Something from Defra

I had a response (yesterday evening) from Defra to my request for information on the Hen Harrier Sub-group.

Most of it is a series of e-mails trying to fix dates for meetings but there are just a few interesting bits too.

The information will also be published on www.govuk – good luck to you if you can find it.

***********************************************************************************************************************

These were some thoughts from the ‘Protected Landscapes’ (PL – which I take to mean National Parks and AONBs) representatives which were forwarded to all members of the group by Defra on 9 April 2014. They are interesting in setting out where National Parks had reached in their thinking.

 

Action 1: Monitoring of populations in England and UK
PLs support the continuation of monitoring of numbers in England, and the satellite tagging and tracking by NE and RSPB. Pls would also welcome data sharing that will enable them to contribute more to the co-ordinated monitoring of populations and protection of important Hen Harrier habitat.

Action 2: Diversionary Feeding
PLs welcome the research that is currently being undertaken and, where appropriate, will look to work with other organisations and landowners to implement the research findings when breeding attempts occur in PLs and where this is felt to be a requirement for successful breeding.

Action 3: Work with Raptor Persecution Priority Delivery Group CRPPDGl to analyse monitoring information and build intelligence picture
PLs welcome the collation of raptor persecution data, and where appropriate, support work with other organisations and landowners to implement the advice on the most effective enforcement and deterrent measures, including involvement in publicity and raising awareness – with local agreement between partners. We would wish to see longer term surety for the NWCU and further prioritising of the Hen Harrier in its work.

Action 4: Nest and winter roost protection
Where appropriate and locally agreed, PLs will work with statutory agencies, NGOs & landowners to provide a co-ordinated approach to nest and winter roost monitoring.

Action 5: Lowland Reintroduction
PLs welcome any conservation measures that will improve the conservation status of Hen Harriers in England. However, the action plan needs to ensure that any measures undertaken in the lowlands of southern England do not detract from the prioritisation of funding and focus in the uplands. The objective of re-establishing breeding Hen Harriers populations in the uplands of the north of England must be the priority for any available funding ahead of any introduction programme. The objective of re-establishing breeding Hen Harriers populations in the uplands of the north of England, including the protected landscapes is critical.

Action 6: Trial Brood Management Scheme

PLs agree with the principle of brood management but only as part of an integrated strategy, that includes the use of other measures such as diversionary feeding, for the conservation of Hen Harriers. The scheme would only be supported once numbers have increased to pre-agreed minimum thresholds that are appropriate for the conservation of Hen Harriers, and without significantly restricting the breeding range across northern England.

**********************************************************************************************************************

From RSPB (name withheld) to Chris de Grouchy, Defra on 21 May 2014.

Hi Chris

Following your chat with [name blanked out] last week, we’ve now had chance to discuss your suggestions for the Hen Harrier Action Plan (HHAP). We think your thoughts and ideas could lead to the genuine recovery of the hen harrier population in England and are keen to explore them further. Here are some comments on taking this to the next stage:
1. A crackdown on persecution
In 2007-08, Operation Yatta (based within the National Wildlife Crime Unit) focused on utilising seconded Detectives to target wildlife crime enforcement efforts towards the serious and organised element of bird of prey persecution. As part of the HHAP, our ‘red line’ is that we want to see a number of Detective-level Wildlife Crime Officers in persecution ‘hotspot’ areas and a Coordinator to work on raptor persecution. We would be prepared to consider part-funding of this activity and we know such a scheme will be costly.

2. A two-tier approach to the Brood Management Scheme (i.e. within SPAs, the hen harrier population target is the SPA designation level, and the BMS can only apply after it is reached. Outside, the BMS could begin earlier with a presumption that this is still triggered by reaching a threshold and that diversionary feeding is in place first)
As you know, we accept that a brood management scheme could be included in the HHAP and merits experimental investigation in England in the future, but only once hen harrier numbers have recovered to a pre-agreed level nationally and less interventionist approaches, particularly diversionary feeding, have been widely attempted. This is our ‘red line’. We would like to see further details of a two-tier approach, given that it gives us confidence our red line would not be crossed, but we urge you to consider legal scrutiny of the new proposals. Once we see firmer proposals, we can offer our legal analysis but we would suggest, in particular, early consideration of a) Section 16 WCA licensing implications and b) the possible adverse effects of brood management on SPAs and whether the derogation tests can be met.

 

 

 

Likes(17)Dislikes(3)
Website Pin Facebook Twitter Myspace Friendfeed Technorati del.icio.us Digg Google StumbleUpon Premium Responsive

Get email notifications of new blog posts

Registration confirmation will be emailed to you.


6 Replies to “Something from Defra”

  1. Already this entry has given me information I didn't have before. In the other epetition the statement is made 'Since January 2014 Defra could have published the plan; but has not'. Clearly by May 2014 this group was still very much in a comment and discussion stage and no further forward. Knowing how quickly such discussions progress I would have thought we are a long way from any agreement if such a thing is possible.

    I presume from the way you have worded this we can look forward to many more disclosures from this FOI.

    Likes(3)Dislikes(0)
  2. Whilst there appear to be positives here, surely diversionary feeding and brood management are clear examples of compromising with criminals. Where else in society would this happen? The people we are dealing with have shown beyond doubt that they wont be happy until they have exterminated hen harriers on their upland breeding grounds. There is only one solution. Ban driven grouse shooting. Persuade everyone you can to sign Marks petition.

    Likes(19)Dislikes(6)
  3. I believe the HHAP to be the best compromise for this issue. As long as it is implemented correctly and as stated, I believe both sides of the debate should be sufficiently satisfied with the compromise. I do however believe the withholding of a brood management scheme until "a pre-agreed level" has been reached to be catch- 22. In order to achieve Action Point 5 and yes, prevent the illegal persecution of the Hen Harrier I believe brood management schemes will help achieve this. I believe extending the range of the Hen Harrier population may decrease persecution as in my opinion, persecution appears to occur more where there are high densities of Hen Harriers- and subsequent fear that this will negatively impact grouse moors- not because of a low lying Hen Harrier presence in an area; which has been agreed by the major Game Keeping Organisations to be manageable in terms of driven grouse moor management.

    Likes(6)Dislikes(8)
    1. Hattie - thank you for your comment and welcome. Although I'm not sure what you mean by 'I do however believe the withholding of a brood management scheme until "a pre-agreed level" has been reached to be catch- 22. In order to achieve Action Point 5 and yes, prevent the illegal persecution of the Hen Harrier I believe brood management schemes will help achieve this.'

      Likes(3)Dislikes(2)
      1. Totally agree with Paul Frost. We must never agree to compromising with criminals!
        "Where else in society would this happen"
        Those game keepers, estate managers & their clients care nothing about protecting Hen Harriers! Or any raptors for that matter!!! and hantil they have exterminated hen harriers on their upland breeding grounds

        Likes(0)Dislikes(1)

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.