A landowner has been fined £16,500 and ordered to pay £17,026.44 costs at Keighley Magistrates’ Court, Bingley, after causing damage to moorland habitat in the South Pennine Moors. The site in question was a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), which was notified and afforded protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 as substituted by Schedule 9 to the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. These legislative provisions place legal obligations on owners and occupiers of land within SSSIs as well as on public bodies. It also creates an offence of damage and disturbance caused by third parties. The site was also designated under European law as a Special Area of Conservation under the Habitats Directive (Directive 92/43/EC) due to its blankets bogs and heather moorland, and as a Special Protection Area under the Wild Birds Directive (Directive 79/409/EC) for its breeding populations or merlin, golden plover and short-eared owl.

In addition to imposing the hefty fine, Magistrates also made orders that restoration works be carried out at the estate’s expense, under the supervision of English Nature. The full text of the case is not yet available though a summary can be found at the following link:


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