Chief Executive, Natural England
4th Floor, Foss House
1–2 Peaseholme Green
York YO1 7PX
27 May 2015
Dear Mr Cross,
Ponies on Dartmoor and grazing calendars for agri-environmental schemes.
The Dartmoor Society is an independent charity with broadly educational aims, striving to improve the quality of decision-making on Dartmoor. We have approximately 450 members.
We have been very concerned to learn that a representative of Natural England has stated recently in forum-style meetings on Dartmoor that ‘there is no evidence that ponies are critical to Dartmoor’s biodiversity’ (see letter by Joss Hibbs in Western Morning News 25 May 2015). Moreover, we have learnt that there is a real possibility that ponies will be removed from the Natural England stipulations for grazing calendars on Dartmoor.
We are the only body to have held a public debate on the future of ponies on Dartmoor (in October 2013) and to have held a public research lecture highlighting new findings on the behaviour of ponies (in November 2014).
We therefore hope you can reassure us that ponies will be given proper recognition by Natural England as essential for the future of both Dartmoor’s ecology and culture, and that Natural England will themselves conduct research by properly qualified ecologists to establish the role ponies play in managing Dartmoor’s vegetation.
We would always be pleased to join in discussion with Natural England about the future of Dartmoor.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Tom Greeves MA PhD
Chairman, The Dartmoor Society
Dartmoor Society members are most welcome to write to James Cross using the York address if they wish to voice any thoughts they may have themselves on this controversial subject.
We would also be very grateful if you would please consider signing a petition which is gathering momentum and we trust will seriously influence the powers at be if we can get enough support. Please just click the link below and follow the instructions – many thanks.