Natural England
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Diamond Jubilee beacons guidance for land managers

Natural England is asking agri-environment agreement holders and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) managers to get in touch if they are planning to host a Diamond Jubilee beacon on their land.

A series of beacons will be lit across the UK on 4th June this year as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations and Natural England is offering advice to help organisers plan their traditional bonfire beacons whilst safeguarding important natural or historic features.

Ian Fugler, Natural England’s Director for Land Management said: “The lighting of over two thousand Diamond Jubilee beacons across the country will be a marvellous spectacle. We are working with landowners and providing support and advice to ensure that the special environmental features on bonfire beacon sites are protected, so that everyone can enjoy the celebrations. If your proposed beacon site falls within either a Site of Special Scientific Interest or agri-environment scheme, please get in touch with us now to discuss your plans in more detail.”

A brief guidance note has been produced with English Heritage highlighting some of the things to consider when choosing beacon sites. The note gives details on how to check whether proposed beacons will be on agri-environment scheme land, SSSI land via the Nature on the Map website, or near an historic site by checking the National Heritage List for England at www.english-heritage.org.uk. Where this is the case, it also directs organisers where to go for further advice and information.

Further information about the Diamond Jubilee beacons is available at www.diamondjubileebeacons.co.uk

Natural England consents and derogations

If a proposed beacon site falls within either a SSSI or agri-environment scheme then it will require a consent or derogation. The land owner or manager should speak with Natural England on behalf of the organisers during the planning stage to discuss siting of the beacon and public access issues.

Sites of Special Scientific Interest
In order to protect these special sites, owners and managers of SSSIs are required to seek permission, known as a consent, from Natural England prior to undertaking, or permitting, activities that could potentially affect its special interest. Contact your local adviser or call Natural England’s Enquiry Service on 0845 600 3078.

Land in agri-environment schemes
Natural England provides funding to farmers and land managers through a range of agri-environment schemes that have a total value of around £400 million per year.  The payments are linked to specific types of land management being carried out by farmers and other land managers.  But these requirements can be lifted in exceptional circumstances

For land that is in an agri-environment agreement but not under land management options, or marked as unimproved in the Farm Environment Record Natural England has produced a blanket derogation for allowing Diamond Jubilee beacons on the land. In these circumstances, it is not necessary for farmers to contact Natural England for permission for hosting a Diamond Jubilee Beacon on 4th June 2012.

For land under agri-environment management options or marked as unimproved in the Farm Environment Record, guidance should be followed as set out below:

Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) / Organic ELS agreements
Agreement holders may proceed with planning their beacons as soon as they have sent a Derogation Notice to Natural England.  There are a few exceptions, for example where SSSI land and archaeological sites are involved, and in these cases written consent is needed from Natural England and/or English Heritage before proceeding. Full details are set out in the ELS scheme handbook and the OELS scheme handbook.
For further information or assistance call Natural England on 0300 060 0011.

Higher Level Stewardship agreements
As each HLS agreement is tailored to individual circumstances, HLS agreement holders should contact their local Natural England adviser and a Derogation Request form must be completed.  The terms of the derogation will then be agreed between a Natural England adviser and the agreement holder and the proposed changes to management can be carried out once written confirmation of the derogation request has been received from Natural England. Full details are set out in the HLS Handbook.
For further information or assistance call Natural England on 0300 060 0011.

Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS) and Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESA) agreements
Arrangements are as for HLS - see above.

If land is subject to additional designations then consents may be required from other bodies prior to the erection of the beacon.

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