Buzzard trapping plan abandoned as government U-turns again
Defra's controversial scheme to destroy protected species' nests to protect pheasant shoots dropped after public outcry
You hear their call first. A plaintive mew draws the gaze skywards, and there is the unmistakable outline of one of Britain's most striking birds of prey. Often in pairs, they soar upwards in slow circles, riding thermals with a lazy menace that the Defra minister Richard Benyon should perhaps have considered more carefully before earmarking nearly £400,000 for a scheme that would have involved capturing adult birds and destroying their nests. Intended to protect young pheasants being reared for commercial shoots, on Wednesday the plan was shelved. Buzzards are well used to surviving attack. At this time of year their aerial cruises are often disturbed by dive-bombing crows and magpies – no mean nursery thieves themselves – protecting their nests. Meanwhile, taxpayers await an explanation for being asked to stump up to solve an undefined problem experienced only by the tiny group of people running commercial shoots.