The Dartmoor Commonersí Council (Council) is aware of the situation involving many of the Dartmoor commons that are due to be offered a HLS roll over in 2023.
We are also aware of the concerns and the worry and pressure implications of the proposed significant reduction in stocking levels and the impact on the farms, the commons but also the mental well-being of the farming community.
Council was led to believe that the initial proposal from Natural England was for minor adjustments, not the draconian changes that have been suggested will take place over the next five years. We are concerned that these cuts will lead to the widespread breakdown of commonerís historic culture of hefted and leared livestock across inhospitable terrain.
Council will continue to work with other organisations to try and achieve acceptable stocking regimes for those commons both in and out of agreement. To help us achieve this, we would be grateful if you could let the office know if and when you are contacted by Natural England with suggestions of stocking rates and changes that may be made to your agreement.
The Dartmoor Commonersí Council has written to all the local MP's and been in contact with Mr D Slater (Natural England Regional Director for the South West) expressing our grave concerns and dissatisfaction. We have invited Mr Slater to attend the next council meeting and are awaiting a reply.
A list of questions have been sent to Natural England following consultation with Council Members and we have requested answers to these by the end of the month.
Council is awaiting formal replies, but we understand that the issue has been raised at a National Level and other organisations are now involved.
Dartmoor Commoners' Council, 1 Canal Road, Tavistock, Devon, PL19 8AR Tel: 01822 618892