Stand up for Stanage

Posted by Carey Davies on 29/08/2013
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The BMC is calling on climbers, walkers and everybody with a love for Stanage Edge, Derbyshire, to sign a petition to help safeguard its future.

UPDATE: On 20 September 2013, The Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA) decided to retain ownership and management of Stanage Edge and the North Lees Estate. Read more here.  The BMC will be encouraging the PDNPA to manage the North Lees Estate in line with the principles set out in our charter below which has been signed by over 13,000 people.  Thank you to everyone who has signed our petition
 
 
Stanage is the most popular crag in Britain – maybe in the world – and a classic walking destination for millions of people who visit the Peak District every year.  But decisions are being made that could change it significantly – and we need your help to state our case.
 
Right now, the Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA) is deciding the future of the North Lees Estate, which contains a large proportion of Stanage Edge and the surrounding moorland.  The PDNPA is short of money and wants to generate more income from North Lees.  We are concerned that could become its priority, over and above conservation and freedom of access.
 
Stanage was all but given to the PDNPA in the early 1970s by General Sir Hugh Beach on the understanding the estate would always be somewhere everyone could enjoy quiet recreation.  We fear such freedoms could be threatened if the PDNPA tries to develop the estate’s commercial potential – an estate acquired with public money for public benefit.
 
We're asking people to Stand up for Stanage by signing our petition calling on the PDNPA to acknowledge and accept our Stanage Charter (below).
 
There has been no recent public consultation on the future of this public land, yet the PDNPA seems set to make far reaching decisions without having set out a sustainable vision for this iconic landscape.  The nearby Eastern Moors Partnership is an excellent template for involving the public and setting out a plan for the future.  The PDNPA is missing the opportunity to use it.
 
So the BMC is offering its own charter for the future management of Stanage – whoever owns it.  We are asking you to sign up to it so we can make the voices of all who care about Stanage heard by National Park Authority.
 
The nine points of the Stanage Charter are:
  • This publicly-owned estate must be retained forever for everyone.  It should never be fragmented.
     
  • North Lees Estate is on Open Access Land.  Any commercial enterprise must not impede the spirit of access for all.
     
  • Key stakeholders – recreational users and the local community – must be consulted before decisions are made.  There must be transparency in decision-making.
     
  • Caring for conservation, wildlife and landscape is paramount.  There need be no conflict between this, adventure activity and quiet enjoyment.
     
  • People value Stanage as a wild area kept free from intrusive developments.  This must be safeguarded.
     
  • The cultural and archaeological heritage of Stanage must be preserved.
     
  • Any revenue raised from the estate should be reinvested in the landscape.
     
  • Shooting rights should not be exercised.
     
  • The local economy relies on preservation of these values and open access.
 

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1) Anonymous User
29/08/2013
The above article doesn't really say what exactly you are so worried about... Maybe you could include what they actually might do with the land so we can see the problem with it? Surely they won't be allowed to develop it? What possible projects might enable them to make money from it?
2) Anonymous User
29/08/2013
They could decide to sell off parts of the estate to private companies would be one bad outcome.
3) Anonymous
29/08/2013
This comment broke the house rules and has been removed
4) Anonymous User
29/08/2013
This nine point chater doesn't actually say anything about access. Surely that should be at the top of the list? Simply saying its Open Access Land may not be enough, it needs to be explicit about protecting public access for all time...
5) Anonymous
29/08/2013
This comment broke the house rules and has been removed
6) Anonymous User
29/08/2013
Sporting rights (i.e. grouse and deer shooting) need to be defended against, it sounds like a minor thing but it will cause huge access issues. People need to understand the relevance of this point and fight against it. The sporting community has powerful lobby body under the guise of BASC, don't let them prevail
7) Anonymous User
29/08/2013
To qualify post below, Grouse shooting rights are worth £3-5 an acre a year and deer £1-3 per year independent of each other
8) Anonymous User
30/08/2013
I agree with the nine points ..
Why are Company profit always put before nature
30/08/2013
As I first read this article and the proposed 'Stanage Charter' I was pleased that there was going to be an effort to protect this iconic area of the Peak District but as I read the charter and saw the point that *Shooting rights should not be excercised I was very disapointed.
I am deeply concerned that one intrest group among popular outdoor activities should include in their agenda the restriction of another outdoor activity. To my mind there is no reason that shooting (and fieldsports in general) and climbing, walking and mountaineering should not coexist amicably and support each other. Shooting and game management activities taking place would not automaticaly mean that access to stanage was restricted.
AFTER ALL WE ALL WANT TO SPEND TIME OUTDOORS; whether you want to carry a gun or a climbing harness is largley irrelevant.
10) Catherine Flitcroft (staff comment)
30/08/2013
It has been a matter of general policy that the National Park hasn’t allowed shooting to take place on the Estate (this is also the case on the Roaches and the Eastern Moors) but importantly, Stanage is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) because of its assemblage of ground nesting birds. If shooting were to take place on the Estate, there would be a number of difficult management and access issues. The BMC wish to retain the character of the area and this wouldn’t be possible with the introduction of shooting rights.
30/08/2013
I'm not sure that I can agree that it would be impossible to 'retain the character' of Stanage Edge if shoting rights were to be excercised, I'd be interested to hear how you imagine the character might change?
And with regard to the satus of the area as an SSSI and the presence of ground nesting birds if anything the management activities which support game shooting also benefit other species and improve biodiversity.
The fact that there may be 'difficult management and access issues' should not be a reason to ask for the restriction of shooting rights, there should still be room for the two interests to be persued side by side.
I'm not saying neccesarily that shooting should take place on the estate but purely that as a person with an interest in walking and climbing as well as shooting I struggle with the concept that one interest group would want to restrict the activities of another because it would present less 'difficult management and access issues' I really think it's tme for a much closer working relationship between the fieldsports and outdoor activities communities and a much more modern attitude from both parties.
12) Anonymous User
30/08/2013
how about reclassifying the path along the Edge to allow mountain bikes too?
13) Anonymous User
30/08/2013
As somebody who both climbs and stalks deer I would strongly argue that field sports and outdoor pursuits are mutually exclusive. Stalking deer can only be legally done using a full bore rifle and the two most common calibres are .243 and .308 which are the two NATO calibres. You cannot shoot sensibly in an area where the public are present, it would be a major safety issue and you would have to provide open and closed seasons for to support both sports. Interestingly, the deer stalking community is largely "average" people and so they are much less aggressive about their right to the land. However if somebody "pays to use" land, by default and generates a culture of a "right to use"

Grouse shooting is a different issue all together, this sporting community have an aggressive mentality that prevails in a way that would see them wishing to exclude everybody else from the land. You have to consider what is at stake for the shoot owner/provider. Each gun pays £1500-2500 for a days shooting, the birds have to be raised and released and so for a shoot day to be disturbed by the "riff raff" would be a disaster. Even worse, the Grouse season starts on the 12th August which is still the summer season for climber. At least the pheasant season starts in October.

As a mentioned in a previous post BASC are very well plugged in government both left and right have a strong lobbying position and so I still believe extending sport rights to North Lees estate would have a negative impact on outdoor pursuits.
30/08/2013
I think some sensible safety issues have been raised in the above post but I still think these issues are relatively simple to overcome. There are very few places without some public access and a responsible stalker will not proceed with any shooting if there is anything or anyone present that might present a safety risk. Every Scottish estate has major access issues, the Swedish countryside is open to everyone to enjoy hunting, fishing and outdoor activities, and there are similar arrangements throughout Europe, North America and New Zealand. Field Sports and Outdoor Activities are not mutually excusive.

Again let me reiterate, I'm not saying that large scale commercial shooting should deffinately be allowed on North Lees Estate I'm more worried that there seems to be this prevailing opinion that fieldsports and outdoor activities are not compatible and that one can only take place at the expense of another.

And with all due respect .243 is not a NATO calibre and nowhere in the British Isles are grouse reared and released to support shooting activities.
30/08/2013
Just to clariffy my comment above; yes red grouse are shot in the UK, but they are not reared in captivity and then released to boost wild population like pheasants and partridges are in lowland areas. Where red grouse are shot they are wild and there is only a shootable surplus to the population because of careful management by gamekeepers.
16) Anonymous User
30/08/2013
eh? I don't get it, what are the BMC on about? NP are hardly going to sell the land without at least a 100 year clause on it which will safeguard the areas, cultural and environmental significance. It's not exactly in there interests to do so otherwise. Anyway no landowner in there right mind will be buying the land for a grouse shooting estate, it would be a total ball ache and fat chance of rearing any birds with the amount of numbties that go to Stanage. However, even if they did they can only close open access land for 28 days a year which would give the place some long deserved rest bite. I think its a great thing its getting sold at least whoever buys it (i.e probably the National Trust) will have some money to throw at it.
17) Anonymous
30/08/2013
This comment broke the house rules and has been removed
18) Anonymous User
02/09/2013
Really interesting points posted here, and in many ways the discussion reiterates what the BMC are initially trying to do with this charter: To allow each stakeholders to be consulted when important decisions are being made regarding the site. The points made above reinforce that this dialogue needs to take place.
19) Anonymous User
04/09/2013
The preamble to this call for signatures implies that the PDNP has not bothered to consult on their plans for the North Lees estate (whatever they might be - it's not specified); but equally the BMC have not, as far as I know, consulted their membership on this "charter". It reminds me of the BMC's recent assertion that UK climbers want to see climbing in the olympics. Having said that I do totally agree that we (the walking/climbing community) need to be assertively proactive in protecting the places we love.
20) Anonymous User
04/09/2013
The most popular crag "in the world"?? Come on, don't be so Breeetish!!!
Antonio, Italy
05/09/2013
As a lover of climbing at Stanage its great that the BMC have picked up this issue and are trying to safeguard my access. Unfortunately I cant sign the charter as it goes wider than just access issues as it tries to address Wildlife, Culture, Archeology, Shooting Rights and Investment Policies with the zeal of words such as Must (5 times), Paramount and Forever. Commercial realities need to be faced and change needs to be embraced otherwise we stagnate and wither. I could happily support much of the intent of this charter but not I'm afraid in its current form
22) Anonymous User
05/09/2013
Surely before jumping to conclusions more information is needed about what may or may not be in the pipeline for Stanage. Being bought by private land owners is not automatically a bad thing, lots of land in the PDNP is privately owned and access is managed successfully (look at Bamford Edge). Stanage differs from Bamford in that are public rights of way to it and along it (rather than just a trodden path on open access land), so I'm struggling to see an issue with shooting, or any other kind of closure for land management reasons.
James Cox, Sheffield
23) Anonymous User
06/09/2013
Hi BMC staff members - is shooting the main issue you're worried about or is there anything else as well?

Thanks
24) Anonymous User
06/09/2013
Things being talked about North Lees by the PDNPA are increased car parking prices pay and display at hooks car no parking on road sides wheel clamping, Shooting of grouse 8 days a year closing moor to all people, Climbers to pay £25 a year climbing fee if the public want to come in the country side they will have to pay to help or lose it to a private land owner then you will have to pay
25) Anonymous User
12/09/2013
Lose the bit about shooting rights and I'll sign. Shooting is not my sport but I will not sign anything that pitches one mans choice of sport against another's!
26) Anonymous User
02/10/2013
leave things as they are

RELATED ARTICLES

Join us for the BMC Stanage Festival 2014
2

The BMC is 70 years old in 2014, and as part of our birthday celebrations we are hosting a festival of climbing and walking at Stanage on the weekend of 28-29 June.
Read more »

Have your say about the future of Stanage
4

A Stanage Forum open meeting is being held at 2pm on Saturday 29 March in Memorial Hall, Oddfellows Road, Hathersage.
Read more »

Stanage: a question of trust
5

Following the success of the BMC’s Stand Up For Stanage campaign, almost a hundred climbers and hill walkers attended the latest Peak Area meeting to hear the Peak District National Park Authority’s latest thinking about the future of the North Lees Estate. Ed Douglas went along.
Read more »

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