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Thread: High Court Grants gamekeeper go-ahead to challenge Natural England

  1. #1

    High Court Grants gamekeeper go-ahead to challenge Natural England

    The
    NGO has just posted the following news story on its website, High Court Grants
    Gamekeeper Go-Ahead To Challenge Natural England. It can be read at
    http://www.nationalgamekeepers.org.uk/news/high-court-grants-gamekeeper-go-ahead-to-challenge-natural-england

  2. #2
    I guess this was bound to happen eventually given the more radical stance adopted by the NGO. There won't be any public support for reducing protection of birds of prey now that these have become a feature of the landscape.

    I've just forwarded my resignation through the website Members Area after 14 years support. I don't agree with their backing for this cause, and their recent pronouncements on several subjects have lacked the balance promised in their motto.

    IMHO it's time to look for a less reactionary organisation with a broader perspective. The NGO has become a trade body, and I know for sure that I no longer fit within it.
    If I'm going to be accused of it then it's just as well I did it.

  3. #3
    I cant say I agree with you but I respect your decision. As a full time keeper myself I am pleased the NGO are backing this. I am a river keeper as well as a gamekeeper and I can shoot cormorants under license when they are eating my rainbow trout but do nothing about buzzards on other livestock.

    Buzzards are shot around airports and chicken farms.

    I say well done to the NGO who are still run by real keepers not just a corporate body. That might possibly be the reason they make some decisions that they do because they are as I said run by keepers and not men in suites.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by iknownothing View Post
    I cant say I agree with you but I respect your decision. As a full time keeper myself I am pleased the NGO are backing this. I am a river keeper as well as a gamekeeper and I can shoot cormorants under license when they are eating my rainbow trout but do nothing about buzzards on other livestock.

    Buzzards are shot around airports and chicken farms.

    I say well done to the NGO who are still run by real keepers not just a corporate body. That might possibly be the reason they make some decisions that they do because they are as I said run by keepers and not men in suites.
    big +1
    There are no perfect men in this world ..... Only perfect intentions

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by iknownothing View Post
    I cant say I agree with you but I respect your decision. As a full time keeper myself I am pleased the NGO are backing this. I am a river keeper as well as a gamekeeper and I can shoot cormorants under license when they are eating my rainbow trout but do nothing about buzzards on other livestock.

    Buzzards are shot around airports and chicken farms.


    I say well done to the NGO who are still run by real keepers not just a corporate body. That might possibly be the reason they make some decisions that they do because they are as I said run by keepers and not men in suites.
    Not so i'm afraid. That justification just isn't supported ....... here's the list of species on the licence application .......

    https://www.gov.uk/government/upload...air_safety.pdf

    Birds: licence to catch them on food premises - Publications - GOV.UK

    Cormorants aren't birds of prey, and shooting of them has been permitted under licence for quite some time afaik.
    Last edited by Sinistral; 25-11-2014 at 13:49.
    If I'm going to be accused of it then it's just as well I did it.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by iknownothing View Post
    I cant say I agree with you but I respect your decision. As a full time keeper myself I am pleased the NGO are backing this. I am a river keeper as well as a gamekeeper and I can shoot cormorants under license when they are eating my rainbow trout but do nothing about buzzards on other livestock.

    Buzzards are shot around airports and chicken farms.

    I say well done to the NGO who are still run by real keepers not just a corporate body. That might possibly be the reason they make some decisions that they do because they are as I said run by keepers and not men in suites.

    Well said

  7. #7
    Why do they need to be seen to back anything to do with it?

    Doing so perpetuates the "them and us" relationship between any sporting or affiliated organisation and any government agency or conservation organisation.

    It is not so long ago that I was a member of the RSPB and BASC. To me the two go hand in hand.

    There is too much emphasis put on which angle you are coming from and your personal agenda and not so much about what you are doing to resolve it.

  8. #8
    I did try to verify some of the claims made by the NGO, but a search of the DEFRA archive and NE website turned nothing up. There's now an impenetrable cloud called GOV.UK encompassing all governmental policy & news which is so vast, and yields so many hits that it's impossible to find anything.

    Lots of coverage from the RSPB, but it's inflammatory stuff short on facts. It appears that this isn't the first application by what is claimed actually to be a poult-rearing business. One was successful but the other failed, and this is the subject of the appeal.

    RSPB Pheasant shoot applies for licence to shoot 10 Buzzards



    The RSPB is concerned to learn that Natural England — the UK Government's nature conservation agency — is considering a licence application to trap and shoot 10 Common Buzzards to protect young Pheasants. Natural England is expected to make a decision on the fate of the Buzzards imminently.

    Martin Harper is the RSPB's Conservation Director. He said: "The Buzzard is a fully protected bird of prey which is only now recovering its numbers from sustained historic persecution, which saw the bird lose much of its UK population and range. Any relaxation of their current protection, coupled with ongoing persecution, could threaten local populations. Their vulnerability is a key reason why we are fighting for their protection."

    Last year Natural England granted licences to control Buzzards at a chicken farm, and at a Pheasant shoot — the first time such licences had been issued. Subsequent licence applications to kill adult Buzzards at four Pheasant shoots managed by the original applicant were then rejected by Natural England.

    The RSPB has learnt that an application was made on 23rd April to cage-trap and shoot ten Buzzards across four sites to prevent 'serious damage' to Pheasant poults. The Society knows the applicant has sought licences to control Buzzards in previous years. Martin Harper added: "I am disappointed that a new licence application has been sought to control Buzzards to protect gamebirds. To our knowledge, there isn't convincing evidence to justify issuing licences for the control of Buzzards and we think the application should be rejected by Natural England, especially since they rejected applications for the same activity last year. It's time that wildlife licensing is conducted in a more transparent way. A test of a modern 21st-century society is one that is open and tolerates birds of prey and finds ways to live in harmony with them."

    There are a variety of ways to prevent young Pheasants being killed by Buzzards. For example, by creating cover for the gamebirds, or by installing deterrents to keep Buzzards away. The RSPB has written to Defra calling for clear guidance to Natural England to reject all licences to control Buzzards to protect gamebirds.

    Decision from Natural England:

    "On 23 April 2014 Natural England received an application for a licence to cage trap and shoot ten common buzzard (Buteo buteo) in the vicinity of a site which has experienced loss to pheasant poults in recent years. "The application had been made by the operator of a pheasant rearing and shooting business on the site and is supported by the National Gamekeepers' Organisation.

    After careful consideration, Natural England has concluded that the application does not meet the criteria that would permit lethal control to be licenced."

    RSPB
    Wednesday 4th June 2014

    http://www.birdguides.com/webzine/article.asp?a=4427


    The GWCT site has this to say ......

    Buzzard control


    Wildlife legislation provides for the protection of our wildlife, and the licensing procedure exists to create the ability to undertake, but only where there is a valid justification, an activity affecting a plant or animal which would otherwise be illegal.

    Natural England issues thousands of individual licences each year for a number of different purposes which are set down in law, and vary from the protection of wild flora and fauna, research and conservation surveys, the prevention of serious damage to livestock and crops, to public health and air safety.

    The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust considers that an informed and coherent debate on the possible role of licensing in achieving the recovery of some species of wildlife in exceptional circumstances is needed. We pledge our commitment to maintaining this debate in a spirit of rational and evidence-based dialogue.

    We have conducted an extensive amount of own work with black grouse, grey partridge, a range of upland waders and water voles amongst many other species. This work provides clear, peer-reviewed scientific evidence that the effective, and legal control of some generalist predators in some circumstances is essential to the recovery of some species under threat. On rare occasions, the control of predators may be required provided this strict conditions required by licences are met.

    The GWCT is strongly committed to work closely as possible with as many as possible of the organisations that issued the State of Nature report on 22nd May and with everyone who wishes to see a richness of species and an abundance of wildlife be they conservationists, farmers, land owners and gamekeepers, informed by our extensive scientific work.

    The details of two licences involving buzzards

    Our assessment of these is that some misreporting has contributed to the confusion surrounding these licences. Some press releases have been unclear or have omitted small but significant facts. The details, as far as GWCT understands, are as follows:

    Licence A – WLM/2013/0571 – issued to a pheasant shoot – given permission to remove four nests and eggs contained

    Licence B – WLM/2011/1801 – issued to a poultry farm – given permission for five birds to be trapped and removed

    Both applications appear to have had very detailed technical assessments, including detailed economic, commercial or welfare considerations. In the case of the pheasant shoot it appears that a significant range of non-lethal options were tried: the use of brash wigwams; car radios; gas guns; scarecrows; flashing lights; reflective tape and diversionary feeding included.

    It appears that the conditions for the granting of licences in these two different cases were met, although there does appear to be some inconsistency in the position of Natural England stretching across the whole application process. The GWCT is clear, however, that if the conditions for granting licences were met, Natural England were acting correctly in granting them. It is, of course, essential that a statutory body such as Natural England should act strictly within the law and not be diverted by local but not necessarily material considerations.

    Public debate

    The RSPB has said that the issue of the licences without public consultation was 'wrong'. It is not clear to us how this might be the case, given the licensing rules as they stand. The Law Commission are currently reviewing this aspect and the involvement of stakeholders in the granting or otherwise is included in their deliberations.

    GWCT takes the concern over the granting of these licences very seriously. We welcome a full and informed debate of the licensing rules because we are confident that when correctly administered, they may sometimes be an element of ensuring more abundant wildlife or of resolving otherwise intractable but legitimate conflicts of interest. It is vital, in order that there should be public confidence in the system, that the process is followed scrupulously and diligently. Illegal control of generalist predators is unacceptable and unnecessary control of predators should be discouraged. But by the same measure, the correct use of the licensing system should be accepted as a component of building trust between different interests.

    The role of the Buzzard Stakeholder Group

    The recent controversy has implications for the work of and possibly even the future role of the Buzzard Stakeholder Group (BSG). We consider that had the BSG been allowed to function as intended, the licences might not have been requested on the basis that they would have pre-empted the research planned by the group. The fact that research was on-going could not have been used, in itself to refuse a licence, but the applicants might have thought it wise to have benefited from the research before proceeding with licence applications.

    Last year the BSG was working towards agreement of research. The original proposals had three significant parts:

    What could be done to divert attacks.
    Discovering why some release pens suffered predation by buzzards and others not.
    Investigating the effectiveness and necessity of egg removal and buzzard capture.

    The suspension of the research planned by the BSG has meant that none of these areas of inquiry have been investigated. The GWCT urges that high priority is given to carrying out this research. It is important, in our view, to recover a measure of consensus to reconcile the conservation of buzzards with responsible game management and free-range farming.

    This consensual approach should be applied in all cases of licensing. Where necessary and appropriate, stakeholder participation should be encouraged in agreeing on guidance for the use of licensing. All those who participate should recognise the essential importance of working with a common purpose to achieve workable and sustainable outcomes.

    http://www.gwct.org.uk/policy/position-statements/buzzard-control/
    If I'm going to be accused of it then it's just as well I did it.

  9. #9
    Fair play to u sinstral for digging a bit deeper and trying to find out the facts for urself.

    Must admit i agree wih the NGO, if there not going to stand up to the might of RSPB who is?
    Can't remember if in Scot or Eng but SNH/DEFRA have admitted that some applications for buzzard control have surpassed all the critera needed but have still not been granted. And that is purely because they are running scared of the pr/press/tabloids. It's all wrong if the science supports some control and all the critera are met

    The licencing procedure is exactly the same for almost any bird be it sea gull, cormarnt or Buzzard. From memory there is something like 4 times as many buzzards as cormarants yet no one bats an eyelid when cormarant licences are granted.
    Would not surprise me if more buzzards than greylag geese (forgot if was greys or pinks on the GL now down south) in eng yet they are now on the General Licence.

    There already is a them and us, and its about time we faught back.
    If ur after a conservation charity to support why not Songbird Survival?

    About 2/3 years ago DEFRA proposed a proper research study into buzzards and wot can be done to resolve the issues, the usual stakeholder groups sat round a table for months etc eventually they hammered out the study details for NON LETHAL research, the the sneaky 2 faced ba****d's that are the r**b torpedoed it just before its lauch with misleading press releases etc tory agri minister encouraging toff to shot buzzards etc. Think it almost/did cost the agri minister his job (from memory owen patterson but could easy be wrong there). Yet in the comitee notes the rspb had agreed with everything.
    Even with the Hen Harrier recovery project, they consulted on it yet won't put there name to it because it has brood managemnt, (removing young from a nest and rearing in captivity and releasing elsewhere so areas never have too high a density) yet this is widely done all over europe. HH need grouse moor management to control predators for nesting, but u will only get that were moors remain vaible (althoumost won't even be profitable) to employ keepers, Langholm 2 has shown that again, but also shown still no grouse

    They simply cannae be trusted anymore at head office level (still have some great people on the ground thou

    The goverenment bodies really need to stop listening to the general public and start making some harsh decisions reguarding licences and wot's best fot nature, ur Pine Martin is on the verge of making the Capercallie extinct again, yet no matter how much the SGA tries to get licences, flatly refused by SNH. the PM is no longer rare in plenty of places, esp ur
    Caper strongholds
    There is growing photographic and video evidence of buzzards (shock horror) killing things sometimes quite rare things from osprey chicks to phenaloppes?.
    No one is wanting a free for all but there needs to be some common ground found

    Yet nothing is every said about wind turbines and no real effort in wot damage they cause. Think SNH has put back a study again!
    I think it was norway done a study and reckoned turbines accounted for all the young of sea eagles 1 year. Quite shocking at the rate we're building them

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by countrryboy View Post
    Fair play to u sinstral for digging a bit deeper and trying to find out the facts for urself.

    Must admit i agree wih the NGO, if there not going to stand up to the might of RSPB who is?
    Can't remember if in Scot or Eng but SNH/DEFRA have admitted that some applications for buzzard control have surpassed all the critera needed but have still not been granted. And that is purely because they are running scared of the pr/press/tabloids. It's all wrong if the science supports some control and all the critera are met

    The licencing procedure is exactly the same for almost any bird be it sea gull, cormarnt or Buzzard. From memory there is something like 4 times as many buzzards as cormarants yet no one bats an eyelid when cormarant licences are granted.
    Would not surprise me if more buzzards than greylag geese (forgot if was greys or pinks on the GL now down south) in eng yet they are now on the General Licence.

    There already is a them and us, and its about time we faught back.
    If ur after a conservation charity to support why not Songbird Survival?

    About 2/3 years ago DEFRA proposed a proper research study into buzzards and wot can be done to resolve the issues, the usual stakeholder groups sat round a table for months etc eventually they hammered out the study details for NON LETHAL research, the the sneaky 2 faced ba****d's that are the r**b torpedoed it just before its lauch with misleading press releases etc tory agri minister encouraging toff to shot buzzards etc. Think it almost/did cost the agri minister his job (from memory owen patterson but could easy be wrong there). Yet in the comitee notes the rspb had agreed with everything.
    Even with the Hen Harrier recovery project, they consulted on it yet won't put there name to it because it has brood managemnt, (removing young from a nest and rearing in captivity and releasing elsewhere so areas never have too high a density) yet this is widely done all over europe. HH need grouse moor management to control predators for nesting, but u will only get that were moors remain vaible (althoumost won't even be profitable) to employ keepers, Langholm 2 has shown that again, but also shown still no grouse

    They simply cannae be trusted anymore at head office level (still have some great people on the ground thou

    The goverenment bodies really need to stop listening to the general public and start making some harsh decisions reguarding licences and wot's best fot nature, ur Pine Martin is on the verge of making the Capercallie extinct again, yet no matter how much the SGA tries to get licences, flatly refused by SNH. the PM is no longer rare in plenty of places, esp ur
    Caper strongholds
    There is growing photographic and video evidence of buzzards (shock horror) killing things sometimes quite rare things from osprey chicks to phenaloppes?.
    No one is wanting a free for all but there needs to be some common ground found

    Yet nothing is every said about wind turbines and no real effort in wot damage they cause. Think SNH has put back a study again!
    I think it was norway done a study and reckoned turbines accounted for all the young of sea eagles 1 year. Quite shocking at the rate we're building them
    Some good points, well made. Except the bit about Greylags. I would have thought Suffolk has more Greylags than the UK has Buzzards.

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