20
Jul
15

Stody Estate subsidy penalties: an update

IMG_4752 (2) - CopyOn 1st October 2014, gamekeeper Allen Lambert from the Stody Estate in Norfolk was found guilty of poisoning 10 buzzards and one sparrowhawk, which had been found dead on the estate in April 2013. He was also convicted of storing banned pesticides & other items capable of preparing poisoned baits (a ‘poisoner’s kit’), and a firearms offence (see here and here).

On 6th November 2014, Lambert was sentenced. Even though the magistrate acknowledged that Lambert’s crimes passed the custody threshold, he only received a 10 week suspended sentence for poisoning 11 raptors (suspended for one year), a six week suspended sentence for possession of firearms and nine poisoned buzzards (suspended for one year), and was ordered to pay £930 prosecution costs and an £80 victim surcharge.

On 5th October 2014, we blogged about the millions of pounds worth of subsidies that had been awarded to Stody Estate in recent years (see here) and we encouraged blog readers to contact the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) to ask whether Stody Estate would receive a financial penalty in the form of subsidy withdrawal for being in breach of the terms & conditions of their subsidy-fest.

On 10th October 2014, the RPA responded by saying they would consider what action could be taken against Stody Estate (see here).

Then it all went quiet.

In December 2014, one of our blog readers submitted an FoI to the RPA to ask what was happening. In January 2015, the RPA responded by saying they ‘weren’t able to provide a meaningful response’ but said they would take action if it was found to be appropriate to do so (see here).

Six months on, we thought it was time for an update so an FoI was sent to the RPA to ask whether they had implemented a subsidy penalty. This is their response:

Dear XXXXX XXXXX

Thank you for your email dated 5 July 2015 regarding Stody Estate.

Cross Compliance rules only apply to recipients of Single Payment Scheme or certain Rural Development scheme payment in the year in which a cross compliance breach is found.

The person prosecuted for the offences mentioned in your e-mail is not a recipient of either of these types of payment.  Therefore before RPA can take further action, it will be necessary to determine whether there [sic] a link between this person and a subsidy recipient and, if there is, whether that recipient can be considered liable for the actions of the person who committed the breaches.

Identifying whether the person prosecuted is linked to a subsidy recipient will form a key part of our investigations.

Should you have any further queries please contact us again quoting reference number XXXXX

Regards

Helen Hunter

Customer Service Centre, Operations

END

This is all very interesting. The mass illegal poisoning of birds of prey took place on Stody Estate and a Stody Estate employee, gamekeeper Allen Lambert, was convicted of these crimes and several others. But the Rural Payments Agency is still trying to determine whether there is a link between Lambert and the Stody Estate. Eh?

It’s not very convincing is it?

Perhaps the RPA should have a read of the judge’s comments about the relationship between Lambert and his (now former) employer – see here.

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9 Responses to “Stody Estate subsidy penalties: an update”


  1. 1 Chris Roberts
    July 20, 2015 at 9:12 am

    It all stinks as usual. The untouchables keep breaking the laws of our land with impunity.

  2. 2 Pete Hoffmann
    July 20, 2015 at 11:05 am

    When you contravene cross compliance as a small farmer they very quickly not only stop paying subsidies, but also collect every penny they have ever payed you on the particular scheme. In my case without proper justification… Just couldn’t afford a lawyer to fight it… These guys will throw QCs and Barristers at the RPA…. so they are running scared… They need to be put under pressure to comply!

  3. 3 NorthernDiver
    July 20, 2015 at 11:15 am

    I too contacted the RPA about Stody Estate. My first email they acknowledged receipt but ignored. My second follow up email evinced this response.

    “Thank you for your e-mail that we received 1st May 2015. Due to data protection we cannot discuss this matter with you.

    There is no further action this department can take at this time.”

    Obviously, I am too insignificant to warrant even the excuses given to you and Mark Avery. I thought of contacting my MP but he is ex-army, pro hunting, pro badger cull etc., so didn’t bother. Let’s hope RPS and Mark Avery can eventually bring them to do their duty according to the laws of the EU!

  4. 4 Anand Prasad
    July 20, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    I don’t understand. What is the difference between this case and that at Glenogil estate?
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2008/sep/22/wildlife.conservation

  5. 6 Nigel Raby
    July 20, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    Now who’s in who’s pocket?

  6. July 20, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    Corporate responsibility!
    I would bet good money that the Stody estate claims its agricultural support as a business. Was the keeper not an employee of the estate… working under the direction and supervision of the estate? If the stockman had not fitted the ear tags to the estates new calves what would have happened to the grants?

  7. 8 Me
    July 22, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    Where there’s muck ( another word could also be used in this sentence) there’s money and where there’s money there is more often than not muck to be found.
    There is not a spade in the whole wide world big enough to clear off the muck that has accumulated on it in the pursuit of monetary gain and wealth.
    We can only sit back and despair at the injustice that goes on.


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