Dartmoor independent review: NFU South response

Environment and climate
A view across Dartmoor from Haytor

A view across Dartmoor from Haytor

The NFU South has responded to the report of the independent review of protected site management on Dartmoor, which was published this week.

The review was commissioned by the Government in the summer following opposition from farmers to plans from Natural England that would have seen livestock numbers on the moor greatly reduced.

It was chaired by David Fursdon and gathered evidence from a range of stakeholders on Dartmoor.

Following a detailed and substantive consultation with members the NFU provided a written response, and members and staff were interviewed by the panel.

Review recommendations

The review set out several recommendations for the future management of the moor, including:

  • Better governance and a shared vision that fully supports Dartmoor’s commoners and stakeholders, which can be achieved through the development of a Land Use Management Group.
  • Better protected site management that is clear and easy to understand, with results of site monitoring being more transparent.
  • Public funding to support land use, ecology and biodiversity on Dartmoor.
  • Flexible, innovative and achievable environmental schemes that benefit nature.
  • Improved communication between all parties.
  • Continued grazing of livestock for conservation grazing and vegetation management, cultural heritage, and biodiversity.
  • Extensions to HLS agreements to allow time for discussions to explore future options.

Catalyst for change

NFU Devon chair Paul Glanvill said: “We are pleased to see that the review recognises the important role commoning and pastoralism has on Dartmoor.

“The NFU understands the review must be the catalyst for positive, meaningful change. We recognise the recommendations that evolution of Dartmoor’s vision, governance, and management needs to involve commoners, Defra and Natural England, and a wide range of other key stakeholders.

“We await the Government’s response to the review and feel confident that the report fairly highlights the actions needed on Dartmoor. We will continue to work closely with our members on any developments, particularly the Land Use Management Group.”

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