We are delighted that a proposal for fencing across splendid moorland in the North York Moors National Park has been rejected.
Planning inspector Martin Elliott has refused consent to the Manor of Fyling Court Leat, to erect over five kilometres of fencing on Fylingdales Moor.
The applicant wanted to graze livestock there, but was deterred from doing so because the common is open to the A171 road. Because the fencing would be on common land, it needed the consent of the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs under section 38 of the Commons Act 2006.
We objected because the fencing would damage the natural beauty of the moor and interfere with people’s rights to walk there. There was also a risk that it would restrict access to a public bridleway and two public footpaths across the common.
Natural England and the North York Moors National Park Authority had also expressed concern, the park authority saying that ‘the unfenced nature of the moorland in the North York Moors is one of the national park’s special qualities and part of the area’s distinctive character’.
The inspector concluded that ‘the fencing will have a significant adverse effect on public rights of access and the landscape’. The benefits arising from the fencing did not in his view outweigh the disbenefits.
We are relieved that the inspector agreed with us that this fencing would damage the landscape and people’s rights to enjoy it.
This is the seventieth anniversary year of the act of parliament which created national parks, the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949, and our national parks, such as the North York Moors, need protection now more than ever. The open commons are important features of many of the national parks, and we are delighted that the magnificent Fylingdales Moor will not be encumbered by fencing.