural England have had a contract with farmers, landowners and graziers to improve the natural environment of the moor, but those contracts have now concluded and measures which were designed to protect the environment are at risk of abandonment if a solution cannot be found to renew the agreements.

Commenting on the visit, CLA President Mark Tufnell said:

“Farmers and landowners have a pivotal role to play in the continued stewardship of our uplands; for many years, the men and women working on Calderdale Moor have been balancing environmental protection with food production and it is essential we find a solution to enable this to continue into the future”.

Jane Bancroft added:

“It was very good of the CLA President to spare the time to visit us on the moor to hear about the problems we are facing with renewing our stewardship agreements with Natural England. It is reassuring to know that he is raising these issues with decision-makers in Westminster to help us find a way forward.”