Rein­tro­duc­tion of lynx to UK ve­toed by De­fra

The Press and Journal (North-East) - - FARMING - BY GEMMA MACKEN­ZIE

Farm lead­ers have hailed the UK Gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to re­ject plans to rein­tro­duce lynx into the Kielder For­est in Northum­ber­land.

The Lynx UK Trust had ap­plied to re­lease six Eurasian lynx into the for­est, and the ap­pli­ca­tion was put to De­fra Sec­re­tary Michael Gove for his con­sid­er­a­tion.

But Mr Gove has re­jected the ap­pli­ca­tion fol­low­ing ad­vice from Nat­u­ral Eng­land on the ba­sis that it “did not meet the nec­es­sary stan­dards” set out in in­ter­na­tional guide­lines for rein­tro­duc­tions and be­cause De­fra was not con­fi­dent it would suc­ceed.

NFU Scot­land wel­comed the de­ci­sion and said it would be wel­comed by farm­ers in the Bor­ders.

The union’s en­vi­ron­ment and land use pol­icy man­ager An­drew Mid­g­ley said: “The de­ci­sion not to re­lease lynx into Kielder For­est will come as a great re­lief to our mem­bers in the Bor­ders, par­tic­u­larly sheep farm­ers who had se­ri­ous con­cerns over the safety of their live­stock had th­ese plans been given the green light.

“It is clear from the sec­re­tary of state’s let­ter that there was in­suf­fi­cient, if any, en­gage­ment with farm­ers, landown­ers and the wider com­mu­nity and that the con­cerns of farm­ers were not mean­ing­fully ad­dressed.

“This pro­ject was there­fore flawed from the be­gin­ning and NFU Scot­land is de­lighted it will not be go­ing ahead.”

Na­tional Sheep As­so­ci­a­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive Phil Stocker de­scribed the de­ci­sion as a vic­tory “not just for farm­ers but for the ecol­ogy of the area, the ru­ral com­mu­nity and the farm­ing economy”.

He said: “We strongly be­lieve this is the right de­ci­sion, on eco­log­i­cal, so­cial and agri­cul­tural grounds. The threat of the lynx against sheep was very real.”

The NFU in Eng­land also wel­comed the news and said its ob­jec­tion to the rein­tro­duc­tion plans had sim­i­larly been based on con­cerns for live­stock wel­fare.

NOT WEL­COME: An ap­pli­ca­tion by the Lynx UK Trust to re­lease six of the cats into the Kielder For­est in Northum­ber­land wor­ried farm­ers

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