A setback – permission refused

Photo: Sarah Hanson

We heard yesterday, Friday, afternoon that we have been refused permission for judicial review of the much criticised and frankly grossly inadequate regulations brought in by DEFRA to limit vegetation burning on peatland soils in the uplands of England. This is disappointing but we remain of the view that the case is arguable and the reasoning behind it is correct. We shall be conferring with our lawyers on this matter later this week.

Wild Justice believes that the DEFRA measures are inadequate; they do not protect all peatland areas, only those with peat above a certain depth and which are notified as SSSIs and designated as SPAs and/or SACs. It is accepted by all that this protection amounts to less than half of the area of upland peat that could have been protected with better, tighter, more appropriate, wording. The Hon Justice Dove has decided that we cannot go to court to argue these points and states that DEFRA has considerable latitude in framing such regulations. We wonder how little DEFRA could do and get away with it. We shall consider an appeal.

In the run up to the COP26 meeting, the Westminster government is allowing damaging climate-harming activities in the English uplands. It is not taking the steps that are needed, even easy ones like limiting burning of vegetation (usually for the largely irrelevant hobby of grouse shooting), when it is hosting a hugely important international climate change meeting.

In this case, so far, the law has not come to the aid of the environment.

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