FoI Friday – 5

welcomeThis is a copy of my earlier blog post but now including the Peak District National Park’s rapid and helpful response to points 1 and 2.  They tell me that they are checking on point 3 now.


Dear Peak District National Park

This is a request under the Freedom of Information regulations, but in any case you should be happy to answer it.

Please answer the following:

  1. Did the PDNP contact The Times newspaper by email, letter or telephone concerning Simon Barnes’s articles about raptor persecution in the Peak District?  I ask, because it has been suggested to me that you might have done. A rapid straight ‘no’ would suffice if that is the answer.
  2. If the answer to question 1 is ‘yes’, please send me details of what you wrote or said and any replies that you received.
  3. Are you aware (perhaps through being copied in) of any other representations made by others on this subject? I’m not sure this falls under FoI – you had better check – but I’d still like to know the answer please.

Many thanks


Mark Avery


I am grateful to the PDNP for a copy of the following letter which was sent by them to The Times but not published:



Simon Barnes is right to shine a light on the sad and unacceptable level of persecution of birds of prey on some Peak District grouse moors.

However, he misses important facts and is blaming the wrong people.

Simon Barnes appears to associate the Authority with the  illegal actions taking place. Nothing is further from the truth. We wholly condemn illegal persecution of wildlife. Our policies and staff on the ground focus only on supporting land managers who protect wildlife. If we discover any illegal activity we report it to the police.

Moreover, Simon Barnes fails to explain that bird of prey populations have recovered well across much of the national park in recent decades. There is, for example, a good breeding record of goshawk across much of the national park and peregrines have recolonised  successfully important historical sites such as The Roaches.

There is clear evidence of a problem with persecution of hen harrier, goshawk and peregrine associated with some grouse moors. That is where the problem lies. The individuals who own and manage those moors should be accountable and the target of any censure, not the hard working staff of the National Park who labour tirelessly for the conservation of this landscape and its wildlife with good effect.

Cllr Tony Favell MBE

Chairman of the Peak District National Park Authority

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4 Replies to “FoI Friday – 5”

  1. Busy day today for you Mark,several blogs.
    Guess the Peak Park are responsible body but like all other bodies find it impossible to stop the persecution of raptors.It will need serious deterrents to allow raptors to prosper in the uplands.

  2. Mark

    This is all of our correspondence with The Times. Your 3rd q asked whether we were copied in to anyone else's. That's what we 're checking. Could you make this clear on your website.


  3. Mark,
    Wishful thinking!
    Perhaps the Peak Park Authority could take over responsibility for running the Bowland Fell, for sure they could not do any worst than the present lot when it comes to protecting birds of prey. Yes we must take account of this year's Hen Harrier successes on one single estate however, we will have wait and see what happens when the fledged young cross estate boundaries onto the bad lands that surround them on all sides won't we.

    Only 4 years ago The Forest of Bowland had a reasonably healthy population of peregrine falcons distributed across all but two estates, at least 17 nesting pairs. Last year and again this season only one nest in each year fledged a single male chick. This situation is significant, a single MALE who eats less prey, no female chicks. There was a second productive territory in Bowland located on a private estate that did fledge, you guest it, a male chick but curiously both adult falcons disappeared from the territory before the chick could become independent and was able to fend for itself. Last time I saw the chick it was flying across from one end of the moor to the other calling for food and very distressed. Despite waiting all day to see if the parents returned to feed their off-spring, the male falcon was left to fend for himself. Without any response from his parents throughout the whole day I'm afraid the future looked very bleak for this bird.


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