CAP payments to East Arkengarthdale Ltd

Dave Rawlins made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs,

I should like to draw to your attention to the discovery on the East Arkengarthdale Estate of an illegal cache of poisons in 2014. The gamekeeper at East Arkengarthdale Estate admitted that he had acted illegally but was never prosecuted.

I understand that the East Arkengarthdale Estate, in the person of EAL Torstenson received agricultural subsidies (trading as) Shaw Farm, in 2014. I therefore wish to ask;

1. Did the CAP subsidies received by Shaw Farm in 2014 cover the land where the poisons cache was discovered?
2. If so, does having a poisons cache, administered by a gamekeeper, qualify as a cross-compliance breach?
3. If so, will the Rural Payments Agency be applying a subsidy penalty?

Yours faithfully,

Mr D Rawlins

Helpline, Defra (MCU), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

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Information Rights Team,

22 December 2016
Ref: RFI 4315
 
Dear Mr Rawlins
 
RE: Environmental Information Regulations – Advice & Assistance
 
Thank you for your request for information dated 19 December 2016, which
is being dealt with under the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR)
2004.
 
From our preliminary assessment, it is clear that we will not be able to
answer your request without further clarification.
 
Please can you provide a map of the area or a Google map image with the
field outlined in red, which will enable us to identify the land in
question.
 
Once we have received the above information, we will be able to proceed
with your request and advise whether we can provide the information.
 
Please note that the 20 working day timescale for responding to your
request will commence from the date that we receive the clarification.
 
If you have any queries about this let us know
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
 
Information Rights Team
Rural Payments Agency | North Gate House | Reading | RG1 1AF
Tel: 03300 416502 | Fax: 03300 416574 | Email: [1][email address]
Follow us on Twitter @Ruralpay
 
 
 

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Dear Information Rights Team,

Thank you for your response of 22 December 2016.
I do not know the precise location of the illegal pesticide cache. It is identified only as in “a small forestry plantation on Hurst Moor, a driven grouse moor which forms part of the East Arkengarthdale Estate”. This location was identified by Mr Guy Shorrock, a RSPB wildlife crime inspector, on his blog.

I expect you to carry out a thorough investigation, now that you have been informed of the illegal storage of banned pesticides, and I would suggest that you start by contacting Mr Shorrock to ask him for the grid reference of the cache.

The poisons were hidden by a gamekeeper working for East Arkengarthdale Estate. This gamekeeper, by his own admission (during an appeal against his firearms certificate being revoked) left deadly substances in the open where they could be found by members of the public, and not under lock and key. Apparently, the Estate had a fully compliant pesticide store elsewhere. 8 / Dec / 2016 at Teeside Crown Court.
The pesticides concerned were.
Cymag, which has been banned since 2004. It releases fast acting hydrogen cyanide when exposed to moisture. Unless a person has access to an antidote it can kill quickly.
Ficam W containing Bendiocarb, an acutely toxic carbamate-based insecticide. A gamekeeper’s favourite for poisoning birds of prey.
Alpha-chloralose, which kills by lowering the body temperature and the victim dies of hypothermia.

I hope this helps.

Yours sincerely,

Dave Rawlins

Information Rights Team,

11 January 2017

Ref: RFI 4328

 

Dear Mr Rawlins

Re: Environmental Information Regulations – Acknowledgement

 

Thank you for your request for information dated 27 December 2016, which
is being dealt with under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004
(EIR). Please accept our apologies for the delay in acknowledging your
email.

 

We normally expect to respond to requests within 20 working days.

 

If you have any queries about this let us know.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

Information Rights Team

Rural Payments Agency | North Gate House | Reading | RG1 1AF

Tel: 03300 416502 | Fax: 03300 416574 | Email: [1][email address]

Follow us on Twitter @Ruralpay

 

 

 

 

 

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Information Rights Team,

18 January 2017
Ref: RFI 4328
 
Dear Mr Rawlins
 
RE: Environmental Information Regulations – Information Request
 
Thank you for your request for information dated 27 December 2016, which
is being dealt with under the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR)
2004.
 
You have asked the following questions about the discovery of a hidden
pesticide cache on Hurst Moor, North Yorkshire in 2014:
 

 1. Did the CAP subsidies received by the specified business in 2014 cover
the land where the poisons cache was discovered?
 2. If so, does having a poisons cache, administered by a gamekeeper,
qualify as a cross-compliance breach?
 3. If so, will the Rural Payments Agency be applying a subsidy penalty?

 
The RPA has determined that a subsidy penalty was not appropriate, for the
reason set out below. It therefore did not need to establish the precise
location of land where the poisons cache was discovered.
 
We considered this case under the cross compliance rules that applied in
2014 and we hope the following will explain why RPA does not have the
scope to apply cross compliance penalties for breaches of this nature.
 
Within cross compliance, all breaches relating to storage of pesticides
were provided for by a set of rules known as the sustainable use rules. 
These were part of the wider set of rules covered by the plant protection
product Statutory Management Requirement (SMR) which, in 2014 was SMR 9.
Please refer to page 63 of the [1]Guide to Cross Compliance in England
2014, for further information.
 
From 1January 2014 a change to European legislation meant the sustainable
use rules were removed from the scope of SMR 9 as far as cross compliance
rules applicable to SPS payments were concerned. This meant there was no
scope to apply cross compliance penalties to SPS payments for pesticide
storage and unapproved product breaches that occurred from 1 January 2014
onwards.
 
The sustainable use rules continued to apply to rural development schemes
covered by cross compliance rules, for example the full range of
Environmental Stewardship schemes. This was the case until the end of
2014, after which further changes to European legislation fully removed
the sustainable use rules from the scope of cross compliance.
 
In the rural development legislation that applied in 2014, the obligation
to comply with the statutory management requirements did not apply to
non-agricultural activities on a holding. In this case the evidence is
that the breach was committed in connection with the non-agricultural
activity of game shooting. In addition, the evidence is that the cache was
not found on agricultural land, but within a small plantation of trees.
Therefore it is not possible to apply cross compliance penalties to rural
development payments for a breach of this nature.
 
If you are not happy with the way we have handled your request, you can
ask for an internal review. These requests should be submitted in writing
within two months of the date of receipt of the response to your original
request and should be addressed to the Access to Information Helpdesk at
the Rural Payments Agency, North Gate House, 21-23 Valpy Street, Reading,
RG1 1AF or alternatively email your request for a review to
[2][email address].
 
If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision. Please note that generally the Information Commissioner cannot
make a decision unless you have first exhausted RPA’s own complaints
procedure. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:
[3]Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane,
Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.
 
If you have any queries about this let us know
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
 
Information Rights Team
Rural Payments Agency | North Gate House | Reading | RG1 1AF
Tel: 03300 416502 | Fax: 03300 416574 | Email: [4][email address]
Follow us on Twitter @Ruralpay
 
 
 

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