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The Hawk and Owl Trust have managed Fylingdales Moor in North Yorkshire as a conservation area since 2005. We are very sad to announce that the Trust has ended the contract and its involvement on Fylingdales Moor on the 31 March 2019.

The Moor is privately owned by Sir Frederick Strickland-Constable and, in 2009, he set up the Fylingdales Moor company (FMESS) to receive and administer the High-Level Stewardship (HLS) and grant from Natural England (NE) to finance the management of the moor. The board of FMESS have always been responsible for the oversight and management of the Moor, and in 2009 the Hawk and Owl Trust were contracted directly by FMESS to formally deliver the conservation and education elements of the HLS agreement.

The current 10-year HLS agreement and funding expires in June 2019. For the last 18 months, the Trust has been assisting FMESS to secure a new HLS agreement from NE. In December 2018, FMESS was informed by NE that there would be no new agreement, only a one-year extension. NE made it very clear to FMESS that the current level of funding for that extension would remain as it was when it started in 2009.

The Hawk and Owl Trust have employed three part time staff at Fylingdales funded through this agreement. Staff wages and overheads have increased. Additionally, legislation (e.g. Health & Safety, Pensions) has changed which has put greater responsibilities on the Trust as an employer, and with this comes increased costs but no increase in contributions from FMESS.

Against this background, detailed discussions have taken place with FMESS and Sir Fred over the last 12 months. It has been clear now for several years that the 2009 funding levels offered did not cover our costs, and this would only get worse in future with all the current political uncertainty.

In addition, we felt that the current management contract was not fit for purpose, and there also remained some cultural differences of opinion (thus providing little freedom to apply our proven conservation ideas widely). A new management contract would be required, but again sadly this was declined.

Despite all our efforts, the Directors of FMESS were not prepared to meet the Trusts requests for a new management contract and an increase in funding to cover the overheads, and thereby at least achieve a break-even situation. As a result, the Trustees, after detailed discussions, decided unanimously that the project could not continue, as the financial losses were unsustainable. Be assured that the decision by the Board, to cease involvement in this internationally important northern privately-owned moorland, was taken most reluctantly and followed a lengthy debate.

We are pleased that the Staff, which have been our major concern who have contributed so much during the life of the contract, are not being made redundant, but are being transferred across to continue their work in some form and will be directly employed by FMESS.


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