Natural England refuses to release Hen Harrier Brood Meddling Plan

Natural England continues its tirade of a lack of transparency and public accountability in relation to the Hen Harrier Action Plan.

As regular blog readers will know, we’ve spent over a year trying to get details about the most controversial part of the HH Action Plan – the brood meddling scheme. Natural England has point blank refused almost every single FoI request we’ve submitted on this subject, citing concerns about how publication might ‘prejudice’ the on-going licence application for brood meddling (from Natural England, to, er Natural England).

We did, however, manage to get something out of Natural England in late November 2017 – we blogged about it here.

Part of what we learned was that the Brood Meddling Team (including representatives from GWCT, Hawk & Owl Trust, Moorland Association, Natural England, International Centre for Birds of Prey, and Aberdeen University) had held a meeting in June 2017 to discuss the draft Hen Harrier Brood Management Plan.

Naturally, we were keen to see this draft Brood Meddling Plan so we asked Natural England for a copy.

True to form, Natural England has refused:

In many respects Natural England’s refusal to be upfront about anything to do with hen harriers will not come as a surprise to anybody. However, we were surprised at this particular refusal given that the draft brief for the proposed reintroduction of hen harriers to southern England HAS been released after several FoI attempts (see here).

Hmm. What is in the Brood Meddling Plan that Natural England doesn’t want anyone to see?

Silly old us, eh? Wanting to see how Natural England is abusing our taxes to remove hen harriers from grouse moors.

We won’t have to wait long to find out. Natural England has previously told us that the brood meddling licence application, that has been under consideration for about 9 months, should be completed “by the end of the year”. Assuming the licence is approved, Natural England will have to release it, and the associated brood meddling plan, for public scrutiny.

7 Responses to “Natural England refuses to release Hen Harrier Brood Meddling Plan”

  1. 1 Paul V Irving
    December 18, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    They must know that most of us out here interested in Hen Harriers are totally opposed to this ludicrous plan pandering to the criminal cabal that is grouse shooting. They are hoping that they can keep there plans secret as long as possible to try and evade and disrupt any possible legal challenges. I for one am quite determined that if such a plan were to involve a nest I had an interest in they will have to physically get me out of the way and I am sure there will be many out here feeling the same way.
    I know at least one NE employee who has said if he is expected to be involved with this he will resign.

    • December 18, 2017 at 7:24 pm

      It may be that they consider that any brood management proposals may not stand up to scrutiny and would jeopardise any credible resistance to calls for the licensing of grouse moors. I think it very likely that differences of opinion exist within NE, and is a scheme that cannot possibly meet with the approval of the taxpaying public when the proposal comes to light.

    • 3 Loki
      December 18, 2017 at 8:39 pm

      Well said, Paul.

  2. 4 Loki
    December 18, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    Why are Aberdeen university involving themselves in this sham? Have they given a position statement?

    • 5 Dylanben
      December 18, 2017 at 9:51 pm

      Could it be that the existence of this part of their plan is currently as factual as David Davis’s Brexit Impact Statements? I suspect that they’re hanging on to see whether they grant themselves a licence. Lewis Carroll is alive and well – working for NE!

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