Incident involving armed man and decoy bird prompts National Trust announcement
National Trust withdraws grouse shooting licence on its land in the Peak District
Thas withdrawn a licence for driven grouse shooting on its land over concerns about raptor persecution. The withdrawal follows an incident, captured on camera by birdwatchers, in which an armed man appears to be attempting to attract a Hen Harrier with a decoy bird. As a result, the National Trust has terminated the shooting leases at Hope Woodlands and Park Hall in the High Peak area of the Peak District, saying that they no longer had any confidence that tenant Mark Osborne was committed to the Trust’s vision for the land. His lease will now terminate four years early, in 2018, and new tenants will be sought to manage the moor. Two gamekeepers had been interviewed by police in February in connection with the incident, but no charges were brought. Despite being protected by law, the Hen Harrier is the most intensively persecuted raptor in the UK, with birds mysteriously disappearing from areas involved with driven grouse shooting every year. While the withdrawal of Mr Osborne’s licence does not amount to a ban on grouse shooting in the area, it does send a clear message; that the National Trust takes raptor persecution on its sites seriously.