Trusted trustees (1) – Lord Peel

Lord Peel is the first in a new series of blogs introducing you to the trustees, chairs and patrons of wildlife and environmental charities etc.  The idea is to let you know who is running or has a senior, perhaps albeit largely honorary, position in your favourite, or least favourite, charity.

I have a few trustees etc in mind to feature here but I’ll need your help to keep this going because I don’t have the staying power to look at every list of trustees for every environmental charity (and they change every year too!) and then look up who they are and what are their interesting backgrounds. So please let me know, by email to [email protected], of anyone you think should feature here (and why!).

from wikipedia

Lord Peel is a patron of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust – funnily enough the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust has not yet supported Findlay Wilde’s thunderclap in support of the Hen Harrier.  Lord Peel was also a former President of the GWCT and is still a grouse moor owner at Grinton in the Yorkshire Dales.

Some years ago Peel sold the prized grouse moor of Gunnerside to US tycoon Robert Miller (see Inglorious pp63-4 for a little more information) which was probably rather a wrench, but needs must as they say.

In his day job, Lord Peel is Lord Chamberlain which is a bit like being the Queen’s chief operating officer. Lord Peel has to visit the House of Lords now and again as a messenger between the monarch and the Lords – he is an elected crossbench member of the Lords.  Due, I guess to his current job he rarely votes in the Lords and his voting record doesn’t tell us much about him really – except he is (or at least was), unsurprisingly  (but we mustn’t prejudge) against a ban on fox hunting.  When you look at voting records some strange phrases come up – I couldn’t help but smile when I saw ‘Earl Peel voted yes on Sodomy: Scotland’ but I didn’t look further into exactly what that meant.

As Deputy Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, a former member of the Yorkshire Dales National Park (hotspot of raptor persecution) and obviously a member of the great and the good, Lord Peel was obvious trustee material for the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust where he was President for many years.

I’ve met Lord Peel, Willie Peel, several times but not for many years.  I like him, though I don’t think I agree with him very much about how the world should be and who ought to be running it.  One senior conservation figure once said to me that Lord Peel had lovely hands – or did I mis-hear? – perhaps that was lovely lands. I wonder how John Lawton and Willie Peel get on – probably very well provided that they steer away from some subject.



8 Replies to “Trusted trustees (1) – Lord Peel”

  1. When I first became more interested, via Hen Harrier persecution, in the management of our uplands in Yorkshire where I live, I looked for the moorland nature reserves managed by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. Guess what? None – except a small bit of bog in the N.York Moors. Then a pretty good piece of moorland with great wildlife potential came up for sale with a not unreasonable price tag, so I contacted the Trust. Guess what? No interest. Funny that.
    Then Lord Peel is married to……..Nicholas Soames’ sister. I remember him from the Westminster debate!
    I think it’s a great idea to look at the Trustees of our conservation organisations – a sort of “follow the money”. But, if they are not the right people for the post, how can we remove them?? They are usually people of power & influence (not necessarily the preferred influence).

  2. Willie Peel one of the reasons I have never been a YWT member. There are others Black-necked Grebes at Wheldrake Ings, Ripon City Quarry and the Spurn Centre all immediately spring to mind but it is the grouse moor connection that is the worst. When he owned Gunnerside it had a reputation shall we say, as does Grinton!

    1. The ‘reputation’ of Gunnerside has increased considerably since Mr Miller took over.

      1. Indeed Martin, as with all moors managed by Osborne!
        I also note an absence of support for Hen Harrier Day from the YWT. They are however involved in a Peat Restoration project on one grouse moor in Nidderdale ( a raptor black hole). Something I believe should not be funded except by the estates themselves due to enforcement action by NE.

  3. I’m not entirely clear on the sub-text behind this proposed series of blogs. Lord Peel is indeed a patron of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and was President many years ago. I understand from one of our older trustees that he was extremely helpful in setting up Potteric Carr nature reserve (now a breeding site for black necked grebes, bittern and marsh harrier). But this must have been years ago. In the 11 years that I’ve been Chief Executive of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, I’ve had no dealings. So, this most certainly falls into the ‘albeit honorary’ category of influence (i.e. no influence whatsoever).

    PS In answer to the Northern Diver, I would love YWT to own and manage some moorland in the Dales or Moors. An estate came up for sale in Fryup Dale some years back but it was way beyond our ability to buy the land (many £millions). We tried hard to get take on the tenancy of Humberstone Farm working with Yorkshire Water but they preferred a local tenant and anyhow the shooting rights were owned by someone else so we would have been a bit limited in what we could achieve. We came close to buying a decent area of limestone grassland and blanket bog in the Dales about five years ago but were outbid. As yet, we are not big or rich enough to have pots of money lying around to buy land on a whim; we have to raise every penny. At the moment, we are focused on buying a wonderful bit of upland meadow at Ashes Pasture in the Dales.

    1. After your scandalous bullying at Spurn, Rob, who, really, is going to take you seriously? I wouldn’t touch YWT with a barge pole while you are in charge.

    2. Your name is a misnomer. People out their ‘Trust’ in you. People put their trust in you to protect wildlife, in all its forms. How dare you allow an active wildlife persecution into such a position of authority. Grouse moors are destructive and contradict the Trust’s mission statement.

  4. It’s becoming more clear with each passing day that many wildlife charities including many of the WLTs have pro hunting/shooting people on their boards of directors. The same can be said for government groups like EFRA and DEFRA. These people ALWAYS get themselves into positions of power in order to be able influence the particular organisation when the time comes to discuss animal abuse. Take the National Trust for instance, and their blind refusal to ban ‘trail’ hunting. It wouldn’t surprise me to find several influential pros high up in the NT putting the mockers on any idea that trail hunting should be banned because the blighters refuse to obey the law. Similarly with Kent WildLife Trust and Mike Bax, how on earth can an ex beagler, and a man who allows shooting on his land be allowed to have influence in a Wildlife Trust? Unfortunately getting rid of these people is proving difficult as the Charities involved are digging their heels in, preferring bloodsporting interests to actual protection of the animals they were set up to protect.

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