Conservation aim

PUBLISHED: 07:10 13 July 2013

I would be grateful for the opportunity to add some context to the recent correspondence regarding the conservation management work at Lympstone Common.

Natural England’s specific interest relates to the condition of the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) which is a designation on Lympstone Common.

We also have a further interest as the Common is now covered by an Environmental Stewardship Scheme; with the landowner committed to the delivery of a 10-year Higher Level Stewardship agreement, which is administered by Natural England.

Enhancing the biodiversity of Devon’s special heathland; providing opportunities for visitors to enjoy these special areas; and involving the local communities and land owners in their management are priorities for all those involved in working towards securing a sustainable future for the East Devon Pebblebed Heaths, including Lympstone and Coombe Commons.

A group of interested parties including Natural England, the RSPB, the Clinton Devon Estate along with land owners, land managers and commons users have agreed a long-term management approach that should safeguard the commons for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.

Part of this active approach to the future management of the commons will involve the use of conservation grazing by livestock and the associated short-term need for some fresh fencing on site. A request to fence around the perimeter of the common has already been approved by the Secretary of State following local consultation. We fully understand that some individuals may regard this as an unwelcome change to a familiar landscape. We hope that they will be reconciled to the need for this work and reassured that the long term benefits will outweigh any shorter term inconvenience.

We would like to point out that Natural England supports the fencing proposals for the site only within the specific terms that were set out in the agreed plan. We take a dim view of unconsented work that may have an impact on any of England’s SSSIs; which does not accord with an agreed management plan; or may prevent access to open common land. We take our statutory duty very seriously and we will take any enforcement action that is necessary.

Anyone who has any queries or would like to know more about our work on the East Devon Pebblebed Heaths is very welcome to contact me by email at SWLM.SouthDevon@naturalengland.org.uk

Eamon Crowe, team leader

Natural England

Renslade House

Bonhay Road, Exeter

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