Burning bogs – we have appealed
We told you last week that we had been refused permission for judicial review of the DEFRA regulations on burning on peatlands. Today we can tell you that we have appealed this judgment – it’s actually called a renewal. It’s quite a short document, see below, and basically says that the judge got it wrong and can another judge have another think about it please.
At the foot of the renewal is the short phrase ‘…the claimant will, by 29 October 2021, serve notice of objection as to the Interested parties’ costs‘. We are not arguing that we should pay lower costs, we are quite happy to pay the £10k that the process demands under the Aarhus Convention for an environmental case. In such cases, costs are capped, it’s a very sensible system to allow proper challenge of the decisions of statutory bodies where the claimant is acting for the public good and will make no personal gain from the case. We are objecting because we think that the Interested Parties (BASC, Countryside Alliance, National Gamekeepers’ Organisation and the Moorland Association) 1) added nothing to the legal argument 2) want to give the money away anyway and 3) we would much rather the taxpayer were reimbursed when we lose. Basically, the Interested Parties butted in and are now collaring some of DEFRA’s cost entitlement (in our view).
The statement by the Interested Parties is classic grandstanding. It cannot possibly be maintained that our legal challenge sought to disrupt the DEFRA regulations – it seeks to improve them because, as DEFRA themselves said when they were introduced;
There is a consensus that burning of vegetation on blanket bog is damaging to peatland formation and habitat condition. It makes it more difficult or impossible to restore these habitats to their natural state and to restore their hydrology.https://www.gov.uk/government/news/englands-national-rainforests-to-be-protected-by-new-rules
We do not think that the Interested Parties are part of the consensus to which DEFRA referred whereas Wild Justice clearly is.
DEFRA, despte its word, did not go anywhere far enough and left more than half of the relevant area unprotected. Pointing that out is not ‘disrupting’ the regulations, it is attempting to ‘make them fit for purpose’ (see here and here).
The Interested Parties in this case are vested interested parties outside of the consensus of the need for habitat protection and climate protection. they are, look at them, a bunch of recreational shooters who are defending a worthless hobby which involves shooting birds for fun, and causing environmental damage as a consequence.
We wonder why DEFRA came up with such bizarrely worded and ineffective regulations – perhaps they were influenced by the Interested Parties. Let’s be clear, we believe that the Interested Parties want burning on peatlands and on protected blanket bogs to continue as much as possible for as long as possible. That’s what they are interested in.