We've had lots of posts about burning moors and shooting and we are always having posts about parking charges in National parks. Personally I think the damaging management of massive tracts of moors for such a tiny percentage of the population is unacceptable but understand that it generates a lot of income. I think its time that mass recreation funds the sustainable management of the uplands. Our moors, The West pennines, are surrounded by large urban populations. If we are unhappy with the current state of these habitats then we should be prepared to replace the current funding streams with ones more palatable.
The land isn't providing any revenue now, just bare minimal employment. It doesn't need an alternate source of funding. With a change of use away from grouse and sheep, it could easily provide more employment, more varied recreational activities and in turn generate more revenue/tax for the treasury. It would add to species diversity and trap more carbon.
The only loss is the so called iconic view of barren open falls which many hold dear to their hearts.
> If we are unhappy with the current state of these habitats then we should be prepared to replace the current funding streams with ones more palatable.
There isn't actually any reason for the taxpayer to look after the interests of landowners by giving them a new funding stream. They wouldn't do it for other types of business.
Charge them business rates, stop giving them subsidies, strengthen the access laws, close any loopholes on inheritance tax and wait. Charities or local councils can pick up the land when they start going bust.
I look forward to your appearance at the next BMC area meeting and you suggesting that we pay £5 to walk up Winter Hill. Could be even more exciting than the Great Lester Mill debate. Would you prefer to be burnt or lynched?
People who make their living in the outdoors should maybe pay in some way. They're effectively getting their workplace for free. I mean Climbing instructors and like. They are some of the people who actively encourage more people to the outdoors.
> That's the spirit! Those big races that charge a fortune for starters
That's a salient point actually - a huge proportion of adventure races/ultras/off road-tris etc in England and Wales only work on the basis that footpaths and PROWs can be used without the permission of the landowner... If that loophole was closed it would shut down a lot of races (possibly not a bad thing given the collection of abandoned race markers I have in the office)
Taking the Pennine moors as an example, as landscape and places to recreate, they will only generate a certain amount of potential income since I suspects only a relatively small percentage of visitors will want to experience actual moorland as opposed to more easily accessible countryside and places. You could increase the recreation quotient of the moors up to a point but I don't think it wold look that much different to current levels.
The whole current protection and management system needs to be reassessed in terms of what we are trying to preserve/value, The effects of climate change are beginning to make a nonsense out of our current fixed protected areas (and perhaps the rationale behind them) but pretending that grouse industry is a credible conservation management agency is transparently specious.
I think that increasing the diversity of the moors, the west pennines particularly, would increase not only the recreational potential but actual usage. Introducing features like bogs tarns and natural woodlands would alleviate some of the monotony of vast tracts of tussock grass and attract wildlife and visitors. And it would be a start!