Peak District hush-up

You may remember that in a recent public consultation on the way forward, over 40% of respondents to the Peak District National Park future plans mentioned the impact of grouse shooting, heather burning and illegal persecution of birds of prey, on the ability of the National Park to meet its objectives.

The Peak District has its own raptor initiative which has been trying to deal with wildlife crime in the Dark Peak area of the National Park, the part in which grouse shooting is concentrated, since 2011.  So far it has been a talking shop which has delivered practically no progress on its targets.


Amanda Anderson talking to an officer ‘I’ve been a very naughty girl – cuff me, cuff me!,

The long-awaited Peak District Raptor Initiative report was sneaked onto the Peak District National Park website yesterday – it is almost impossible to find unless you know it is there.  There is nothing in the ‘News’ section of the National Park’s website and no agreed statement by the members of the group. This couldn’t be, or maybe it could be, because the Moorland Association, represented by Amanda Anderson, want everyone to say that everything is going to plan, there has been lots of progress and joint working is wonderful and the rest of the world won’t play ball!  This is clearly yet another example of the Moorland Association being right and everyone else being out of step and wrong.  Obviously!

Here is the link to the report. Highlights are…there are no highlights.

Here is a telling quote,

‘Several proven and suspected persecution incidents have come to light since the 2015 project review and some areas have suffered a catastrophic failure of larger breeding raptors. The very low numbers of larger raptors breeding successfully in the Dark Peak and surrounding – in particular the lack of any successful breeding by Peregrines in the Dark Peak in 2017, the first time since they recolonised the area in 1984 – continues to give real cause for concern.’.

No wonder there is no statement. In fact, the Peak District Bird of Prey Initiative has, as far as the problem area of the Dark Peak is concerned:

  • no publicity
  • no agreement
  • no progress
  • almost no birds of prey
  • and no initiative…
  • oh yes, and no future.

Moorland Association – kindly leave the room!



I wonder how the NT is getting on with finding a new tenant for their moorland in the Peak District?

And I wonder why the Moorland Association hasn’t denied the revelation by Raptor Persecution UK about the intention of their members to apply for licences to kill Marsh Harriers (see here, here and here).

I expect all will be revealed next week.

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15 Replies to “Peak District hush-up”

  1. I remember the peregrines at Alport Castles. What a sorry state of affairs. I don't want those magnificent birds to be just a memory and a photograph. And what a contrast with the National Park principles and successes in the USA.

  2. Wow. That's a pretty damning indictment of the PDBOPI. Can we get the author to write more of these? I reckon Hawk and Owl Trust could do with this level of clarity in its updates! How long until Moorland Ass deny any involvement of moorland 'managers'? No doubt they'll blame disturbance by hillwalkers and birders instead.
    Interesting then, that Peregrine successfully nested at The Roaches in 2016 - an area with incredibly high numbers of visitors - yet failed in other 'more suitable' locations. This seems to be more in line with the fact they're now more likely to breed successfully in our towns and cities, where crime is less easy to hide.

  3. This makes for very sad reading indeed. How much longer will we have to hear of more talking, more studies. If there is ever going to be a time for peaceful, legal, direct action, it is surely now. The only reason that this persecution can continue is because those involved, including the government, know that 99.5% of the population don't have a clue that this is happening.
    Are there enough of us to Crowdfund a decent PR team?

    And as for a MH license. Really? ".......oh sorry gov, was that another of those Hen watsits, they all look the same to me."

  4. This is shameful and a serious stain on our most popular National Park. What would all those visitors think if they knew what was really going on?

    Its website says "One of the great successes of the current National Park Management Plan was that it brought together a diverse range of stakeholders who together delivered some amazing work."

    Evidently not in the case of birds of prey.

  5. I told the NT when this first came out that I'd not be renewing my membership if it went to another shooting tenant. Look forward to hearing what happens....

  6. A disgraceful state of affairs. I have no faith in the Peak District National Park Authority.

  7. Thought I'd share that link on the Peak District Facebook page. Although I'm sure they would have done it themselves earlier, doesn't hurt to remind people.

  8. People quite reasonably expect wildlife to do better inside a National Park but this year the opposite is the case. As with many public bodies the Peak Park Authority is struggling for funding and is putting a great deal of effort into attracting money from individuals, organisations and companies. This report along with much other publicity paints a picture of widespread wildlife crime. Is this the kind of National Park that people want and will it bring in the donations?

  9. The National Trust position is critical to the appalling state of affairs in the Peak Park. The Trust might like to reflect on the fact that Hen Harriers bred successfully on Forestry Commission land this year - and that forests like Kielder and the Forest of Dean have capacity Goshawk populations whilst the area where it all started, the Peak, still struggles to maintain a Goshawk population. On this issue at least the Forestry Commission is clearly in a different league as a conservation organisation.

    My strong advice would be don't quit - vote. For all the disappointment, the Trail Hunting vote was wafer thin - and the Trust management must be aware that the next one could go against them, a motion censuring the Trustees for re-letting the shooting at next year's AGM perhaps ? If the NT members amongst Mark's petition signeees were mobilised the Trust would be in serious trouble.

  10. Aside from stronger words, which would obviously be welcome, what exactly does a national park authority have the power to do in a situation like this?

    1. Aquila - not too much, but they do have the ability to highlight the problem rather than hide it. wilful blindness rarely helps soplve any problem. (Hmmm - thinks - that might be a blog!) Publishing their own group's report in a way that others could notice its existence would be the minimum one might expect. Publicising the complete failure of the criminals acting within their National Park to change their ways and the complete failure of shooting organsiations to engineer change on the ground might be appropriate too.

  11. I believe the NT position is key in the Dark Peak. If they stopped grouse shooting the pressure would be on the other grouse moors to stop their illegal practices and mismanagement. Pressure should be applied on the NT. Direct pressure, though not on the moors, but at busy times at their stately homes where a much wider representative of the public will be made aware of the atrocities carried out on British wildlife on National Trust property.

  12. the one section of the report they should take note of is (overview of results) I,e one area where the initiative has made improvements is the relationships between raptor fieldworkers and gamekeepers, however this fragile relationship is currently under pressure WITH CONTINUED EVIDENCE OF RAPTOR PERSECUTION INCIDENTS. followed by AND GAMEKEEPERS CONCERNS ABOUT THE PORTRAYAL OF THEIR WORK IN THE MEDIA AND ON SOCIAL MEDIA. seems to me they have summed up the problem but don't wish to do anything about it, which is what I would expect of the N.T


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