The RSPB spent three years lobbying the government to produce a “comprehensive conservation plan for hen harriers, endorsed by stakeholders, including landowning and shooting organisations”. The result was the publication of Defra’s harrier recovery plan six months ago. It has yet to be fully implemented but the RSPB has decided to withdraw its support.
Some will question why it has performed such a dramatic U-turn; the harriers might choose more colourful language. Curiously, the plan, which aims to recover the species across English moorland, is now no longer reliant on the RSPB for its success. The GWCT will not be walking away because this plan is based on sound scientific research. Decades of it. The GWCT has been deeply involved in the reconciliation of the wildlife conflict between hen harriers and red grouse for more than 30 years. This is why we will not be withdrawing our support.
Ian Coghill, Chairman, GWCT