In February this year, a man armed with a shotgun, was captured on video by birdwatchers in the Derbyshire Peak District on moorland owned by the National Trust lying full length amongst the heather 30 metres from what appeared to be a decoy hen harrier attached to a short stick. Decoy birds such as a stuffed eagle owl have been used used by gamekeepers and conservationists to trap a variety of birds of prey to either kill them, or for scientific purposes such as ringing. Because the individual observed on National Trust Property in February was armed with a shotgun and not a ringing license, we believe it would be safe to assume this individual was intending to shoot any passing hen harrier he saw.
We are please that after the information regarding this incident and video capture was brought to the attention of the National Trust, followed up by pressure from the RSPB, the Trust management have said it had taken the decision to exercise a break clause in the shooting lease to end the relationship four years early in 2018. We have attached below the Press Statement issued by the National Trust.
National Trust Public Statement: Grouse Shooting Lease to be Terminated
The National Trust has today given notice that the current shooting leases at Hope Woodlands and Park Hall in Derbyshire will end in April 2018. The charity said it had taken the decision to exercise a break clause in the lease to end the relationship four years early.
Andy Beer, National Trust’s Director for the Midlands, said: “We have a clear vision for land management and wildlife restoration on the High Peak Moors, which was developed in full consultation with our tenants and other key stakeholders.
All our tenants have signed up to deliver to the vision and understand their responsibilities. We work very closely with our tenants and support, consult and discuss any issues relating to the plan on a regular basis.
However, in this case we have decided, after a meeting with the tenant, that we should revoke the lease four years early as it became clear that we could no longer have confidence that they were committed to the delivery of our vision for the land.
We have given the tenant 22 months’ notice and will start the process of looking for a replacement in 2017, when we will be happy to receive applications from partners who can demonstrate how moorland management and shooting can deliver great nature conservation in a way that is compatible with public access.
We remain committed to the High Peak Moors Vision. As with all our conservation aims, we review and evaluate progress periodically. When considering renewals of individual shooting leases in future we will take into careful account the extent to which our objectives have been met, in particular relating to increasing raptor populations.”
Jon Stewart, General Manager, Peak District National Trust
Like their farming policies which cause mainly ‘sheep wreck’ Raptor Politics don’t think much will come from this. A new tenant will be in the same situation. ‘I can’t run a Red Grouse moor with all these raptors. Even more I can’t drive ‘my grouse’ to the butts. I need a reduction in rent if I have to put up with these raptors’. Now if they said they were offering a ‘walked up’ shot then you could see a difference.
Certain staff from the RSPB should be praised for putting pressure on the National Trust resulting in this change to happen, but it is about time they came ‘off the fence’ and put their heads over the wall so the public can see them in their true light and stop their members from leaving the society in droves.