Peak District National Park Authority responds to RSPB’s 2016 Birdcrime report

The Peak District National Park Authority has issued a statement in reponse to the publication of the RSPB’s 2016 Birdcrime report.

Sarah Fowler, chief executive of the Peak District National Park, said: “Killing birds of prey is illegal. I am appalled by the persecution of any protected species, no matter what the circumstances.

The RSPB’s latest Birdcrime report brings the plight of birds of prey to the fore. It shows what we are up against in trying to reverse the fortunes of birds of prey. I welcome the recent acknowledgement from shooting organisations that the killing of raptors to protect game birds is part of the problem. It is – and it is damaging to their interests. I welcome and wholeheartedly support their condemnation of such activity.

Being able to watch birds of prey in the Peak District National Park should be part of everyone’s experience.

We have been working with landowners, gamekeepers and partners since 2011 to remedy the situation locally but it is clear from the results that much more needs to be done.

This year peregrines have failed to breed in the Dark Peak for the first time since they recolonised in 1984 and persecution of these incredible birds has been a factor in this. This has to change.

It is incredibly difficult to catch someone in the act or to collect evidence and make a case for prosecution. I appeal to all users of the countryside to help us bring persecution to an end by reporting anything you feel is suspicious to the police. The best hope we have is for law-abiding people within the game bird industry calling out those who operate outside the law.

The Peak District Birds of Prey Initiative will shortly be publishing a report documenting the fortunes of key birds of prey alongside confirmed or suspected incidents of persecution in the moorland areas of the Peak District during 2016 and 2017. On the back of this report, I will look for a renewed commitment from moorland owners and managers in the Peak District to work with us to reverse the fortunes of birds of prey – and a strengthening of this commitment. We cannot achieve this on our own.”

Anyone with information to report about wildlife crime should contact Derbyshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.


Photo of an osprey found in the Peak District National Park in September 2015. It had two broken legs and succumbed to these injuries soon after being found. The post-mortem stated its injuries were consistent with being caught in a spring trap (Photo by RSPB)

It’s good to see strong condemnation of continued illegal raptor persecution from the Peak District National Park Authority, although, coming a week after the publication of the Birdcrime report it does have a whiff of ‘Oh God, everyone else has commented, we’d better say something too’. Nevertheless, better late than never.

We also appreciate Sarah Fowler’s acknowledgement that the 7-year-long Peak District Bird of Prey Initiative has been a complete and utter failure. She didn’t actually say that – she said, “It is clear from the results that much more needs to be done“, and, with the imminent publication of the Initiative’s 2016 and 2017 annual reports, she said “I will look for a renewed commitment from moorland owners and managers in the Peak District to work with us to reverse the fortunes of birds of prey – and a strengthening of this commitment“.

Hang on. Wasn’t ‘renewed commitment’ from project partners promised in 2015 when the Initiative’s five-year targets had all failed to be met? Ah yes, so it was. And yet, despite that ‘renewed commitment’ we’ve seen continued evidence of illegal raptor persecution within the National Park and now we learn that “This year peregrines have failed to breed in the Dark Peak for the first time since they recolonised in 1984 and persecution of these incredible birds has been a factor in this“.

We don’t want ‘renewed commitment’ from so-called project partners. It’s meaningless bollocks that nobody believes anymore. We’re sick of hearing it and sick of statutory agencies using it to pretend that everything’s going to be ok.

The Peak District National Park Authority needs to start calling out these grouse moor owners, managers and agents, by name, instead of shielding them and their criminal activities within this charade of partnership-working.

22 Responses to “Peak District National Park Authority responds to RSPB’s 2016 Birdcrime report”

  1. November 9, 2017 at 6:27 am

    That is correct name the moor owners as they are liable, it is about time.

  2. 2 Steve macsweeney
    November 9, 2017 at 8:56 am

    Thanks RPUK another succinct post.
    Relying upon the good nature of the Game Industry ( like the hunting with dogs industry),is pissing in the wind.These people are determined not to recognise the law.
    Totally uncompromising consequences for lawbreakers is the only answer.

  3. 3 Loki
    November 9, 2017 at 9:37 am

    What are our national parks protecting? Wildlife crime seems to be routine in them. They are a national disgrace.

    • 4 Richard Would
      November 9, 2017 at 9:51 am

      I agree. I’ve been approached by “wardens” in the Peak District on several occasions, reminding me not to ride a bike off official bridleways (when I’m riding on a bridleway – just a reminder!), in an area which is completely devoid of wildlife. So you can exterminate raptors with impunity, but watch where you ride your bike…

      • 5 crypticmirror
        November 9, 2017 at 1:25 pm

        Well, even a stopped clock is right twice a day. I got run down by a pair of mountain bikers at our local nature reserve a week or so ago. Either clearly not looking at the old biddy with a walking stick, or just not caring. So, watch where and how you ride.

        Yeah, they should be also stopping wildlife crime and taking notes of suspicious types in gamekeeper issue camo jackets, but also they need to be proactive on bikers too.

      • 6 Macrude.
        November 9, 2017 at 2:23 pm

        Do the “wardens” ride around on bikes, or is it Land Rovers and/or Quad Bikes for them.

    • 7 Secret Squirrel
      November 9, 2017 at 10:58 am

      National parks, in both England and Scotland are an economic promotional tool rather than anything significant for the natural environment and heritage

  4. 9 Lyn Ebbs
    November 9, 2017 at 9:42 am

    Supporting bringing in vicarious liability would concentrate the shooting estates’ minds. This is just hand-wringing.

    • 10 frank hopkin
      November 9, 2017 at 1:01 pm

      I’m afraid VC would worsen matters.It would in theory make the wealthy and powerful landowners vunerable but consequently result in even less prosecutions.the legal system in the UK protects the rich and powerful! IE Crown Prosecution Service in Scotland!(not in the public interest,non admissible evidence) etc etc.

  5. 11 Daniel Oakes
    November 9, 2017 at 9:54 am

    There are lots of snares out in the Peak, need removing.

  6. 12 Alex Milne
    November 9, 2017 at 10:33 am

    Another excellent post from RPUK.
    My summary.
    Is the National park doing anything about raptor killing?
    Do they recognise that there is a problem?
    Yes, and have done so for many years.
    Do they have effective plans in place to change the situation?
    Are they planning on changing their approach?
    The National Park, along with all the others, is a national disgrace.
    A bit like the criminal justice system, then.

  7. 13 Pete Hoffmann
    November 9, 2017 at 11:04 am

    Image protection…while carrying on as normal.
    To change the situation action is required.
    These quangos are there to protect the status quo..
    There will be more empty noise.
    Let us see shoots outed and effectively persecuted..
    I wonder which estates would be made an example of?
    Depends who their friends in high places are.

  8. 14 ian rubery
    November 9, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    She issues an “appeal to all users of the countryside to help us bring persecution to an end by reporting anything you feel is suspicious to the police.”
    What springs to mind from this is a club of right-to-roam ramblers with bins, hundreds of them, invigorated with a purpose. Could be among them a few off-duty legal “eagles” of various hues.

  9. 15 Northern Diver
    November 9, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    And the National Trust could take a lead by not offering shooting leases, especially for DGS, on their land in the Peak District. But will they? I think not. Despite decoys and the like!

  10. November 9, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    Just empty words. Where there’s money involved with a rich and powerful minority to pull the authorities strings nothing will change. The police will throw the book at anyone removing snares or traps but the shooting industry can continue to persecute protected species with impunity.

  11. 17 Alan Johnson
    November 9, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    For what it’s worth, I’ve posted a comment on their FB page.

  12. November 9, 2017 at 5:57 pm

    The trouble with the National Park wanting to redouble its efforts with representative organisations from the killing for fun industry is that they are just wasting their time and public money.
    These organisations are actually lobby groups that were created to campaign for legalised raptor killing. They have nothing in common with the aims of the park or conservation. The individuals who kill for fun are not tied to these organisations- not bound by any rules and feel no obligation to comply with whatever nonsense commitments they make. The park should put infrared plot-watchers on all known nest sites.. if permission is refused they should name and shame the people who are deliberately setting out to protect criminal behaviour.

  13. 19 Pheasant beater
    November 9, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    Why are the PDNPA not pressuring the NT to ban driven grouse shooting?!
    Of course the NT should do that out of decency but their heirachy are stuck in a Victoria timeworp. The attitude of NT allowing driven grouse shooting to continue on their large estates in the NP, is the single most contributing factor to the abismal low raptor numbers in the Dark Peak.

  14. 20 ian rubery
    November 10, 2017 at 11:25 am

    Could it be that the Peak District National Park raise more funds the way it is, I wonder!

  15. 21 Simon Tucker
    November 10, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    Fine words butter no parsnips. I want to see action: action plans putting the onus on landowners to improve bio-diversity with targets for minimum numbers of predator species and individuals within those species, backed up by licensing and legislation.

    It is not going to happen until we get rid of the Tories, the monarchy, the hangers-on and other vermin.

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