Grouse-shooting estate under investigation for alleged breach of hen harrier diversionary feeding licence

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about how observers had filmed an estate employee, accompanied by a Natural England employee, placing out diversionary food for a nesting pair of hen harriers on a grouse moor in North Yorkshire (see here).

Given that the female harrier was only in the early stages of incubation, the timing of this diversionary feeding looked to be in clear breach of the CL25 licence, a licence issued by Natural England to grouse moor managers to permit diversionary feeding ONLY after the eggs have hatched.

I wrote to Natural England to ask whether any enforcement action would take place and if so, what it would be.

Natural England responded to my enquiry last week, as follows:

I’ve written back to NE and asked when a decision might be expected.

I’ll keep you posted.

8 Responses to “Grouse-shooting estate under investigation for alleged breach of hen harrier diversionary feeding licence”

  1. 1 Alex Milne
    May 4, 2021 at 2:48 pm

    It is excellent that there is someone such as yourself willing to pursue these issues. Unfortunately it is not possible to keep the likes of NE honest as they have no intention to be honest, but I’m sure that it does improve matters.

  2. 2 Gerard
    May 4, 2021 at 3:33 pm

    “Enforcement and Appeals Team?” I would put in an FOI request for paperwork pertaining to the remit, previous meeting etc of, highly unlikely to exist, “Enforcement and Appeals Team.” It all sounds a bit like “the kick the can down the road team,” to me.

  3. 3 Paul V Irving
    May 4, 2021 at 4:01 pm

    Interesting, my only experience of this team was some long time ago and they were then terribly slow in making a decision. I assume you know which estate but are keeping it quiet for the sake of the Harriers.

  4. 4 Keith Dancey
    May 4, 2021 at 4:39 pm

    Are Natural England investigating themselves (for breaching their own license conditions)? Are they both Judge and Jury in their own cause?

    • 5 Nick Moyes
      May 4, 2021 at 6:37 pm

      Whether or not Natural England is both “Judge and Jury”, it’ll be the game-keeping community which acts as the Executioner, as usual.

  5. 6 WTF
    May 4, 2021 at 6:53 pm

    As it was too early for diversionary feeding and as visits should not be undertaken to nests where birds are incubating (unless it’s suspected that there’s a problem) can anyone come up with a good reason for the visit having taken place? If it had been for some genuine purpose, such as security marking the eggs, I would have thought that NE would have told us by now.

  6. 7 Denise Jones
    May 5, 2021 at 7:33 pm

    I am against hunting, mother nature has given us a wonderful range of animals to enjoy, but Not to kill. I get so distressed about this issue and it is a cowardly practice. The odds are not in favour of the animals and its not fair. If I had my way I would ban all hunting

  7. 8 Bob Crook
    May 6, 2021 at 6:23 am

    Firstly NE claims that there was not a problem in the visit, now, they are investigating (of a sorts) a breach of License. Come on Tony Juniper, you are supposed to be a conservation champion – not a ringmaster of some freak circus ! Where will it all end ?

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