E-petition passes 16,000 signatures – where is Defra’s response?


A little while before midday yesterday our e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting passed the 16,000 signature mark.  Thank you to all who have signed it already.

This is already, inside three months, the 9th most-signed e-petition aimed at Defra. And there are another seven months to go (there would be nine if it weren’t for the timing of the general election).

When such an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures, the responsible government department needs to respond to the people who have made the e-petition so successful. Our e-petition passed 10,000 signatures on 31 July but Defra, as we have come to expect, have snoozed through the last few weeks and have not yet roused themselves to respond.  I wonder why not? Maybe it is because their off-hand, badly argued, pathetically arrogant response to the previous e-petition on licensing grouse moors was so widely ridiculed that they know they must do better.

This gives Defra a bit of a problem. The status of the Hen Harrier has worsened through the years of this government, they have already ruled out vicarious liability and licensing of grouse shooting and their Hen Harrier group has stalled because of intransigence on the part of the shooting ‘community’.  What will Defra say? What is their initiative? Do they have any initiative? It seems not.

It seems that Hen Harriers are being hung out to dry by this government.




12 Replies to “E-petition passes 16,000 signatures – where is Defra’s response?”

  1. Mark, to carry on your laundry analogy, Defra’s delay is probably due to a lack of understanding of the label and whether to use spin. At least, in the not too distant future, we will have the opportunity to change our washing powder.

  2. I need car stickers for Save our HEN HARRIER more people will see this DEFRA are idle rubbish they don’t even know their own rules. I need help for our swans being kicked of several lakes (my area Solihull put there by council) and killed because of white none flying farm geese and Canada geese and told this is breaking the law no response from DEFRA we are a LAWLESS COUNTRY.

  3. wouldn’t it be nice if the delay was because we were going to get a positive, well thought out response? not sure what the odds of that are! (you’re a betting man Mark, what do you reckon?)
    Which defra section would it be? Can an FOI request uncover why the last response was so pathetic? Do we know anyone at DEFRA who could quietly give us the low-down?

  4. An excellent eight page critique by Peter Marren on the state of British Wildlife in the August edition of British Wildlife, p383 specifically mentions Hen Harrier! Quite rightly he is scathing in the most eloquent terms where it is needed. He is critical of Natural England’s figures but experience has often shown them to be selective in reporting (they are a Govt. agency after all) and they are most definitely subjected to too much dentistry treatment (1997 A Muzzled Watchdog), p389 Marren refers to his article where they promote access over nature conservation interest, they have taken the wrong path? He argues, quite rightly that we should respect and observerve nature rather than price it up like a property valuer.

    Then there’s a “Naturally opinionated” chap writing on p400 of the same journal seeking to understand why no continuing momentum after the publication of the ‘State of Nature’ report in Spring 2013. We are reminded that we too must play our parts and persuade the politicians to recognise the real value of the natural environment and promote it to its deserved status not continued abuse and assault for private profit.

    There are I think 254 days left until the General Election, let’s collectively collaborate and get the natural environment high on all parties political agenda. We have an opportunity to MAD? I’d really like to think so ….

  5. Don’t hold your breath. The new Defra Secretary of State, Liz Truss, an education expert, has clearly been put there with very clear instructions to halt the flow of bad news that has characterised Defra’s (or, to make a clear distinction & be fair to the civil servants, it’s Minister’s) performance through the last 4 years. Defra is tiny and doesn’t matter – unless it keeps producing bad news. It has gone to ground on the original, and biggest, fiasco – forest sales – and certainly won’t be getting involved in something as hairy as Hen Harriers – so wait for a response not from Defra, but from Natural England – after all, what’s the point of having these useless, obstructive quangos if they can’t be thrust out on the end of the toasting fork at awkward moments ? Remember Buzzardgate where it was fine to name an official doing what he had been told to do, but not the estate applying for the license.

  6. You say nature isn’t important to politicians, but the RSPB has a million members and the Wildlife Trusts & National Trusts lots too. That’s more than enough to swing an election. So if we can convince people to rate nature & quality of life higher than having slightly more money, surely the politico’s will start to listen.

  7. I had thought that one does not get a response to a particular petition until it reaches the end of its time hence for you Mark next March. Still we do need to keep the pressure on.

  8. Probably they have a few more pencils to chew their way through. Why don’t you blog the response you think you will get versus the response you think you ought to get and let’s see which is the closest?

  9. I want to protest against Grouse Shooting as it leads to birds of prey to be shot in order to prevent their eggs being destroyed.

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