Monday, 27 January 2014

Events for Natural England

As part of Natural England's Upland Delivery Review, I have been asked to run four events, from Northumberland to Dartmoor, during March 2014.

The events will follow a talk & walk format that will include a scene-setting, indoor session followed by a visit to an area of moorland to discuss the issues in a practical setting.  The aim will be to give people a chance to hear about the thoughts emerging from the review and to provide Natural England with some feedback about the changes that are proposed in their dealings with upland stakeholders.

I am delighted to be doing this, and I will be bringing some independent, Heather Trust thinking to the events to make sure that there is a lively debate around all the issues.  The first events will be starting in March and attendance will be by invitation, but by all means let me know if you would like to be involved.

Links to Chartered Surveyors

I have been trying to establish better links to the firms of surveyors who act for many of the Trust's members. After all I am a chartered surveyor, and I would like to think that I can communicate in terms that would be of interest to my professional colleagues.

Some firms have HT members within their ranks but I suspect that many are not aware of our activities. I believe there is scope for mutual benefit from them knowing more about the Trust's activities and I have offered briefings to staff about the relevant work we are involved with and the hope is that these firms may be able to reciprocate by spreading the word about the Trust to their clients.

If this type of exchange of information would be of any interest to anyone stumbling across this blog, please let me know, by adding a comment to this post.

Scotland's Moorland Forum - action in Jan 2014

I have been active on behalf of Scotland's Moorland Forum in the first few weeks of 2014, and highlights of this activity have been recorded on the Forum's blog.

Activity includes the review of the Muirburn Code, a report for Forest Enterprise, and a meeting with Bob McIntosh, Director Environment & Forestry for the Scottish Government.

Defra Upland Stakeholder Forum

I attended a meeting of the Defra Upland Stakeholder Forum (USF) in London, on 9 January.  This was the last meeting under the current Chairman, Robin Mortimer, who established this Forum; he is leaving Defra and it remains to be seen what direction the Forum will take under his successor.

In the 18 months since its formation, the main role of the USF has been to provide input into the Upland Delivery Review carried out by Natural England.  This has been a bureaucratic process but the end is in sight, and hopefully the USF has helped Natural England deliver some notable improvements to the way they operate with 'stakeholders'.

The proof of the pudding will be in the eating, and the Trust is running four 'stakeholder engagement events' in different part of the English Uplands to test the emerging ideas in practical settings.  I will provide an update separately as this work progresses.

A start to 2014 and the Country Market & Sporting Sale

The year started slowly, as might be predicted, but this should not fool anyone. There is a lot to organise ahead of what I expect to be a busy year for the Trust on all fronts and every moment is precious if 2014 is not to get away from us.

Country Market & Sporting Sale

Our first priority from the start of the year has been, and continues to be, working up the 2014 Country Market & Sporting Sale, and this year, as ever, we are introducing some refinements.  We have found a key Lot that will be linked to a prize draw and we will be announcing details about this soon.  We will promote the Lot as part of our PR coverage for the Sale and in doing so hopefully attract some new bidders and bring some benefit to the donor's business.

We are always open for new offers of Lots, large or small, traditional or original.  We are only limited by your imagination!  The Sale website will go live on Thursday, 17 april and it will close at 12 noon on Friday, 2 May.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Land Use Strategy - Scottish Borders Pilot

There are two pilots to test the application of the Land Use Strategy and these are taking place in the Scottish Borders and in Aberdeenshire. The Moorland Forum is keeping in touch with both of them.  for details of a series of public meetings that are  being organised in January and February, see the Scottish Moorland Forum's blog.