The Tenant Farmers Association has likened Natural England’s 2060 vision for the uplands to a Fairy Tale.
TFA Uplands spokesman Mike Keeble said “The authors of this report have clearly taken their inspiration more from Lewis Carroll than from the experiences of those who live and work in our upland communities. It is long on aspiration and short on the practicalities involved in being an active land manager in some of the harshest yet paradoxically most beautiful environments in our country”.
“I accept that the document is visionary but it takes little account of some of the major issues being faced in the uplands and how we get from where we are now to where Natural England thinks it wants us to be. Current Natural England policies are doing more to hinder than help this process. The cornerstone of our upland communities is ruminant livestock production and this is being undermined and eroded by ill thought out schemes which on the one hand do not understand the complexities involved in upland management, including the centuries old principle of common grazing rights and yet on the other use simplistic policy tools that promote de-stocking and as a consequence the significant encroachment of bracken,” said Mr Keeble.
“The English uplands have been one of the most studied, researched and examined aspects of our countryside. They have been eulogised over by poets, songwriters and composers. They have been the focus for a myriad of initiatives, schemes and policies. Despite all of this attention it is a sad indictment that we have as yet been unable to produce a sustainable uplands strategy for its long-term viability,” said Mr Keeble.
“We are however aware that another Government body, the Commission for Rural Communities, is nearing the end of its lengthy inquiry into the uplands. It has been out and about in upland areas taking evidence from many people both living and working in upland areas. It can only be hoped that its report will speak more directly into the practical concerns and provide a more realistic vision for the way ahead,” said Mr Keeble.
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