An open letter to Philip Merricks


There’s not much else to say, is there?

This letter was written before Philip’s incoherent presentation at the Sheffield raptor conference (here) and before Philip moved his, er, “immovable conditions” for participating in DEFRA’s Hen Harrier brood meddling plan (see here).

The forthcoming Hawk & Owl Trust AGM should be interesting….

13 Responses to “An open letter to Philip Merricks”

  1. 1 Alex Milne
    September 23, 2016 at 8:07 am

    The HOT made much about the increase in membership after Phillip Merricks had offered his organisation for brood meddling. I fear that the new membership from grouse moor supporters, and to a lesser extent, the resignation of other members, will have made his position unassailable.

  2. 2 SG
    September 23, 2016 at 9:55 am

    I hear that Steve Redpath is hoping to become a trustee, and Phillip Merricks and Jemima Parry Jones are up for re-election. Interesting that two established trustees are standing down, along with the Treasurer. A forth person is up for nomination and fits with their brood management agenda.

  3. 3 Nimby
    September 23, 2016 at 11:23 am

    OK so they are managing to morph H&OT into an arm of Defra?

    Setting aside the loss of H&OT to legitimate and principled actions, how can Defra claim legitimacy when no other self respecting conservation organisation is supporting the ‘still-born’ (per Fielding) Plan?

  4. 4 Tony Warburton MBE
    September 23, 2016 at 11:40 am

    Brilliant letter Rod. How I wish we were sitting side by side at the HOT AGM! Sadly, as I said in my comment on the RPUK site of 12th I no longer recognise the once wonderful organisation we both served as Trustees and I am afraid the name of the HOT is now extremely sullied and muddied because of this lunatic support for the ‘Brood Meddling’ proposal. As I said in my comment (\unfortunately written four days after RPUK published the news of Merricks’ moving of his ‘immovable’ clauses, so I got no response, the World Owl Trust trustees and I are extremely concerned that people might think the HOT and WOT are the same organisation, when we, the WOT, are vehemently against such an ill-conceived idea – which of course is roundly applauded by the shooting lobby and Grouse moor owners. They must think Christmas has come early!

    I said in my comment that I would write to the HOT prior to the AGM to propose a motion that Merricks and possibly Robin-Reese Webbe withdraw their applications for re-election, but on receiving the details of the Meeting I discovered that all such proposals should be sent to – you’ve guessed it – Philip Merricks as Chair!
    So I suspect I would be wasting my time and therefore will await the news of what occurred at the AGM. Quite certainly, if things remain the same, and Merricks remain as Chair, I will be one less HOT member (one of many I suspect) – and that will make me very sad. I see Robin is not standing for re-election, though whether this is due to this problem I don’t know. Did you get any response from Merricks?

  5. 5 Northern Diver
    September 23, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    This post prompted me to look at the HOT website.
    What are everyones thoughts on this?


    Are they authorised to conduct the tagging of Hen Harriers under the DEFRA plan? Presumably they are.

  6. 8 Nimby
    September 23, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    Just seen the date of the Press Release 1 September 2016, via project website homepage http://hawkandowl.org/harriers-sat-tag/ interesting that details of licensing etc. were not forthcoming on 9th September at the Sheffield Conference? H&OT funded two, so seed corn to attract public funding to run a larger project?

  7. September 23, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    Astonishingly rich conflicts of interest here: you have one H&OT Trustee who runs the International Centre for Birds of Prey which is set to gain handsomely, financially, from the H&OT brood removal programme, and a prospective new trustee – Steve Redpath – who looks set to gain financially by getting research funding to monitor the results of the H&OT brood removal programme. Quite the little scam we have emerging! No wonder they all so keen to align themselves to H&OT! Next we’ll discover that a H&OT (of Merrick’s) reserve will host a publicly-funded hen harrier ‘re-introduction’.

    [Ed: You need to be careful here, Messi. How do you know whether the ICBP will ‘gain handsomely, financially’? Paid for the work, presumably, but how do you know what the profit margins will be? Also, how do you know Steve Redpath is submitting a research proposal to monitor the results of brood meddling?]

    • September 23, 2016 at 7:09 pm

      Good points, RPUK. It’ll be interesting to see if ICBP is involved and is paid for its efforts – they’d not need to make a profit in order to gain from this, I’d suggest. And no, I don’t know whether Steve will receive public funds for any sort of monitoring, student research grants etc. We’ll have to wait and see. I don’t know if he’ll receive any consultancy fees. So I take back what I wrote, and we’ll have to see how the financing looks down the line.

  8. 11 Nimby
    September 23, 2016 at 7:24 pm


    If public funding is involved then consider using FoI via https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/

    The key consideration is which agency or authority you ask the question of, and the wording of the question(s).

    It might be that all this work will be undertaken gratis at no cost to the public purse through Defra or its agencies?

  9. 12 Doug Malpus
    September 23, 2016 at 9:59 pm

    In a visit to ICBP, June 2016, I asked Jemima about Hen Harrier meddling. She said she saw little point in it if all she does is provide another target for the criminals to shoot, poison or trap. She did say that raising Hen Harriers is quite feasible.

    • 13 Nimby
      September 23, 2016 at 10:19 pm


      But that’ll not stop H&OT / G[WC]T, CA, MA et. al. seeking to protract the issue in order to maintain the current status quo for their ‘sport’?

      Keep the “juggernaut” on track ….

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