It’s been over a month since the National Trust said they were launching an investigation in to what they described as a “suspicious incident” where an armed man was filmed sitting next to a decoy hen harrier on a National Trust-owned grouse moor in the Peak District National Park.
How’s that investigation going? Given that the National Trust knew about this incident when it was first reported to them in February 2016, they’ve had plenty of time to ask questions of their grouse moor tenant and decide on what action, if any, they will take.
As a result of their investigation, we’re expecting them to do one of two things:
- Withdraw the tenancy agreement that allows driven grouse shooting on that moor.
The National Trust has previously been bold about withdrawing shooting leases on land it owns. In 2011 it decided not to renew two of three shooting leases on its Wallington Estate in Northumberland (see here), and in 2012 it terminated the lease on a pheasant shoot on the Polesden Lacey Estate in Surrey (see here).
Will the National Trust be bold in the Peak District National Park? We think they’ve got very strong grounds for pulling the grouse-shooting lease in this instance because the grouse moor in question is part of the Peak District Bird of Prey Initiative – an initiative that has utterly failed in its objective of increasing the populations of breeding raptors in the Dark Peak area of the National Park. Presumably the National Trust’s grouse shooting lease includes a clause that demands cooperation from the tenant to reach that objective and if cooperation isn’t forthcoming, the contract can be considered to have been breached?
Let’s ask the General Manager of the National Trust in the Peak District, Jon Stewart, when we might expect to hear the findings of the National Trust’s investigation. Emails to: email@example.com
We’re also intrigued as to why no official statement about this incident has been offered by the Peak District Bird of Prey Initiative. We’ve heard from individual member organisations such as the Peak District National Park Authority (see here) and the Moorland Association (see here), but there’s been total silence from the collective BOP Initiative. Isn’t that strange?
The BOP Initiative is chaired by the Peak District National Park Authority and its ecologist, Rhodri Thomas, is the PDNPA’s representative on the BOP Initiative. We’d like to know how the BOP Initiative intends to respond to the video footage and how this incident will affect the progress of this so-called ‘partnership’? Let’s ask him. Emails to: firstname.lastname@example.org