Letter to my MP

To Andy Sawford MP


Dear Andy


I hope this finds you well.

I am writing to enlist your support in getting some information out of Defra – in fact, I wonder whether you could check whether anyone is at home in that department.

I have made several FOI requests to Defra via my blog and Twitter which have not received a reply nor even been acknowledged, so I wonder whether you could ask Defra for the following information, please?


Please supply me with copies of any communications (emails or letters dated 1 April – 14 October 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.

Did a Minister see and approve the Defra response to John Armitage’s e-petition on the licensing of grouse moors? If so, which Minister?

Did a Minister see and approve the Defra response to my e-petition calling for a ban on driven grouse shooting? If so, which Minister?

What interests, financial or otherwise, do current or past Defra Ministers have personally (including through close family) in grouse shooting in the UK? Please cover the period 2012 to the present.


I’d be very grateful for your help at getting to the bottom of what Defra’s doing on the subject of protecting the Hen Harrier in England through answers to these questions.  There should be over 300 pairs of this bird nesting in northern England but this year there were just four. The difference, over 300 pairs of a fully protected bird, is due to illegal persecution by grouse shooting interests.  This might well be a subject for the Labour Party manifesto – how about a ban on driven grouse shooting?  Over 18,000 people have signed my e-petition calling for a ban on driven grouse shooting mentioned above. You’ll find that it is the 19th most-signed of all e-petitions currently available for signature on the No 10 website.


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10 Replies to “Letter to my MP”

  1. DEFRA will no doubt be asking themselves the same question as everyone else:

    'How can you justify banning grouse shooting in England when there is absolutely no evidence of hen harrier persecution on grouse moors in England?'

    Thanks for removing my earlier comment, for no good reason.

    Predictable. Sad.

    1. Monro - that'll be why Defra set up a group to talk about Hen Harrier persecution, no doubt?

      I haven't removed any of your many repetitive comments that have been published here. i have not published a few of them that were attempts to repeat your views on every single post on this blog whether or not they were relevant, contained untrue allegations about myself that you have had to retract or were merely repetitive.

      Your bizarre views are tolerated here - but I don't see any reason for letting you repeat the same points over and over again (particularly since you already have).

  2. Yes, persecution wherever it takes place, and quite right too.

    But there is no incontrovertible evidence of any hen harrier persecution in England by English grouse shooting interests, which is what your petition is about.

    This comment truncated by Mark

  3. A response from DEFRA properly addressing the illegal persecution of protected birds? A response from DEFRA properly addressing a request for information contained in the remit of their FOI duties? Hmm. Not likely. If the response I received from writing to DEFRA is anything to go by, it is clear they have no intention in taking any real steps to end the illegal persecution of England's 'protected' birds and specifically to protect the Hen Harrier. As coined by John Heywood: 'There are none so blind as those who will not see...'

  4. "There should be over 300 pairs of this bird nesting in northern England but this year there were just four".

    By the same logic, there should be thousands of pairs of lapwing and avocets successfully fledging young on the RSPB's reserves, but there are hardly any compared to what "there should be". I am sure resources and attention are better directed at free-falling farmland bird populations than an internationally widespread raptor that's rated as "least concern" by the IUCN.

    Why the infatuation with HH's?

    1. BP - why the infatuation with the RSPB?

      For my part, the 'infatuation' with the Hen Harrier is that it isn't much rarer than it should be in the UK because of unwanted and unforeseen consequences of legal activities, it's rare because people kill it deliberately and illegally for a peculiar sport.


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