Search Results for: natural england

Guest Post | Hunting on Protected Sites – Another Natural England Cover Up?

“In October 2020 I saw a pack of hunting dogs rampaging over open moorland above Bradfield, South Yorkshire. Almost all Pennine moors are designated as conservation areas, administered by Natural England, the key Government adviser for nature and the environment. Bradfield Moors is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Special Protection Area for ground nesting birds and a Special Area of Conservation for rare blanket bog habitat. The landowner has banned the public from taking dogs onto this moor because of the threat to wildlife, so what was going on? I will be appealing to Natural England and the Information Commissioner to find out why enforcement action was not taken and ask Olivia Blake MP to get on the case as well. In my opinion, this is yet another example of Natural England overlooking illegal activity by rich landowners.” Guest post by Bob Berzins

Continue reading

Natural England and FOI data on Hen Harriers

Natural England comes in for a huge amount of flak because as the government’s conservation watchdog we need it to be effective – but it clearly isn’t. The appointment of Tony Juniper as NE Chair in March 2019 brought a brief flicker of hope that the department would take up the fight for wildlife again, but that hasn’t transpired. NE’s support for the slaughter of badgers to protect dairy farming is an especially egregious example, and there are far too many cases of NE supporting the shooting industry (they work very closely with shooting lobbyists BASC for example and have blocked access to countryside to help out a shoot adjacent to an SSSi in Wiltshire). Surely though NE aren’t deliberately hiding information from the public? After all, it’s we ‘the public’ that fund Natural England. Data on where these birds are being killed comes via satellite-tags that we the taxpayer are buying. We fund the staff working on collecting the data. And of course we pay them to run the epically stupid Hen Harrier ‘brood meddling’ scheme which sees Hen Harrier chicks moved from grouse moors to ‘protect them’ from illegal killing on grouse moors before re-releasing them back into the countryside when of course they fly back to the grouse moors and are illegally killed…

Continue reading

Natural England protects shoot from ‘disturbance’

A tweet showing a Natural England sign which restricts access to land to ‘avoid disturbance to game and disruption to shooting’ has (rightly) gone viral (kudos @KeggieC). What on earth is Natural England – the government’s adviser for the natural environment in England. “We help to protect and restore our natural world” – doing? A quick internet search leads us to a Notice of Relevant Authority Decision following review of Direction restricting CROW Access rights, and that’s when things really start to stink…It turns out the public is shut out of open access land because there may be disturbance to non-native birds ‘pre-season’, during the season, and possible disruption to the shoot on shoot days! Shut out BY NATURAL ENGLAND. Because of DISTURBANCE to a bloody shoot. Astounding…

Continue reading

Natural England and BASC produce shooting report

So, months after Wild Justice made a legal challenge over the failure of the government department ‘looking after’ the environment (DEFRA) to assess the impacts of the unregulated release of tens of millions of non-native ‘gamebirds’ on sites of conservation importance for the ‘sport’ of shooting, Natural England and the shooting lobby organisation BASC (known as The Wildfowlers’ Association of Great Britain and Ireland long before the word ‘conservation’ was hijacked by people with guns) have joined forces to commission a report written by Dr Joah Madden of Exeter University and Rufus Sage (Head of lowland gamebird research at GWCT). Unsurprisingly there will be no pause in the killing…

Continue reading

Natural England props up the shooting industry again

We’ve written extensively about the problem facing Hen Harriers (and that is problem not problems – the UK’s most persecuted bird faces one serious threat to its UK population and that’s relentless persecution from the shooting industry). We’ve also looked at the ‘plan’ whereby Defra (and thus ultimately Natural England) ignores the legal protections given to Hen Harriers via a farcical ‘brood meddling’ scheme which blatantly supports that same shooting industry by allowing them to remove Hen Harrier chicks from grouse moors and raise them somewhere else. And now we’re going to write about it again because more and more people are reading blogs like these to understand what’s going on….

Continue reading

Guest post: Gill Lewis | Natural England, wild Peregrines, and Falconry

“The decision by Natural England to licence a falconer, Gary Wall, to remove peregrines from the wild, has exploded across social media. If this has taken Natural England by surprise, it shouldn’t have. Peregrines are much loved birds. A rebound in their numbers after suffering huge declines in the 1960s and 1970s has inspired conservationists and birders everywhere – and writers too. Their fortunes are still mixed though. While they are not the rarity they once were, peregrines are still widely persecuted on shooting estates and are more successful in urban areas than in rural ones. Interfering with peregrines ruffles feathers.” Guest blog by Gill Lewis

Continue reading

Update | Help stop badger culling adding to England’s Biodiversity catastrophe

Excellent news from the desk of one of the UK’s busiest ecologists – Tom Langton. Tom was recently given permission (after much pushback from Defra), to challenge the so-called ‘badger cull’ in the High Court and set up a crowdfunder. After a slow start the fund raising is going really well, and the challenge has been moved forward because of the government’s plans to move forward with supplementary killing of protected animals across large areas of the country. And the bit about England’s ‘biodiversity catastrophe’? Astonishingly for all our self-congratulations about being a ‘country of animal lovers’, we have lost so many of our animals (and plants) that the UK as a whole is one of the most nature-depleted countries n the world and a recent report from the RSPB, using data compiled by the Natural History Museum, published ahead of last week’s G7 Summit, found that the UK is the worst nation in the G7 for the volume of wildlife and wild spaces lost due to human activity. Which is yet another reason why we need to be protecting what is left of our biodiversity.

Continue reading

RSPB | Analysis shows that burning of moorlands is biggest threat to England’s SSSis

It’s not been a good ‘season’ for the horrible grouse shooting industry. There has been poor weather, heather beetle, low productivity, exposure of ‘wilful blindness’ on Channel 4 News, councils in England calling for bans on moorland burning, and the Scottish government giving higher protection to Mountain Hares and saying they were planning to bring in a grouse moor licencing system as patience had finally (after a VERY long time) run out at the level of raptor persecution by gamekeepers. Now, just a few months after calling for a ban on peatland burning, (and just days after shooting lobbyist Alex Hogg kept a straight face while describing grouse moors as ‘paradise for birdwatchers – see Alex Hogg knows nothing about birdwatching’), the RSPB have released news of an analysis that says – contrary to what the shooting industry claims – that – er, setting fire to Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) is not actually a very good thing at all…who knew, eh…

Continue reading