Last week the RSPB published an interesting blog about the Forest of Bowland which included these passages:
‘The situation is complicated. Natural England have been attempting to tackle the historical culling consent granted to the Abbeystead Estate. As part of a 2016 Memorandum of Understanding, the estate voluntarily agreed not to cull gulls using these previously agreed consents (although they remain in place). Natural England reciprocated by granting a one-year consent to Abbeystead, but also to Bleasdale, with limited culling on the Bowland Fells. There has never been a satisfactory explanation to justify this consent.
Then in 2017, Natural England took another retrograde step by producing a draft agreement that, once signed, would give consent for the unlimited killing of gulls outside of a number of sanctuary areas through to March 2021. Once again, no justification was given for this consent.
To make matters worse, ahead of this agreement being signed between NE and the Estates, RSPB staff discovered Abbeystead gamekeepers culling gulls inside one of the proposed sanctuary areas, those areas that were supposed to be exempt from future culls. Natural England launched an investigation into this but have still to report their findings. Therefore, the precise legal position of the 2017 culling remains unclear.’
What is NE doing in Bowland? And why won’t they come clean on what they’ve done? One has to wonder whether it is because coming clean and telling the truth would show what a shambles NE is. But when NE gets around to answering my FoI requests we may learn some more – and every time they do not answer them then we learn something about the organisation anyway. By my calculations I should expect my next response from NE a week on Friday (I’d guess at about 1630), that’s 4 May. I’ll let you know.
The story so far:
Natural England continues not to come clean on Bowland gull cull – 9 April 2018
Smidgeons of information on gull culls from NE – 14 February 2018
Bowland gull cull licensing facts still kept secret by NE – 6 February 2018
FOI Bowland gull cull – November 2017
Quick response from NE on Bowland gull cull – 7 September 2017
Any NE news on Bowland gull cull? – 5 September 2017
Response from NE on Bowland gull cull – 15 August 2017
Those gulls again – 10 July 2017
RSPB calls on Natural England to act – 7 July 2017