Yet More Greed and Wanton Habitat Destruction in Talysarn, Gwynedd, North Wales
- A Poisonous Practice of Ignorance For Ever More Land, Sheep and CAP Payments...
Easting = 248288
Northing = 352867
Grid Ref = SH48285286
National Grid Field No = SH 4852 2886
Latitude = 53°3'4.31"N
Longitude = 4°15'49.32"W
Latitude = 53°3.0718'"N
Longitude = 4°15.8219'"W
Latitude = 53.051196
Longitude = -4.263699
Postcode = LL54 6HG
...this time a landowner 'farmer' and a 'farmer', both local, who together undertook to spray a wildlife-rich area of wet fenland and permanent grassland (which I witnessed), complete with numerous open drainage channels and a river (which is known and confirmed to contain otters, - a protected and endangered species), 40 days before they are allowed to under law (30th June) and without any heed whatsoever to the drainage channels, before mowing the area flat (including the skylarks, also protected, which were raising young fledglings amongst the dead marsh grass), ploughing it, and then running a roller over it for no other purpose than to create a flattened wasteland of mud for sheep and abusing CAP payments.
To date this destruction comprises of the events listed below, the land currently being grazed by sheep (in between very large lakes of water every time it rains, most of which never drains away), and drainage channels which are now serving more as muddy obstacles for the sheep than draininge channels:
|21st May 2018:
||field areas sprayed with herbicide (40 days before the earliest allowed date as set by law)
|27th - 28th June 2018:
||field areas mown, - yellow/green tractor
|29th June 2018:
||baling / boundary, border, and buffer zone areas mown flat and deliberately destroyed
|6th August 2018:
||major trimming of boundary hedgerows and copse areas¹
|10th August 2018:
||field areas ploughed and harrowed
|18th August 2018:
||further mechanized groundwork
|29th - 30th August 2018:
||area rolled, levelled, and compacted with a tractor-towed roller
|4th September 2018:
||area spread with fertilizer or similar, and seeded with a brassica / grass mix for sheep
|5th September 2018:
||further levelling and compacting with a tractor-towed roller
|5th September 2018:
||additional updates submitted to, and from, Rural Payments Wales, the Environmental Protection Agency, Natural Wales, and the Heddlu further to the original complaint
||raptor persecution and the illegal baiting and hunting of wildlife with dogs
During the period from August through to September, under the guise of ploughing and rolling, several tons of crushed aggregate were also buried in the ground in order to eradicate the wetland structure of the ground and to firm it up for sheep grazing. In the process several of the original drainage channels (which were likely put in place by Dŵr Cymru during the laying of a waste water pipe across the floodplain several decades ago) were, likewise, removed, infilled with crushed stone and earth, and compacted or so badly damaged that they no longer serve any purpose.²
This has not only completely destroyed a valuable wetland habitat, making it all but impossible to restore in the process, but has also turned a natural soakaway into a compacted mass of stone and clotted earth that will ultimately become absolutely worthless and serve no purpose beyond causing massive surface erosion and a great deal of debris run-off into the river (which is already silting up and flooding partly as a direct consequence of their addled approach to land management). The farm responsible for the destruction of this land and (interestingly enough) the address of the landowner too (for the receipt of CAP payments, at least) is back from the field in question, and located over the other side of the river, off the Tanyrallt road.
This incident was reported to the Heddlu (Cymreig
: Police - Peacekeepers), Rural Payments Wales, and the Environment Agency. The Heddlu showed an interest, but have effectively been emasculated by budget cuts, the EA (whilst doing their best to avoid having to investigate or take samples) did an excellent job of putting me in touch with Rural Payments Wales (who were very helpful and extremely slow to do precisely nothing to date), and Natural Resources Wales made it quite obvious that they do not ever
want the Heddlu investigating anything and that as far as they were concerned, reportable incident or no, the matter would have been quietly and quickly shut down but that they could not do that this time because of the Heddlu being involved (corruption, anyone? ...or just total apathy?).
An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) screening application should also have been submitted on this land (and never was) and breaching the regulations is both illegal and a potentially prosecutable offence, with a requirement to reinstate the land to its previous condition and/or a Cross Compliance penalty on the farmer's Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) or Rural Development Scheme payments ...evidently these regulations, set by llywodraeth Cymru (or the Welsh government) are not being enforced in Gwynedd; so no wonder the RPW and Natual Wales, or the commissioner themselves (based in Caernarfon, just 8 miles away) decided to quietly bury this matter in the hope that it does not return to bite them.
To Mr Jones and Mr Pritchard, 'Farmers' of the Destroyed Fenland, it is evident that you both place plenty of value in the environment:
...unfortunately, whereas most people value the environment as something to benefit us all, you only value it in a form that lines your pocket, so to speak.
- [ ¹ ] Cross-Compliance and Greening rules disallow the trimming and removal of brush, copse, and hedgerow between the 31st of March and the 31st August, but a derogation for situtations where the farmer is planting rape seed or temporary grass seed at the same time means that this work can be carried-out at any time in August (ie: up to a month earlier than would otherwise be allowed); although it should be noted that the farmer in this case trims and removes brush and hedgerow, in addition to trimming copses whenever they feel like throughout the year. It should also be noted that the major work was carried-out on the other side of the river: they had already cut-down, removed and/or trimmed any bush and copses around the destroyed fenland area several months previously.
- [ ² ] the self-same soakaway would also have been retained, originally, because it is (or was) the soakaway for a considerable amount of water that comes off the watershed leading up to a highway and housing on the hills above the B4418 side of the field; so the action of deliberately destroying it effectively constitutes a criminal act in the scope of its stupidity, not simply one of extreme ignorance where the environment is concerned.
- there is also the question of the legality of the work that was undertaken based on whether or not the area had been cultivated at any time within the last 15 years prior to the commencement of the work, or if it was a semi-natural grassland or another semi-natural area, in which case (in the case of Natural England) a screening decision (EIA) would have been required prior to it being worked on. Unsurprisingly, Natural Wales have declined to comment on this.
- further to the above, and in determining whether or not a project requires an EIA, Natural Wales have a key test that revolves around whether or not land contains less than 25% improved agricultural grass species and / or white clover. In the case of the destroyed fenland the answer was unequivocally yes but, again, Natural Wales have refused to acknowledge this.
Both Rural Payments Wales and Natural Wales, faced with the inevitable consequences of failing to maintain their own directives and duties of enforcement, would rather ignore the issue than admit responsibility and a need to deal with things accordingly.
this site is undergoing ongoing changes and amendments as further details and evidence is gathered and added to the site, so please feel free to use the contact details given at the foot of this page should you have any questions or should you wish to submit further details or evidence of your own; but please do not send attachments without first contacting me, as the attachments will simply be deleted by the mail server otherwise.
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- Just John, @: Ex5NY27U corequery.uk
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