Stephen Murphy of Natural England is backing up the Moorland Association’s nonsense that having brood meddling is turning gamekeepers into good guys according to a report in the Lancashire Post.
I’m looking forward to writing in some detail about brood meddling again when we receive judgement from Ms Justice Lang but as we said when we started the judicial review process, brood meddling ‘takes criminal activity as its starting point and looks to ease the path for those who break the law, often for profit, for the purpose of shooting Red Grouse‘
Murphy’s suggestion is that making Bowland an SPA on the basis of its wintering Hen Harrier populations would make a difference to the birds’ fortunes. I’d like to hear the arguments behind that and whether his organisation is actually planning to do anything along those lines. It’s a bit odd for NE to tell councillors that SPA status is needed when it already exists and is in NE’s gift not that of the audience. Puzzling!
Murphy did not explain why the area of intensive driven grouse shooting in the Forest of Bowland was so bereft of Hen Harriers in 2018 given that gamekeepers had such confidence in brood meddling.
County Councillor Cosima Towneley, Conservative, may not be aware of the irony of her reported statement that ‘…it’s often best when people don’t interfere’ but she is absolutely correct. the interference that Hen Harriers don’t need is attention from shooting interests including brood meddling.