We Asked, You Said, We Did

Below are some of the issues we have recently consulted on and their outcomes.

We asked

Defra consulted on establishing permitting regimes for the recreational targeting of bluefin tuna (BFT) in UK waters.

You said

Of the 167 responses, the vast majority of respondents (139, 83%), across all interested groups, broadly supported the proposed design for the new UK permitting regimes for the recreational targeting of BFT.

Of those respondents not in favour, the vast majority supported the concept of recreational BFT fisheries but had specific concerns about the proposed design.

We did

On the basis of the strong support to the consultation for new UK permitting regimes for the recreational targeting of BFT, Defra will bring forward the necessary legislation.

Each UK fisheries administration (FA) will determine if, and when, to introduce a BFT catch and release recreational fishery (CRRF) in its waters. We intend to open a BFT CRRF in English waters in 2024.

Our full Government response is available on GOV.UK.

We asked

Defra consulted on the scope of animal health and welfare offences that could be covered by penalty notices and elements on how the penalty regime might work in practice

You said

More than 85% of respondents to the consultation supported the view that penalty notices could be a proportionate tool to ensure compliance with animal health and welfare regulations and supported the use of penalty notices to enforce regulations across different areas of animal health and welfare legislation.

We did

As a result, we will introduce legislation to make penalty notices available as an enforcement option for named enforcers to use where appropriate for specified offences across animal health and welfare legislation.

We asked

Are new management measures required in Lyme Bay to protect the sole fishery?  

You said

Yes, additional management is required.

We did

In brief, MMO will: 

  • Create a new vessel licence condition requiring enhanced visibility and identification of passive gear 

  • Publish a form for reporting lost and found gear that can be used without the need for names in order to improve data on the frequency of these events   

  • Set a reduced sole catch limit of 200kg for non-sector vessels fishing with scallop dredges in ICES area 7e   

  • Hold discussions with Producer Organisations about ways members can reduce sole bycatch when fishing with dredges  

  • Support additional research to understand the potential need, benefits and risks of changes to minimum landing sizes or gear configurations   

  • Facilitate a meeting for representative industry members to discuss the potential for separating areas of Lyme Bay for use by different fishing methods at different times of the year. It will be hosted by MMO in early 2024. 

We asked

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate consulted on proposed changes to the Veterinary Medicines Regulations 2013. Proposals covered the marketing, manufacturing, supply, possession and use of veterinary medicines and medicated feed, as well as fees for regulatory services.

You said

The 74 consultation questions received responses from 188 individuals and organisations. The responses showed strong support for the proposed changes. However, respondents highlighted concerns in some areas.

We did

We will implement most of the proposed changes but have amended several proposals to address concerns raised. These include:

  • changes to the labelling requirements for veterinary medicines - we have amended this proposal based on the feedback received;
  • the proposal to only allow vet prescription-only medicines to be advertised to animal keepers if they are immunological medicines – we will not implement this;
  • the proposal to change the classification for new immunological veterinary medicines so they can only be prescribed by vets – we will not implement this;
  • the proposal to change prescribing requirements for vets to include ‘clinical examination or other proper assessment’ instead of ‘clinical assessment’ – we will not implement this;
  • changes to the validity requirements of a medicated feedingstuffs prescription for antibiotics – we have amended this proposal based on the feedback received.

Our full Government response is available on Citizen Space.

We asked

Stage 3 assesses interactions between designated seabed features within MPAs that were not already assessed in Stages 1 and 2 in relation to the following fishing gear groups:

  • bottom towed gear
  • anchored nets and lines, and
  • traps.

We held a call for evidence from 10 July to 14 May 2022, and asked the following questions:

  • Do you have any additional evidence about the interactions of fishing gear and MPA seabed features?
  • Do you agree with the MMO analysis of the available evidence provided in each 'Stage 3 Fishing Gear MPA Impacts Evidence' document? If not, please provide details.

You said

We received 39 responses during the Stage 3 call for evidence and is drafting a ‘Stage 3 Call for Evidence Decision Document’ summarising the responses received and the decision for the next steps for Stage 3 sites. We plan to publish this information in Spring 2024.

We did

We are doing

MMO reviewed the information received during this call for evidence to update and is using this to finalise the 'Stage 3 Fishing Gear MPA Impacts' documents.

The 'Stage 3 Fishing Gear MPA Impacts' documents are being used to inform site level assessments of the impacts of fishing on each MPA, which will inform the development of appropriate fisheries management measures for these MPAs. If management measures are required, these will be subject to appropriate levels of consultation.

If you want to be updated when the consultation launches, please email conservation@marinemanagement.org.uk.

We asked

We held a formal consultation on the impacts of bottom towed gears on rock and reef feature in the following marine protected areas (MPAs) from 17 January to 28 March 2023:

  • Cape Bank 
  • East of Haig Fras 
  • Farnes East 
  • Foreland 
  • Haig Fras 
  • Haisborough, Hammond and Winterton 
  • Hartland Point to Tintagel 
  • Goodwin Sands 
  • Land's End and Cape Bank 
  • North Norfolk Sandbanks and Saturn Reef 
  • Offshore Brighton 
  • South of Celtic Deep 
  • Wight-Barfleur Reef 

We asked the following questions:

  1. Do you have any additional information about the location, condition, or sensitivity of the designated feature(s)?
  1. Do you have information about the level or nature of fishing activity within any of the MPAs?
  1. Do you agree or disagree with the proposed management measures?
  1. How would the proposed management option affect you? Please provide supporting evidence if possible.
  1. What other effects could the proposed management measures have? Please provide supporting evidence if possible.

You said

We received 69 responses during the Stage 2 formal consultation. We subsequently made a ‘Stage 2 Formal Consultation Decision Document’ summarising the responses received, their consideration and the decision for the next steps for Stage 2 MPAs. This document can be found on our ‘‘MPA bottom towed fishing gear byelaw 2023’ webpage.

We did

We reviewed the information received during this formal consultation to conclude whether management measures were required and then subsequently updated and finalised the Stage 2 byelaw and associated de minimis assessment. We then made the byelaw and submitted it to the Secretary of State for confirmation. The byelaw was confirmed on 1 February 2024. The byelaw and associated documents can be found on our ‘MPA bottom towed fishing gear byelaw 2023’ webpage.

For more information on how we assess and manage MPAs visit our ‘Managing fishing in marine protected areas’ webpage’.

We asked

Natural England consulted with owners, occupiers and interested parties on the notification of Penwith Moors Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) on 7 October 2022.

Consultations closed on 7 February 2023.

You said

Following consideration of representations and objections at its meeting on 28 June 2023, the Board of Natural England approved the confirmation of the notification of the West Penwith Moors and Downs SSSI with modifications to the description of the special interest, boundary map, Views about Management (VAM) and list of operations requiring Natural England’s consent (ORNEC). I therefore enclose revised versions of those documents.

We did

The site has 270 owners and occupiers. The notification was the subject of 170 unresolved objections and 6 objections that were resolved with modifications to the boundary. A further 87 representations were received in support of the notification. The grounds for the objections and representations had been carefully considered by officers of Natural England and after further investigation a number of modifications were recommended to the Board of Natural England of which were approved.

Natural England confirmed West Penwith Moors and Downs SSSI under section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 on 4 July 2023 with the following changes:

•       the boundary, removed 41 areas of land (total area of 107.72 ha) which were not considered to be of special scientific interest;

•       the citation, to reflect the change in site name to ‘West Penwith Moors and Downs (Halow ha Gonyow Pennwydh West) SSSI’, removal of one lichen species, taxonomical changes, correction of typographical errors, a revised paragraph summarising the site history and updated area figure (3,045.04 ha);

•       the statement of Natural England’s views about management (VAM) of the SSSI, to reflect the change in site name; and clarify management recommendations; and

•       the list of operations requiring Natural England’s consent (ORNEC), to reflect the change in site name.

In accordance with Natural England’s policy on freedom of information, details of the Board’s decision will be available on Natural England’s website in due course: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/natural-england/about/our-governance.

If you have any questions or require further information, please email penwithmoorscornwall@naturalengland.org.uk.

We asked

Natural England consulted with national and local stakeholders with an interest in the SSSI official statistics, on the proposed change to the measurement used in the reporting of SSSI condition in England from a unit or area based to a whole feature based monitoring approach, between 7 December 2020 and 18 January 2021.

 

You said

A total of 53 responses were received. 17 respondents were in favour of the proposed change, 5 respondents were not in favour of the proposed change, 9 respondents were neutral. 14 respondents were in favour of the change to feature based monitoring but not in favour of the Least Favourable Condition option. 3 respondents were in favour of the Least Favourable approach option but not in favour of the change of the change to feature based monitoring. 5 respondents did not express a preference.  Of the 53 formal consultation submissions, 41 respondents stated that the proposed change would have implications for their use of the statistics, 10 respondents did not think the proposed change would have an impact on their use of the statistics, and 2 respondents submitted blank forms. Of the written consultation responses, the primary concern was whether the new approach would remove the ability for landowners to report the condition of their landholding and understand the necessary management measures needed to bring about condition change.

We did

Natural England reviewed the consultation responses and as a result have devised a mechanism to continue to report condition at both unit and feature scale. Natural England organised further discussions with stakeholders in 2021 and following pilots of the new approach in 2022. The discussions provided further opportunities for stakeholders to discuss these original concerns in order to agree solutions, develop ways of working in partnership and ensure smooth transition to feature based monitoring. Some of the key take home points were that once stakeholders understood the process of how whole feature assessment and reporting will work, they were content with how we propose to maintain the link with units and management advice. Maintaining the ability to report at unit level (until at least 2025) will enable stakeholders to report outcomes in relation to Management Plans.

Natural England also clarified how the  least favourable approach is only used to set the current feature condition baseline using unit condition data already in the system. The condition of units and features going forward will be determined using data captured in the field, available from others or from remote sensing.

We asked

The consultation focused on opinions on the sale of peat for horticultural use and whether this should continue or be restricted. We also asked whether there should be any exemptions and what these might be.

You said

The response was clear with over 95% of responses calling for a ban on the sale of peat. There was some valid concern in the responses for the use of peat in industry.

We did

The government in England is committed to banning the sale of peat and peat containing products by 2024.

We asked

Natural England consulted with owners, occupiers and interested parties on the notification of Dearne Valley Wetlands Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) on 13 May 2021.

Consultations closed on 13 September 2021.

You said

Following consideration of representations and objections at its meeting on 19 January 2022, the Board of Natural England approved the confirmation of the notification of the Dearne Valley Wetlands SSSI with modifications to the description of the special interest (area figure amendment) and boundary map. Natural England consulted with owners, occupiers and interested parties on the notification of Dearne Valley Wetlands Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) on 13 May 2021.

Consultations closed on 13 September 2021.

We did

Natural England confirmed Dearne Valley Wetlands SSSI under section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 on 4 February 2022.

In accordance with Natural England’s policy on freedom of information, details of the Board’s decision will be available on Natural England’s website in due course: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/natural-england/about/our-governance.

If you have any questions or require further information, please email ProtectedSites@naturalengland.org.uk.

We asked

Natural England consulted with owners, occupiers and interested parties on the notification of Swanscombe Peninsula Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) on 11 March 2021.

Consultations closed on 12 July 2021.

You said

Following consideration of representations and objections at its meeting on 10 November 2021, the Board of Natural England approved the confirmation of the notification of the Swanscombe Peninsula SSSI with modifications to the description of the special interest (area figure amendment), boundary map and Views about Management (VAM).

We did

Natural England confirmed Swanscombe Peninsula SSSI under section 28C of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 on 19 November 2021.

In accordance with Natural England’s policy on freedom of information, details of the Board’s decision will be available on Natural England’s website in due course: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/natural-england/about/our-governance.

If you have any questions or require further information, please email ProtectedSites@naturalengland.org.uk.

We asked

Natural England consulted with owners, occupiers and interested parties on the notification of Cotswold Water Park Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) on 7 January 2021 and the proposal to de-notify parts of the previously notified Cotswold Water Park SSSI that are not considered to be of special interest.

Consultations closed on 7 June 2021.

You said

Following consideration of representations and objections at its meeting on 15 September and resumed meeting of 29 September 2021, the Board of Natural England approved the confirmation of the notification of the Cotswold Water Park SSSI with modifications to the description of the special interest (area figure amendment and the addition of little grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis  to the citation), boundary map and Views about Management (VAM).

No representations or objections were received to the proposal dated 7 January 2021 to remove the SSSI notification (known as ‘de-notification’) from parts of the previously notified Cotswold Water Park SSSI that are not considered to be of special interest.  The proposed denotification has been confirmed without modification. The denotified land (as shown on the maps that formed part of the notification document of 7 January 2021 is no longer subject to the effects of notification as an SSSI.

We did

Natural England confirmed the enlarged Cotswold Water Park SSSI under section 28C of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and
de-notified the areas no longer of Special Scientific Interest under
section 28D of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 on 1 October 2021.

We asked

Natural England consulted with owners, occupiers and interested parties on the notification of Pinkworthy and Driver Farm Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) on 7 January 2021.

You said

No objections have been received relating to Pinkworthy and Driver Farm SSSI notification under Section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. 

There have been two representations of support received to the notification, one from RSPB and one from Citizen Space.  

We did

Natural England confirmed the notification of Pinkworthy and Driver Farm SSSI on 2 July 2021 without modification.

We asked

Natural England consulted with owners, occupiers and interested parties on the notification of Reigate Heath Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) on 30 October 2020.

You said

Reigate Heath SSSI Consultation closed on 1 March 2021. No objections have been received relating to the notification of additional land under Section 28B of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. There have been eight representations of support to the notification.

We did

Natural England confirmed the additional land of Reigate Heath SSSI on 27 April 2021.

We asked

Natural England consulted with owner, occupiers and interested parties on the notification of Cowslip Meadow Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) on 13 October 2020.

You said

No objections have been received relating to the notification of this land under Section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

There have been two representations of support, from RSPB and one from Citizen Space with a further three neutral responses to the notification from the online consultation.

We did

Natural England confirmed the notification of Cowslip Meadow SSSI on 11 June 2021 without modification.

We asked

Natural England consulted with owner, occupiers and interested parties on the notification of Dallow Downs and Winsdon Hill Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) on 13 October 2020.

You said

One objection has been received relating to the notification of Dallow Downs and Winsdon Hill SSSI under Section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 from Luton Borough Council. However this has been resolved by Officers resulting in a minor boundary amendment (reductions only) and revised area figure on the citation to reflect the mapping error Luton Borough Council raised.

There has been one representation of support and three neutral responses to the notification from the Citizen Space online consultation.

We did

Natural England confirmed the notification of Dallow Downs and Winsdon Hill SSSI on 11 June 2021 with a modification to the boundary.

We asked

Natural England consulted with owner, occupiers and interested parties on the notification of Johnsons’ Meadows Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) on 31 January 2020.

You said

The Johnsons’ Meadows SSSI notification was the subject of two withdrawn objections from owners and 26 representations which expressed support to the SSSI notification.

We did

Following consideration of representations and withdrawn objections, Natural England approved the confirmation of Johnsons’ Meadows SSSI under delegated authority without modification.

 

We asked

Natural England consulted with owners, occupiers and interested parties on the notification of Crime Rigg Quarry Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) on 18 October 2020.

You said

Consultations closed on 18 February 2020.  No representations or objections have been received with respect to the:

  • Variation of the notification under Section 28A of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, to: rename the SSSI to reflect the current operating name of the quarry and the Geological Conservation Review (GCR) site name; include a revised list of operations requiring Natural England's consent; re-represent the features of interest described in the ciation; and re-represent the statement of Natural England's views about management of the SSSI.
  • Notification of additional land under Section 28B of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
  • Proposed de-notification of land that is not considered to be of special interest, under Section 28D of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

We did

Natural England confirmed the additional land of Crime Rigg Quarry SSSI and de-notified the area no longer of Special Scientific Interest on 7 April 2020.

We asked

Natural England consulted with owners, occupiers and interested parties on
the notification of Raisby Hill Quarry Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
on 18 October 2020.

You said

Consultations closed on 18 February 2020. No representations or objections
have been received with respect to the:

  • Variation of the notification under Section 28A of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, include a revised list of operations requiring Natural England's consent; re-represent the features of special interest described in the ciation; and re-represent the statement of Natural England's views about management of the SSSI.
  • Notification of additional land under Section 28B of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
  • Proposed de-notification of land that is not considered to be of special interest, under Section 28D of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

 

We did

Natural England confirmed the additional land of Raisby Hill Quarry SSSI and
de-notified the area no longer of Special Scientific Interest on 7 April 2020.

We asked

Natural England consulted with owner, occupiers and interested parties on the notification of The Leasowes Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) on 7 February 2019.

You said

Two objections were received relating to the notification of this land under Section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. However, both objections have subsequently been unconditionally withdrawn. Three representations of support were also received.

We did

Natural England confirmed the notification of The Leasowes SSSI on 26 June 2019.