Raptor Monitoring, Gamekeeper’s letter published by the Shooting Times.

I have been a professional gamekeeper for 32 years, and for much of that time I have been a Schedule 1 licence holder assisting in the monitoring of raptors on the estate where I work.

Having been aware of the raptor situation in the Forest of Bowland for some time, I would like to pick up on a couple of the points raised by Alasdair Mitcell in his recent column (Sharpshooter 18 April).

First Andrew Gouldstone is quoted as saying that RSPB staff and volunteers working on behalf of the hen harrier monitoring team were only licensed to work on the United Utilities estate. Mr Gouldstone conveniently fails to mention that the British Trust for Ornithology, also licence certain members to operate on surrounding estates bordering United Utilities and, indeed much of Bowland itself. All observations they made would, of course, become available to the RSPB.

You do not stop being a “hen harrier  team member” just because you cross a fence. If this occurs without the relevant landowner’s permission, it is a clear breach of licensing conditions if reward – i.e. vehicle and fuel is given.

Secondly, it is an interesting development – probably a precedent – that an estate owner, in this case United Utilities, assisted  by the RSPB and Natural England, can have licensed field workers removed from its estate after they register a formal complaint of bad behaviour by others licensed on behalf of the RSPB. If United Utilities can do this, why can’t any other estate where licensees do not toe the official line and are deemed to have rocked the boat too often?

P Tooley, Derbyshire


1 comment to Raptor Monitoring, Gamekeeper’s letter published by the Shooting Times.

  • Circus maxima

    Dear England…..get yourself some decent access legislation.

    Editor’s Comment. One set of rules for some licence holders, even if this means breaching licence conditions no action is taken!