thursmapThe Calder Valley is the first English constituency to reach 100 signatures on our e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting (highlighted in blue above).

It joins Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey (113 signatures) and Ross, Skye and Lochaber (110 signatures) in the ‘100 club’.

Yesterday the total number of signatures passed 18,000 signatures and we are still only in week 4 of this e-petition.  We are really motoring.

One of the reasons that the folk of Calder Valley are signing our e-petition is that they have been flooded several times in recent years and believe that this is partly because of the intense management of the grouse moors such as Walshaw Moor that sit above towns such as Hebden Bridge.

Drainage ditch on Walshaw Moor
Drainage ditch on Walshaw Moor

On Tuesday evening I spoke to the Exeter RSPB group and yesterday the East Surrey RSPB group: this evening it is the RSPB Central London group (St Columba’s Church Hall, Pont Street, SW1X 0BD, nearest tube stations: Knightsbridge, Sloane Square or South Kensington)!  Everywhere I go, I find people amazed and angered at what is happening to our Hen Harriers and to our uplands.

Thank you to everyone who has signed so far and to all those who are supporting this e-petition on social media.


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17 Replies to “18,000!”

  1. "Everywhere I go, I find people amazed and angered at what is happening to our Hen Harriers and to our uplands."
    ...and you're talking mainly, Mark, to the converted! It's great to see RSPB groups like the Central London local group that you are talking to tonight putting out supporting statements on social media. Get them all to sign tonight!

    1. 'Everywhere I go, I find people amazed and angered at what is happening to our Hen Harriers and to our uplands'; I was particularly pleased when a spike in signatories occurred along the southern Pennines after the proprietor of a noted northern Reggae sound system started spreading the word. I'm not expecting too much competition from the Moorland Association on that one!

  2. Thanks for all your hard work, Mark. The strategy of getting the message across to the grassroots RSPB membership is the way to go, seeing as the executive level has forgotten it started as a campaigning body. Too many marketing/accountancy/business types at the top of RSPB now, in my opinion.
    I came into this debate because of the persecution of the HH in Bowland (an area I have strong links to) but my eyes have been opened to the fact that it is a much larger problem through your enlightening blog and your book "Inglorious" [thanks also to raptorpersecutionscotland & raptor politics]. The gross mismanagement of our upland habitats for all the reasons you have highlighted is painful to me.
    When our RSPB membership expires this year we are re-directing our funds, plus any more we can spare, to charities which are trying to reverse the situation. We already support the Woodland Trust - they are currently trying to buy FC land to be a community forest at Loch Arkaig.
    I am considering the Scottish "Trees for Life" and "Border Forest Trust" but has anyone any suggestions for a northern English charity? I think supporting organisations which buy the moorland itself is the way to go - a long and expensive process but a start. Bio-diversity ahead of profit and exploitation is what I would like to see. I think in the long run this benefits local communities more than the feudal subservience to the wealthy which seems to be the norm in grouse-shooting areas today.
    Any suggestions then for worthwhile recipients for our spare cash?

    1. Carole, what about the relevant local Wildlife Trusts - in this case I guess the choices are Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cumbria and Derbyshire, although I'm not sure whether they are being proactive on the issue, or as ostrich-like as some of the other conservation charities. Be worth checking out for supporting either practically or financially. I know there are some Hen Harrier nest protection volunteers required.

      1. Thanks for the suggestions, Daphne. Lancs WT doesn't have any moorland reserves and has shown no interest in the HH problem as far as I can see. I have contacted them. Plus at the HH day last year in Bowland I spoke to two long-standing members who were disgusted with the indifference of LWT - seemed to think they were more interested in holding wedding events and business conferences at their lavish new HQ. I would love to be proved wrong about them but …..
        Yorkshire WT have only one small reserve - Fen Bog - which can be considered moorland (surrounded by muirburned grouse moors). Most of their reserves are lowland, coastal, meadows or woods. I already work as a volunteer on a reserve of theirs. Haven't been too impressed with the knowledge of some of their employees regarding the moorland management issues. Again, their backing for HH's is somewhat lacking despite (or because of) the fact that there are so many shooting estates in Yorkshire. And Yorkshire has a terrible reputation for raptor persecution.
        Northumberland WT seems to have about 4 reserves that are in moorland - I will investigate them further. I will also look at Derbyshire. But as Mark frequently remarks - have the Wildlife Trusts stood up and been counted on the driven grouse moor mismanagement or even the lead ammunition issues? I haven't heard of it.
        I want to support an environmental charity that is actively doing something for our uplands in England - and I can't find any!

      2. Sadly many NGOs are chasing funds to support core management as well as deliver 'projects' so a dilemma? Is it beyond the skills of the MBAs to devise a strategy which sees if not conservation or campaigning as priorities at least balanced against the cut throat marketing and membership spin?

        Sadly too there is much to suggest that YWT is no longer the campaigning organisation it once was. A case might also be made (as it has been on this blog) that it fails to listen to and work with local communities? Spurn visitor centre and E-On development which is perhaps aimed at encouraging ABP to base there and fund the carbuncle? Makes sound business sense but alienates local community and prospective members and legatees?

    2. Carole, I have a lot of sympathy for your opinion and had the same dilemma. However, I decided to retain my membership as I believe we can put more pressure on the RSPB from the inside. I take every opportunity to put my point of view across whenever I meet staff at any level! It saddens me that the RSPB have not fully committed to Mark's petition but I think they do have a commitment to protecting and conserving the Hen harrier. Mike Clarke, Jeff Knott and other staff members were present and spoke, at HH weekend in Buxton and RSPB Rainham Marshes are hosting the event this year. I have huge respect for the crime section who put themselves at risk monitoring and videoing potential criminal activity. Confronting men with guns or clubs is a hazardous job to say the least.
      The value to the natural environment of RSPB reserves and the international work they do in respect of saving albatrosses in the southern ocean and Indian vultures is worth my subscription alone.
      I agree these decisions are very difficult and we must all choose the best way to support the natural world in our own way.

  3. Keep it up Mark. I can only express my admiration for someone who works so tirelessly for a cause, but most importantly the right cause.

  4. Mark, I notice the petition is well past the number of signatures and time stated for a government response, but I can't find anything... am I not looking in the right place? Or if it's just not there yet, do you know how come?

    1. Daphne - no you haven't missed anything. they are clearly thinking very hard about what to say - although I suspect that the response when it comes will show very little sign of thought. Watch this space for I will definitely be talking about the response once it arrives. I seem to remember that if you signed the e-petition, which I am sure you have, then you will get an email when government responds.

  5. I'm sure I speak for most when I say how full of admiration I am for your perseverance and commitment, Mark. I just so wish that we were seeing more of these qualities from the leadership echelons of our wildlife NGOs. Perhaps someone should tell Tony Juniper, among others, that it's not enough just to write a book!

  6. Of note; of the top 8 signatory constituencies 6 have grouse moors, one (Sheffield Central) has grouse moors within a few miles, with only North Norfolk being in a non-grouse shooting area.

  7. Aye Mark well done on all your hard work, giving these talks must be quite demanding, but I imagine rewarding too and no doubt very productive. I managed to read Chris Packham's article about you in BBC Wildlife today and his praise is very well deserved indeed.

  8. Interesting idea that you have 'more say from the inside' Richard. What about the figure for those that have left the RSPB! 100,000 - 1 million. Who knows. I am sure they don't even know and sadly don't care. It's a numbers game. How can you get them to change? Are there too many masonic folk at the top? As so many have said 'change the Avocet for the Hen Harrier and when that job is done pick another poor thing which we have destroyed'.

    A recent E petition had over 300,000 votes and still the government would not debate it! In the past year the government has responded to 61 petitions over 100,000 and only 14 were debated in the House of Commons. Were these the ones that would not effect themselves!

    On the plus side if you have never visited the large areas owned by the Border Forest Trust you must and many of the excellent RSPB reserves around the country. That biggest word in the English Dictionary IF! If Mark had got the job would we be writing this now!


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