Natural England knows best?

Location
Devon
The way I read it, rather than stop ploughing whilst he challenged the stop notice, he chose to ignore it and carry on.
The court case is nothing to do with whether it is right or wrong to plough the land, its the fact that none of us can disregard properly served legal documents.
I now see why he was defending himself in court rather than using a qualified lawyer, any lawyer would have told him his case was hopeless and to plead guilty at the earliest opportunity.
Indeed;

"A farmer has admitted breaking an order not to plough or graze animals on protected land which had been designated for conservation by Natural England.

Andrew Cooper pleaded guilty at Exeter Crown Court after a judge ruled that he was not able to challenge the legality of the order which prevented him using fields at his North Devon farm in this way."


But the previous hearing report said;

"The charge alleges that he grazed a fodder field; ploughed all or part of a field; rolled and planted all or part of a field, and used lime or other substances."

"The stop order was issued by Natural England to protect what they classified as 'uncultivated, semi-natural areas'.


This is consistent with ajcc's comments about the case and how NE were trying to enforce conditions of a lapsed agreement.

NE have completely changed their story because ajcc could easily show that the areas were cultivated. They do not have to defend their actions and it is not possible to make them justify their stop order which they couldn't do.

If you received a stop order randomly telling you that you could no longer use a part of your farm and there was no mechanism to appeal, what would you do?
 
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Any and all comment and discussion is most welcome. Natural England and their legal people are aware of this thread, I personally have been warned by HHJ Johnston (the judge) about a certain level of active participation but the only way the issues will be aired is if they are talked about. Please talk about it especially @Jackov Altraids you currently have a very astute understanding of the issues.
 
I think the nub of the matter is, these non departmental government bodies can instigate systems and rules where they are their own referee (or to use another analogy, they mark their own homework). What system is in place to challenge the issuing of a stop notice? And who independently arbitrates on whether land is designated for conservation?
 

GeorgeK

Member
Location
Leicestershire
So if NE can exaggerate historical features and ignore past cultivations I guess anyone direct drilling for long enough could be risking a stop notice if they try and cultivate? Seems like ideally fields should be ripped up every year to avoid problems.
 

Andy26

Moderator
Location
Northants
Indeed;


If you received a stop order randomly telling you that you could no longer use a part of your farm and there was no mechanism to appeal, what would you do?
I guess you have to do an EIA, of which you know the result as NE are judge and jury on that, in which case you appeal to the secretary of state as was the case with the Lincolnshire farmers recently. IIRC in their case the Secretary of State ruled that as the fields in question had all been physically cultivated before, their was not likely to be any significant further harm, as they had been ploughed for decades previously and were allowed to resume cultivating and farming the land.
 

Andy26

Moderator
Location
Northants
So if NE can exaggerate historical features and ignore past cultivations I guess anyone direct drilling for long enough could be risking a stop notice if they try and cultivate? Seems like ideally fields should be ripped up every year to avoid problems.
Excactly, there is a suggestion that land that is 'semi-natural' because of historic features, the moment you plant grass or put into stewardship, will require an EIA before you can establish another crop, put Fert on or spray etc.
 

teslacoils

Member
Location
Lincolnshire
The concern is that this type of "changing the rules" could have implications for anyone going in to a 5yr elms scheme who then wants to revert IE put arable into a scheme to recreate a semi-wild grassland, who after the agreement ends wishes to farm the land as it prior was.

Many of us will be saddled with "useless" small shelter belts and woodlands from the fwps scheme that encouraged planting in the 90s; stopped paying c2005; yet were now stuck with woods that we can do nothing useful with.
 

holwellcourtfarm

Member
Livestock Farmer
I guess you have to do an EIA, of which you know the result as NE are judge and jury on that, in which case you appeal to the secretary of state as was the case with the Lincolnshire farmers recently. IIRC in their case the Secretary of State ruled that as the fields in question had all been physically cultivated before, their was not likely to be any significant further harm, as they had been ploughed for decades previously and were allowed to resume cultivating and farming the land.
That set a precedent and yet every farmer caught in exactly the same situation will have to go through the exact same protracted process to get free of the restriction that was imposed by the back door.

That just doesn't feel right.

And they want us to trust them!
 
Came across a very telling quote very relevant to this present EIA fiasco. Borrowed from the autobiography of Frederick Forsyth (The Outsider)

“It is said that if a tigress sees her cubs endangered she will fight with deranged passion to defend them. But her dedication pales into submission compared with the fury with which senior civil servants will defend the fiction that they cannot have made a mistake.”

Natural England knows best.
 
So on the issue of legality, the case was focused on the breaching of a stop order as opposed to the nature of the order itself and if it was in fact valid.

I have known people who are ended up in wranglings with various organs of officialdom and they tend to stick together like the proverbial and defend each other so I would not have expected a favourable outcome from a court.

As others have also alluded to the institutional mindset or ethos of these environmental bodies concerns me and anyone considering entering into long term agreements with them needs to take heed of this thread for it may mean in effect you will face tight restrictions on how an area of land may be used in future even once any such agreement has ended.
 

renewablejohn

Member
Location
lancs
Came across a very telling quote very relevant to this present EIA fiasco. Borrowed from the autobiography of Frederick Forsyth (The Outsider)

“It is said that if a tigress sees her cubs endangered she will fight with deranged passion to defend them. But her dedication pales into submission compared with the fury with which senior civil servants will defend the fiction that they cannot have made a mistake.”

Natural England knows best.
Very true.

I wish I could say more but the case is still ongoing.
 
This thread and the ongoing issues/implications for land managers it raises seems to be unsettling some person or persons unknown....or maybe cost benefit analysis of public funds in these austere times?
I’m sure every taxpayer would agree that over a third of a million pounds and counting is a lot of anyone’s budget to blow. Natural England knows best?
(Ps. I’m being leaned on)
 
This thread and the ongoing issues/implications for land managers it raises seems to be unsettling some person or persons unknown....or maybe cost benefit analysis of public funds in these austere times?
I’m sure every taxpayer would agree that over a third of a million pounds and counting is a lot of anyone’s budget to blow. Natural England knows best?
(Ps. I’m being leaned on)
Too vague.. ;)

What makes you think "persons or persons" might be unsettled though... I haven't seen any signs from DEFRA or NE yet?

I consider your experiences and also other reported issues with NE and other similiar bodies, will make many of us give serious consideration as to any new Agreements. I know I am not alone in deciding not to go through with a renewed and/or new Agreement with NE.
 
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AGCO reports sales increase of 43.5% compared to 2020 figures

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Written by Agriland Team from Agriland

The tractor manufacturer AGCO, which consists of brands such as Challenger, Fendt, GSI, Massey Ferguson and Valtra, reported its results for the second quarter ending June 30, 2021.

Net sales for the second quarter were approximately $2.9 billion, an increase of approximately 43.5% compared to the second quarter of 2020.

AEM

Reported net income was $3.73/share for the second quarter of 2021, and adjusted...
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