Ten days ago we blogged about the RSPB’s Investigations Team finding a buried poisons cache on the East Arkengarthdale Estate in North Yorkshire in 2014 (see here).
Incredibly, nobody was prosecuted for this illegal stash and, despite the best efforts of North Yorkshire Police, the gamekeeper who had admitted using the poisons cache had his firearms certificates returned.
We asked several organisations within the grouse shooting industry a number of questions about this case (see here) but so far, none of them have said a word about it (in public, at least). We’ll come back to this.
What we’re interested in now is whether the East Arkengarthdale Estate will be the focus of an investigation by DEFRA’s Rural Payments Agency. Did this estate receive any agricultural subsidies in 2014, if so under what scheme(s), and does having confirmation that an estate gamekeeper was using the poisons cache constitute a cross-compliance breach of any of these subsidy schemes, and if so, will the estate receive a subsidy penalty?
According to records at Companies House, East Arkengarthdale Ltd has two Directors: Eric Axel Lennart Torstenson and Mrs Anita Ingrid Linnea Torstenson.
A search of the CAP Payments website shows that EAL Torstenson received the following subsidies in 2014 and 2015:
These documents show that EAL Torstenson received agricultural subsidies (trading as) Shaw Farm.
According to this 2003 newsletter about a Black Grouse Recovery Project, “Shaw Farm in North Yorkshire is part of the East Arkengarthdale Sporting Estate“.
Here’s a map of Shaw Farm, to the west of Hurst Moor where the poisons cache was found:
We’d like to draw the Rural Payments Agency’s attention to this case (because they have a duty to investigate anything that is drawn to their attention so by telling them about it they can’t later claim they didn’t know anything about it) and we’d like them to answer the following questions:
- Did the CAP subsidies received by Shaw Farm in 2014 cover the land where the poisons cache was discovered?
- If so, does having a poisons cache, administered by a gamekeeper, qualify as a cross-compliance breach?
- If so, will the Rural Payments Agency be applying a subsidy penalty?
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