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Open Moorland: Fencing

Volume 709: debated on Wednesday 1 April 2009

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have monitored the number and extent of fences that have been erected in recent years on open moorland in the northern Peak District National Park and adjacent areas; and whether they have assessed the reasons for the erection of such fences. [HL2246]

The Peak District National Park moors have suffered very significant damage e.g. wildfires, overgrazing and pollution. To enable vegetation recovery it is necessary in places to exclude stock through fencing, funded through agri-environment agreements. Routes are agreed with the National Park Authority and chosen to minimise impacts on accessibility and landscape. From 1987 to the present, an estimated 127.7km1 of fencing has been erected. Fences are being removed as soon as restoration allows e.g. 23km1 have recently been removed.

1 Peak District National Park—Northern moorland fencing extent and location. Compiled by Richard Pollitt and Jon Stewart, Natural England, 2513/09.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether fencing of open moorland in the Peak District National Park and similar areas in England is supported by funding from the common agricultural policy or other government or public sources. [HL2247]

The costs of fencing of open moorland in the Peak District National Park are supported under agri-environment agreements such as environmental stewardship and the environmentally sensitive areas scheme. These are funded through Natural England by European common agricultural policy monies supported by matched funding from the UK Government.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they or Natural England encourage the fencing of open moorland for conservation, farming (including under cross-compliance requirements of single farm payments) or other land management; and what impact such fences have on the provisions of access to open country under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 and other legislation, and on the landscape objectives of national parks. [HL2248]

In some circumstances Natural England does support fencing of open moorland, where this is regarded as essential to meet nature conservation or land management objectives. Where this is the case, Natural England promotes prior consultation with stakeholders, and actively considers how impacts on the landscape and on access can be minimised.

The public access provisions in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 do not prevent the erection of fences on or around moorland or any other type of open country. Natural England would expect the access authority and the occupier to work together to ensure that suitable crossing points are included at appropriate locations along any new fences—and that where the requirement is temporary, arrangements are put in place for removal of the fencing once it has served its purpose.

In the case of open moorland which is registered common land, approval is normally required from the Secretary of State prior to the erection of any new fences.