12
Sep
20

Northern England Raptor Forum statement on Hen Harrier 2020 breeding season

A couple of weeks ago Natural England published a press release (along with an interesting choice of ‘partners’ – the GWCT and Moorland Association) in which the 2020 hen harrier breeding season was pronounced ‘a wonderful result’ (see here).

It wasn’t ‘a wonderful result’ at all but Natural England and co put on a display worthy of a circus contortionist to make it appear so.

The RSPB wasn’t included in that press release – apparently they’d been asked to provide a quote but chose not to – instead the RSPB published its own statement, which reflected a much more honest evaluation of the state of the 2020 breeding season (see here).

Yesterday the Northern England Raptor Foum (NERF) published its own statement on the 2020 hen harrier breeding season and it doesn’t pull any punches. ‘The brass band can stand down‘.

You can read the full NERF statement (here) and here is an excerpt:

NERF is a member of the Raptor Persecution Priority Delivery Group [RPPDG], and as such is a consultee under Action 4 of NE’s Hen Harrier Recovery Plan. Yet when Natural England went in search of supporting comments for their press release they only published comments from the shooting industry. Perhaps Natural England would like to explain why that was the case. They may also want to explain why NERF wasn’t included in the list of organisations working in partnership for the benefit of Hen Harriers.

NERF is at the forefront of Hen Harrier nest finding and monitoring during the breeding season, ringing, satellite tagging and winter roost monitoring in partnership with the RSPB. Despite this, we weren’t approached for a comment when Natural England published their press release. If we had been asked for and provided a comment we doubt that it would have been published. Natural England should be in no doubt that without the dedication of NERF members who commit hundreds of voluntary hours to monitoring and self-fund thousands of miles to monitor Hen Harriers the species would be in a much worse state than it is currently.

Natural England has ballsed this up big time, and continues to stumble from one shambolic incident to the next, some with more serious consequences than others (e.g. see this blog (here) from Mark Avery this morning discussing how it appears Natural England has misled a Minister, either through intention or ineptitude).

More to come.


7 Responses to “Northern England Raptor Forum statement on Hen Harrier 2020 breeding season”


  1. 1 Paul
    September 12, 2020 at 5:44 pm

    Can we raise an action against Natural England? This is corruption through and through. Happy to crowd-fund.

    • 2 Mike Whitehouse
      September 13, 2020 at 9:41 am

      I was thinking along exactly the same lines. NE need holding to account as they have become part of the problem.

      Happy to crowd fund too.

  2. 3 Richard andrews
    September 12, 2020 at 5:49 pm

    natural england just like the tory government appearing corrupt and incompetent more by the day. Time for all representatives of the shooting industry to be kicked off the RPPDG. How can it ever achieve its aims when its diluted by members who dont really want raptors to increase on and around grouse moors. I doubt they ask drug dealers, cartels and smackheads to be involved in government policy and strategy to tackle drug dealing and rolf harris to advise on child protection. Utterly absurd.

  3. 4 R Stuart Craig
    September 12, 2020 at 6:09 pm

    Beautiful CIRCUS = Hen Harrier
    Stupid CIRCUS = Natural England Clowns
    Why don’t NE do the decent thing and resign en mass. They are not fit for purpose.

  4. 5 Leo Smith
    September 13, 2020 at 11:47 am

    Well said, NERF.
    It’s a tragedy that Natural England has been taken over by the Shooting Industry. The same thing happened in the NE review of the impact of releasing about 50 million Pheasants per year into the countryside, which was published as an NE report ( Ecological Consequences of Gamebird Releasing and Management on Lowland Shoots in England (NEER016) July 2020), but which was written by GWCT, resulting in the biases to be expected. NE is not fit for purpose, but is it in breach of its Statutory Obligations? Another case for Wild Justice, please.

  5. 6 Barney
    September 13, 2020 at 8:16 pm

    Get involved with the shooting fraternity and expect to be corrupted, there are many criminals within the ranks, natural England are now a lost cause

  6. 7 John L
    September 14, 2020 at 8:24 am

    Would it be fair to say the Natural England have not only let Hen Harriers down by bowing to the pressure from vested interests in land ownership, through schemes like Brood Management rather than strict enforcement of existing protection laws?
    But they have also failed to properly protect badgers, and again have crumbled to pressure from vested farming interests by continuing and expanding the badger cull??
    If anyone watched the BBC program Extinction yesterday evening- it is crystal clear that we can not go on managing the environment in the way we have.
    This will take a complete shift in the way we view the world.
    The question that needs to be asked of organisations like Natural England is – are you really up to the job?


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