Blacka Moor – Who decides? The lost opportunities, Sheffield 27 June 2013

This presentation was part of a workshop on the contested management of the publicly-owned moors on the Eastern edge of the Peak District near Sheffield, in particular Blacka Moor. The presentation looks at the lost opportunities during 1990s and 2000s that may have prevented nature conservation and its funding from becoming a rigid orthodoxy, divorced from the public, and increasingly carried out on public land by NGOs and private companies. Publicly owned land in National Parks could have played a significant role through a public will and ability to forgo commercial exploitation, in realising some of these opportunities:
1. National Parks Review Panel proposal from 1991 of experimental schemes where farming was withdrawn, allowing the natural succession of vegetation to take its course;
2. Natural Areas Programme of English Nature in the 90s that sought out areas with similar types of wildlife and natural features and, through engagement with local people, identified its distinctive features and agreed long term visionary objectives;
3. Wild by Design in the National Parks of England and Wales from 1997 that explored the potential for creation of wilder areas in the national parks, and argued for a commitment to leave minimal intervention areas on a large scale and over long time periods;
4. Vital uplands, Natural England’s vision for the upland environment in 2060, developed in 2009 through stakeholder processes, and with ambitions for “closer to nature” grazing systems and more woodland.