High Court rules decision to licence hen harrier brood meddling was lawful

Mrs Justice Lang has today handed down her ruling on the lawfulness of Natural England’s decision to issue a hen harrier brood meddling licence, after a judicial review was brought by Mark Avery and the RSPB (see here).

Download her judgement here: HH brood meddling judgement_March2019

She has judged Natural England’s decision to issue a brood meddling licence to be lawful as it has been issued for ‘research’ purposes and not for conservation purposes.

Mark Avery (here) and the RSPB (here) have published their initial responses to this judgement.

We won’t say anything further until we hear whether either or both parties intend to appeal the judgement.

[An unmeddled hen harrier, photo by Laurie Campbell]

15 Responses to “High Court rules decision to licence hen harrier brood meddling was lawful”

  1. March 15, 2019 at 12:51 pm

    Extremely disappointing and just plain wrong.
    If it was for research purposes, which is a load of baloney, it would be time limited, it isn’t it is a called a ‘Plan’ for that very reason FFS.
    Even it was for research it is research for conservation purposes.
    A sad day for Hen Harriers.

  2. March 15, 2019 at 1:31 pm

    Important to remember that whether it goes ahead or not the results of such meddling will not put a shine on driven grouse shooting.
    Tagged fledged young harriers, meddled or not, will continue to be killed and will gradually nail down the DGS coffin lid.

    Keep up the pressure !

  3. 5 Paul V Irving
    March 15, 2019 at 2:20 pm

    If its legal because it is research for conservation and not conservation itself, because this judgment implies it would probably be illegal as a conservation proposal what the F*** is the point of the research as it can never be used.

  4. 7 SOG
    March 15, 2019 at 2:53 pm

    Over at Mark’s blog, comments are made about the scientific method and the need for ‘control’ nests for comparison purposes. It’s well worth a visit.

  5. March 15, 2019 at 3:09 pm

    De Omnibus Dubitandum gave a link to the full judgement on Mark’s site
    It is very interesting reading.
    I thought this extract from the judgement may soon provide a way to issue another challenge, if NE do not decide to stop the trial themselves “The scientific advisory group’s mandatory annual reports to NE will form part of the monitoring exercise.” I assume that even if the results of the ‘trial’ will not be available for more than 5 years if estates sufficiently participate, this annual report should be available via a FOI.
    We know that tagged Hen Harriers have a loss not recovered rate of over 40%. How many tagged birds (they are all to be tagged) could the validity of the ‘trial’ sustain? In another part of the judgement, it was mentioned that a loss of a single bird could damage the status. If over 40% of the birds don’t make it on to a list of live birds at the end of the first year, what does this say about the validity of the research/trial?

  6. 9 Loki
    March 15, 2019 at 9:27 pm

    Disappointing. Why don’t they brood meddle the grouse rather than the hen harrier? Then they can release the grouse fledglings without fear of one or two being picked off by a hen harrier (which would probably rather have a meadow pipit or a vole)?
    Our country gets barmier by the day.

  7. 10 Loki
    March 15, 2019 at 9:34 pm

    Yeah switching to Mark’s site – at least he allows freedom of speech…

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