FoI request to Defra

Dear Defra

Please supply me with copies of any communications (emails or letters dated April-September 2014) between Defra and the participants in the Defra Hen Harrier Sub-Group of the Uplands Stakeholder Forum concerning Hen Harriers and/or grouse shooting and/or the progress on the drafting of a joint report.

Thank you,

Dr Mark Avery (


PS Isn’t it a little strange that the search engine on the Defra website does not provide any information on this group when I search for ‘Hen Harrier’ (only a speech by a former grouse-shooting grouse moor-owning Minister and some information on a Special Protection Area for Birds which hasn’t been updated for a year).

Nor does your search engine deliver anything that appears relevant when I enter ‘Defra Uplands Stakeholder Forum’. Are you sure you have such a body? If not, you’d better tell the GWCT because they have been banging on about it for weeks and yet you, Defra, seem to be keeping it hidden from we the electorate and the taxpayers.

You may remember, but if not, I do, that our Prime Minister (at around the time he promised us the ‘greenest government ever’) also promised that ‘Greater transparency across Government is at the heart of our shared commitment to enable the public to hold politicians and public bodies to account‘. I’d be interested to hear how a website that doesn’t return any information on the Upland Stakeholder Forum (let alone its much talked-about Hen Harrier sub-group) meets those standards.

PPS I thought your response to my e-petition on banning driven grouse shooting was execrable.

Website Pin Facebook Twitter Myspace Friendfeed Technorati Digg Google StumbleUpon Premium Responsive

Get email notifications of new blog posts

Registration confirmation will be emailed to you.

15 Replies to “FoI request to Defra”

    1. Henry - it is just a mention isn't it? And not of the sub-group, or its composition, or terms of reference, or timetable, or minutes etc.

      But they do mention Hen Harriers thus 'whilst other species notably the hen harrier have all but been lost as upland breeding species.'. And that's it. No mention of why - like people kill them!

      1. true - it would be interesting to compare it with other stakeholder groups and sub groups of stakeholder groups to see if it is treated any differently

  1. Have they made a response to the 'other' grouse/harrier e-petition - the (no) joint plan one? I've not seen it mentioned but might have missed when out of modern communications range for a week recently

  2. I admire your tenacity, as I said to you at the AFON conference, you continue to inspire me to take action!
    PS Your PPS was 'sweet'

  3. Also that Natural England website is to be subsumed into GOV.UK one so it looks like they're continuing to roll out the theme of open transparent &c.?

    1. Indeed, Natural England was created as a Non-Departmental Public Body, but seems to have become an arm of Government with relatively little debate or consultation.

      1. John - NE has become an arm of government. That was what the Tory part of this coalition government decided when it came into power.

  4. The Times - 29 Sept 14
    "Greens 'harming world'. Measures to combat climate change may be doing more harm than good, a former environment secretary has said. Owen Paterson told a fringe event at the Conservative party conference that environmentalists had failed to explain an 18 year plus 'pause' in global warming and he was concerned that attempts to counter 'projected dangers' may be causing more damage."

    Me thinks that people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

    Question: why are we paying for a Defra when it appears not to be doing anything within its remit. Perhaps the next move will be to merge it with Trade & Industry.
    Not so much a democracy - more a dictatorship.

  5. Yes NE have been emasculated. I cannot help but feel that we are asking the wrong questions in our justifiable attempts to get to the bottom of the harrier "stinkpit" . Defra will never tell us where the harriers died, they will hide behind protecting the guilty (or innocent) we need to get at that data in a different way. All this FOI request will do if anything is confirm what absolute ----holes most of the shoot lobby are. They are of course just that lobby or pressure groups and if a decent plan is ever agreed ( and I for one would rather have a good plan rather tha a quick one) the key issue is that many of us believe that THEY CANNOT DELIVER.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.