An FoI response from NE – ( inc in part Bowland Gull Cull 11)

A while ago I let NE know what I thought of them and asked a few questions of them. Fair dos, they have come up with a decent-ish response.

We learn that the long-running and long overrunning NE Hen Harrier research project will get an airing in Vancouver in August, that the southern reintroduction project is hopelessly stalled and that it takes more or less a calendar year for NE to investigate the killing of species in an SPA.



You asked for:

1. Please tell me when that analysis [of the Hen Harrier tracking data] will be available to the public?

The Hen Harrier tracking data is currently being analysed by leading raptor experts and will be presented at the International Ornithological Congress in August. Following this we intend to make the Hen Harrier data available to the public through a suitable format.

2. Is that right [that those who might provide Hen Harrier chicks [for southern reintroduction] from outside England have noticed your strange and irrational behaviour and don’t think that you are a fit and able body to be given Hen Harrier chicks]?

No, this is not correct as Natural England does not recognise the situation you set out. I can confirm however that we do not plan to release any birds this year.

3. Whose investigation [into the ‘Bowland gull cull’]?

It is Natural England’s investigation.

4. It’s not a police investigation, it’s an NE investigation, isn’t it?

That is correct, it is not a police investigation.

5. Does it really take 10 months to investigate known individuals killing juvenile gulls in an SPA?

The case is complex so Natural England has needed this time to complete a thorough investigation and to allow it to assess the next course of action.

6. Are you investigating yourselves or others?

Natural England is conducting an investigation of others.

7. Please tell me what is going on?

The investigation is in its final stages.



14 Replies to “An FoI response from NE – ( inc in part Bowland Gull Cull 11)”

  1. Blunt and to the point I suppose but in that case why is it that the answers are uninspiring and leave me feeling somewhat less than confident about the outcomes. Do you understand that NE, as a tax payer I am a customer of your outcome driven agenda and currently I don’t feel confident in the outcomes you are delivering or may deliver concerning Hen Harriers.

  2. Hmmmmm…. Well done for keeping up the pressure, but other than one date, there is not much else to go on. ‘The case is complex’ is such a popular excuse.

  3. I’ve had the same problem with
    nE… asked info on the license issued to
    Enable destroy of the Badger Sett @
    Back of house….still waiting .. next step
    FOI Regards Tom Benson

  4. Shooting Times, dated 23rd May, carried an interesting article on shooting Lesser Black Backs using
    decoys. Though not, of course, on an SPA.
    The birds were creating havoc among Pig feeders, apparently, and afforded excellent shooting.

    1. What does ‘afforded excellent shooting’ really mean?
      That it is especially pleasant to kill these creatures?
      Or are you being sardonic?

  5. Talking of eventually losing interest, I think Ed Hutching’s petition to license grouse shooting ends today.
    With RSPB support, it has reached about 16,900 signatures. I honestly don’t know if this tells us something important or not…

    1. I think the only thing it tells us with much certainty is that promoting the petition was never a very high priority for the RSPB. Such support as they did give it was very low key. Whether that means that licensing grouse shooting is also a low priority for the RSPB is hard to say – I hope not.
      I do think that the level of promotion a petition receives does make a huge difference to its success. Mark’s ‘ban’ petition which succeeded in passing the 100K threshold was very energetically promoted with thunderclaps, leaflet drops, HH day and of course his own blog and this effort paid off handsomely. Had the RSPB really put its shoulder to the wheel in support of Ed’s petition I suspect it would have garnered substantially more support.

      1. I totally agree – but I guess the interesting question is why the RSPB did not put its shoulder to the wheel at least a little bit more.

    1. Thanks for that link Michael. 205 pages is a lot to wade(r) through, though much is repeated. Of particular note are waders being ‘silaged’ by farmers and fields being ‘rolled’ which may not help ground nesting birds to much I guess.
      Also noted the comment that ‘the beer will taste good at the end of it’. !!

      All very one sided. It beggars belief how un-scientific the whole thing is.
      Can’t see busy MPs or media people wanting to read through 205 pages so I suppose this will ensure that most people will remain in the dark over the issue.

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