Dear Natural England,
In November 2017 you told me that the investigation of the gull cull in Bowland was entering its final stages and that you would answer my questions (of mid July 2017 and subsequently) ‘once the investigation is concluded’. On 11 June you told me that ‘the investigation is in its final stages’.
Please let me know when my questions will be answered.
Please let me know to whom I should complain if I do not get a full response by the end of July – please tell me this before the end of July.
Please tell me how many investigations of a similar nature NE has conducted in the past five years and how long each of them took to conclude.
I have a strong feeling that you are simply mucking me about, and you can rest assured that I will pursue this issue with vigour.
Dr Mark Avery
The story so far:
Natural England is carrying out an investigation, it seems very, very slowly, into the culling of Lesser Black-backed Gulls on the Abbeystead grouse mooor in the Forest of Bowland, Lancashire. The Bowland Fells Special Protection Area for Birds was notified partly because of its importance for Lesser Black-backed Gulls. It has been suggested by the RSPB that NE consented culls in this area (under what basis is not known) but that the terms of the consent may have been breached. The interest in this case derives from puzzlement over why NE consented any culling of this species in its English stronghold (was this legal), and whether the conditions of that consent, if it existed, were breached.
An FoI response from NE – 13 June 2018
Bowland gull cull update – 25 April 2018
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