I have been given leave to appeal Hon Justice Lang’s decision that brood-meddling of Hen Harrier nests is legal. The fight goes on!
It doesn’t exactly look spectacular online, does it?
RSPB has also been given leave to appeal on the same issue.
We learned of this by noticing the online decision, as we have not yet had details from the court on which grounds we have been given leave to appeal.
You’ll notice that we might be waiting until July for a day in court! I’d hope that it would be much sooner.
For new readers:
- the Hen Harrier is a protected bird which is illegally killed on grouse moors because it eats Red Grouse that people want to shoot (as well as lots of other birds and mammals that people don’t want to shoot)
- grouse moor managers invented a wheeze called brood management (brood meddling is what I call it) which involves shipping Hen Harrier chicks off grouse moors, rearing them in a cage and then letting them go again later in the season. This is dressed up as a conservation project.
- Defra minister Rory Stewart thought this was a good wheeze and made it part of the government plan to save the Hen Harrier whereas anyone with an ounce of sense would know that catching the criminals who kill hen Harriers would do a lot more good.
- Natural England, once a conservation organisation, licensed brood meddling in winter 2018 and I (and then the RSPB) mounted legal challenges against brood meddling.
- My case (and that of the RSPB) was heard in December 2018 (2 days) and January 2019 (an extra day) but the judge, the Hon Justice Lang found against us and said that brood meddling is legal.
- I appealled the decision and Hon Justice Lang did not give leave to appeal so we went to the Court of Appeal who have now given leave to appeal.
- Meanwhile a single brood of Hen Harriers has been meddled this year on an estate on which dead, shot, Hen Harriers have previously been found. Of the five brood meddled young harriers two have already gone missing, as they do, on grouse moors, as they do, in northern England.