It may be May

Raptor Persecution UK today maintain their excellent record of unearthing the details of the friendly and collaborative manner in which the Moorland Association has always dealt with their partners in fighting wildlife crime.  This case is an alleged email sent a long time ago, in 2010, by the then Peak District representative of the Moorland Association, Richard May, to a senior staff member, at that time,  of the Peak District National Park Authority.  You will be interested in the alleged email – see here.

I was interested to read that the alleged email from Richard May was copied to Jon Stewart who at the time was working for Natural England but is now the senior National Trust staff member in the Peak District.  Readers of this blog will know that the National Trust, having fallen out with their shooting tenant in the Peak District, have recently announced a complicated system of maintaining grouse shooting on their land because theyappreciate the importance of rural traditions as part of the spirit of many of the places we look after. We allow field sports to take place on our property where traditionally practised, provided they are within the law and compatible with our principal purposes of conservation and access.‘.

The NT have selected three new shooting tenants to replace their one exiting tenant, and on one area of land, Park Hall, the aim is to shoot grouse over pointer dogs.  This blog understands that the proposed shooting tenant for this area, chosen by the NT after a thorough interview process, is one Richard May.

I do not know whether contracts betweeen NT and Richard May have been signed for this new shooting tenancy and I’m not really in a strong position to ask NT as I am no longer one of their members.

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15 Replies to “It may be May”

  1. Assuming that the email id genuine I wouldn't let this apologist for wildlife crime May within a mile of a shotgun never mind shoot grouse on NT land. The whole thing is outrageous.

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  2. He wrote an interesting couple of articles for the Cheshire and Wirral Ornithological society in January 2005 about his management of Piggford and High Moor including:

    "The predation issue is at the heart of the matter since the adjacent Macclesfield Forest provides Goshawk habitat and Hen Harriers have hunted the open moorland.",

    "I do not condone illegal killing but it is worth reflecting that when we had 25,000 gamekeepers in Victorian times there were Grey Partridges everywhere and a range of birds at population levels far greater than today. Raptors did survive until pesticides wreaked havoc and in this modern age we have foxes, grey squirrels, mink, Carrion Crows all out of control (and millions of cats!) with many bird species under serious pressure."

    "Attempts are made to manage Crows, Cormorants and Ruddy Duck so it is frustrating for moor owners like me who can only manage half of the equation, to face emotion and intransigence when all the evidence from the lack of management at Vyrnwy demonstrates that Goshawk predation is eliminating a Red Data List species. "

    http://www.cawos.org/birdnews/bn65.pdf

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    1. You beat me to it Jeff!

      Given Richard May’s well documented views about Hen Harriers and Goshawks he seems a bizarre choice of tenant for the NT’s claimed aspirations for the land at Park Hall.

      Here he is again spouting anti-raptor drivel in 2003, essentially threatining converting his moors to forestry and wind farms if his keepers can’t control raptors...see page 25.

      http://www.cawos.org/birdnews/bn63.pdf

      Looks like the NT hasn’t done it’s homework..

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      1. Yes, Breitbart would be proud of him. The suggestion that the decline in Grey partridge is due to reduced levels of predator control by gamekeepers is also an outrageous distortion.

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    2. Jeez this bloke is a real basket case - had to laugh at his "John Cravens Newsround "understanding of ecology.

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  3. May is also quoted as saying that "Grouse moor management and carefully monitored numbers of birds of prey can and do work in harmony" (MA website).

    What could he possibly have meant by 'carefully monitored numbers"?

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  4. Mr May's email is typical of their impregnable sense of entitlement, the childish assumption that the Partnership and law enforcement will be run on their terms and that their offences, like children's, are trivial and deserve a special indulgence. There is the usual huffy grievance that the RSPB has spoiled the game by not respecting their entitlement, so they will take their ball away and run to Daddy in the Tory government. It is a familiar pattern to anyone who has had to deal with them first hand. They are a nasty lot as evidenced by the disgraceful last paragraph, but they learned it all at their prep schools.

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  5. The idea that 'this lot' will fall into line with some sort of licensing system is looking more and more laughable by the day.

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      1. What I don't understand is how a licensing system can be effectively monitored and enforced, given the nature of the challenge.

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  6. Too right, Paul. The RSPB is in cloud cuckoo land on this issue.

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  7. Why is it that people (Sandra Padfield on this thread) use these discussions to attack the RSPB? The only organisation with both the infrastructure and the interest in conserving birds of prey who stand any chance of making a difference. The organisation that, in the absence of any statutory body doing its job properly (NE / the police), gathers the presentable evidence of the illegal activities that underpin the campaigns against the illegal persecution. Because of its size and activities, the only conservation organisation involved at a senior and strategic level to influence the outcomes of such potential controls, like the licensing system.

    As far as I can tell, this organisation funded by its members, does more than DEFRA, NE, the NT and the police put together, to focus attention on the illegal persecution of birds of prey and the need to do something about it and proposing workable solutions.

    Yes, I wish they would promote the petitions to ban DGS and to licence grouse moors directly to their members - but they also have to be mindful that they have restrictions imposed upon them by recent Tory legislation which the execrable YFTB and Countryside Alliance would love to exploit to attack their available funding to prevent their investigations and monitoring.

    They do have the integrity not to back fanciful schemes designed to whitewash the criminality: hence their lack of support for the Hen Harrier Action Plan and their actions this week.

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    1. Simon,your comment means you obviously support RSPB whatever but at least you tell us there are circumstances stopping them from doing more.
      My point is they have lots and lots of chances to explain to myself and others but I am only concerned with myself.Why when we have top people on this blog from RSPB do they not reply to criticism and more why do they not explain their problems.
      Surely that is inexcusable to such as me a critic of their Hen Harrier stance.
      Whether you think I am sincere or not I would really even at this late stage like that information in plain English and detailed.From the brains of RSPB that should not be too difficult because for sure they are losing money from not disclosing presumably good reasons by what you say

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