Posts Tagged ‘Countryside Alliance’

Parliament debates Driven Grouse Shooting : trick or treat?

October 30, 2016

The epetition to Ban Driven Grouse Shooting reached the required level of signatories and then some.  The House of Commons Petitions Committee decided to hold an evidence session where the petitioner Dr Mark Avery and Jeff Knott of the RSPB answered questions from the Committee members.  Amanda Anderson of the Moorland Association and Liam Stokes of the Countryside Alliance had, according to some bloggers a much easier time from members of the Committee who had at least declared vested interest in pro DGS.

Inglorious front cover

Rob Sheldon offers us a view of the proceedings in “A grouse about evidence-based decision making”

Ollie’s Birdwatching Blog also provides a pretty good critique of the HoC Petitions Committee conduct?

But lest we be accused of bias, the readers are encouraged to watch and read the Parliamentary record

The Parliamentary website offers public access to the 477 submissions made as well as the Oral Evidence taken on 18 October 2016.  Parliament TV also makes available the proceedings and the nuances which cannot be as easily sensed from a written format are laid bare to the reader here?

Will tomorrow’s Debate in Parliament see Driven Grouse Shooting banned?  Here’s hoping for a more evidence based debate tomorrow, with MPs offering facts and not fiction.  To see the erroneous peddled as fact then read the series of submission critiques by Avery.  Of particular interest are submissions from ex-gamekeepers and local communities troubled by grouse shoots, there are some heart wrenching pleas to accompany the more academic critiques citing reports and papers.  The tragedy of the increase in illegal raptor persecution is offered by the dedicated raptor workers who have monitored the decline over decades.  Together it is a pretty damming indictment of a ‘sport’ and the submissions offer a compelling case for reform?

But this is Westminster, this is Parliament – will it be for the many or for the few?

butt%20henry

Henry wants to safeguard his pals future & we enjoy their visits to Thorne & Hatfield Moors, so let’s hope we’re in for a treat tomorrow?

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Call for evidence: Parliamentary debate on Driven Grouse Shooting.

September 23, 2016

Readers who are able to manage to keep up with the pace surrounding the complex and controversial ‘discussion’ around Driven Grouse Shooting will be aware that the long awaited date for Parliament to hear evidence on the issue has been released.

Tuesday 18 October 2016, will see Dr Mark Avery and Jeff Knot of the RSPB offer robust evidence for the case to Ban Driven Grouse Shooting whilst, as yet un-named representatives from the Countryside Alliance and the Moorland Association will offer evidence that the sport should not be banned.  Why are the names of those supporting driven grouse shooting not named?

The Parliamentary website is also inviting submissions to be sent to that same Committee Inquiry:

Scope of the inquiry (terms of reference)

The Petitions Committee has decided to hear evidence about grouse shooting before a debate in Parliament.

The Committee would also welcome written contributions from people who want to share their expertise on this subject. In particular, the Committee would welcome evidence on the following points:

  • Should the law on grouse shooting be changed? If so, how?
  • What effect does grouse shooting have on wildlife and the environment?
  • What role does grouse shooting play in rural life, especially the rural economy?

The website also provides links to the two epetitions on their site, one which has achieved this ‘discussion’ the other which seeks to “Protect grouse Moors and grouse shooting”.  There is also the opportunity to link through to the Countryside Alliance paper which extols the virtues of grouse shooting and its many (perceived) benefits.  As with much of the marketing material provided by pro driven grouse shooting and therefore intensive upland moorland management, it does not provide any validated or peer reviewed science to underpin the claims.  Perhaps they will be made available in due course?

Anyone willing or able to submit evidence to the Inquiry is invited to do so and has until Wednesday 5 October to do so.  Click here for more details.

As more information becomes available on the issue we will update the blog.  Particularly the list of MPs who will be provided with (we assume) the written submissions and then hear the oral evidence on 18 October.

To date the only list made available relates to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Shooting and Conservation, see here.  It is interesting to note, perhaps, that the secretariat is provided by the BASC.  The Chairman is Geoffrey Clinton-Brown) Con. (The Cotswolds).  As well as supporting the Govt position on bTB he also opposes the ban on snares.  It maybe that as the Chairman he will hold a neutral view on matters placed before the group, it may be that as Chair he is required to act with impartiality?  It would seem that the Vice-Chair Lord Cunningham of Felling has more experience in environmental politics?

Please, those of you who signed the petition (and even if you didn’t but wish you had) write to your constituency MPs* asking for them to make your views known.  All MPs are entitled to attend the Inquiry (currently there are 650, so if each were to be given a 10 minute slot then the Inquiry would need around 108 & 1/2 hours, so approaching three weeks?  We have one of our Humberhead Levels MPs prepared to attend the debate, diary commitments permitting.  We are grateful for the letter received back from The Rt Hon Andrea Leasom MP on the issue. We are informed by the SoS that “grouse shooting” delivers “water regulation and carbon storage” services.  We will seek clarification on those claims, particularly set against the costs of utility company treatment of water to remove sediments and colour from the drinking supply.  Similarly the costs through the public purse of restoration projects in the uplands where management has damaged deep peat through burning etc.

See a recent post where details of a Durham University study condemns upland burning as a management practice. See also the link below:

A modelling study and investigation into how annual burning on the Walshaw Moor estate may affect high river flows in Hebden Bridge.”

A well researched and referenced critique of the sport is available, and there is also a paperback version, which contains an update chapter.

Inglorious front cover

* To find your MP visit TheyWorkForYou.

Politics & Packham: Poisoned, shot, trapped Hen Harrier RIP?

September 16, 2015

Environmental conservation has a bit of competition at the moment in terms of newsworthiness, but then that’s probably always been the case to some degree?

Politics has suddenly become lively and isn’t it interesting to see the antics of the Parliamentary playground?  The humanitarian crisis continues to unfold and that of course suffers from media hype, political commentory, filibustering rather than a collective address across the piece be it at local, national or worldwide level?

Nature, quietly going about its business, so essential to all humanity is in the back seat again?  Possibly even demoted to the trailer behind?

There have been a few entertaining bits on the worldwideweb recently?  Andy Richardson / the Countryside Alliance petition calling upon the BBC to “Sack Chris Packham” is limping along with 2,629 supporters.    Packham’s team have thus far fielded a spectacular 76,130 on the “BBC Don’t Sack Chris Packham” counter petition.   Packham’s video thanking people for their support also encourages people to join the various charities he called upon / criticised for being too meek, it also importantly asks that they consider signing the Ban driven grouse shooting epetition, it may be coincidental but the numbers have risen at the rate of around 1,500 a day and it currently stands at around 18,823.  The petition has until 21 January 2016 to run, if it reaches the ‘magic’ figure of 100,000 signatories then it “will be considered for debate in Parliament”. 

In an article in yesterday’s Independent, the BBC make it clear that Packham would not face dismissal for expressing his views.  Excellent news, freedom of speech survives a little longer?  a new nature blog provides interesting background information on the Countryside Alliance and its associates.  It also analyses recent activity by government amidst the excitement and confusion of current affairs.

See also the Hen Harrier Day 2015 video, Packham at his best and promoting peaceful, proactive and democratic campaigns.  He even welcomes those who would attack him at all levels whilst failing to provide any credible science to underpin the view of ‘tradition & country lore’.  There is just one blip, ok possibly two needed for sensitive ears but they received hearty rounds of applause.

Packham’s committment to the campaign is assisted by his generous provision of an assortment of T-Shirt designs which he allows supporters to use, his website explains ….

You can download th[e] design for free for your own personal use. Please be aware that it is the copyright of Chris Packham and strictly not for resale. Action will be taken against any infringement of copyright.

Poisoned, shot, trapped – Hen Harrier RIP

This Hen Harrier t-shirt design has been created by Chris Packham and is free to download so that you can take it to your chosen printers and have made up in the colour and size of your choice.

Packham, sporting the above design (along with Avery) reminded the Goyt Valley audience in the open air arena that the management of the uplands were not best served by driven grouse shooting interests.  Cleaning water for human consumption is more expensive because of heather burning, there is also a risk of increased flooding, see the EMBER Report to better understand the effects of prescribed vegetation burning on blanket peatland hydrology, chemistry and physical properties, and on the hydrology, water quality and biota of rivers in upland peat-dominated catchments. It is the first time that a systematic and comprehensive assessment of burned and unburned catchments has been carried out.

Inglorious is the ideal Ban driven grouse shooting handbook, in its pages are all the details of everything you need to know when contacting your MP, defra, food chain suppliers and restaurants etc. to make a case for it to be outlawed.  It offers excellent references as well as further reading matter.  As Packham said recently “I’m a fully paid up member of this newfangled thing we’ve got.  It’s called science and it’s about truth”.

Should the BBC sack Chris Packham?

September 10, 2015

There has been a call by the Countryside Alliance for the BBC to sack Chris Packham.  The epetition set up by Andy Richardson three days ago is currently running at 2,449 signatures.  The BBC are petitioned “BBC please sack Chris Packham he’s anti shooting and not an impartial presenter thus misinforming viewers”.

We didn’t realise that he was a BBC employee, rather he was ocassionally contracted to appear as a presenter in various series, Springwatch for example?  Even the Guardian describes Packham as a ‘treasure’.  The Telegraph on the other hand offer up the views of Tim Bonner, the CEO of the CA but only a very short paragraph (two sentences) from the BBC Wildlife magazine defending their editorial policy as well as Packham, balanced journalism?

There are other far better opinions expressed about the CA and their attack on one of the country’s most popular naturalists/conservationists/presenters.  Standing up for nature, a new nature blog are a couple of examples.

In the interim, perhaps readers might like to consider signing the epetition NOT to sack Chris Packham.  At the time of posting this epetition set up two days ago is running at 54,471 signatures & multiplying by the second ….

If this epetition had been set up on the government epetition website & reached a 100,000 signatures in six months then the issue would be discussed in parliament!

Perhaps Change.org author should circulate details of the Ban driven grouse shooting epetition (currently running at 16,043 signatories) along with an explanation to the ‘keep Packham’ signatories and then the impact of ‘sport’ on upland peat moors would reach potential sympathisers and signatories for Ban driven grouse shooting?

 

In the meantime the ‘Indian Summer’ continues to provide interesting observations as the wildlife enjoys the warmth of the late sun.

Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas Blackwater Dyke 10092015

Small Copper are still active on Thorne Moors along with adders still to be found taking advantage of the warm weather.  Images: Martin Warne.

Adder Vipera berus Paraffin Tram 10092015

 

Swathes of Field Scabious amidst ridge and furrow of an old haymeadow, look beyond the Small Tortoiseshell for the miriad of bee species.  Image: Helen Kirk.

150906 Sm Tortoisehell nectaring on FS hrk 808

 

 

 

Conservation campaigning: epetitions to consider?

June 3, 2015

In the aftermath of the recent General Election there appears to be a number of epetitions doing the rounds.   The promised free vote to repeal the ban on hunting with hounds galloped to the fore.  Interestingly Lord Gardiner, formerly of the Countryside Alliance, will represent Defra in the House of Lords.  As a former chair of a fox hunt Lord Gardiner might perhaps be keen to promote the repeal?  Mark Avery seems to think so as does Miles King .  The Prime Minister who has ridden to hounds in Oxfordshire and believes in the freedom to hunt has ensured that he has like minded in the Lords?  Interestingly the link to the article written for the Countryside Alliance magazine reports “page not found”.  We note that the CA consider that they are the “voice of the countryside”, is that the people, the wildlife or the entity?  We would be interested to understand how they validate such a claim, something akin perhaps to suggesting that a government represents a nation when in reality most (UK) parties manage to secure power on around 25% to perhaps 30% of votes?

There are two set up, one through 38 degrees the other through change.org either or both …. the message is the same and already the Change.org is already past 350,000, 38 degrees in excess of 100,000.  One might beforgiven for wondering why the Government have not yet re-instated the GOV.UK epetition option?  Avery has pledged to launch a second ‘Ban grouse driven shooting’ epetition because of the continuing persecution of birds of prey most notably Hen Harriers.  The Change.org epeitions mentioned, had it been on the GOV.UK epetition website option would have already passed the ‘magic figure’ which would require a response from Defra and a discussion in Parliament.  How would HM Government define ‘soon’?  It will soon be a month since the General Election, maybe they are anticipating a few environmentally orientated epetitions being set up, perhaps a few relating to the NHS as well?  It might be that electoral reform could feature?  ‘Soon’ could be construed as subjective and when applied to politics then even indeterminate?  Not exactly known, established or defined perhaps?

beeguy_m

Neonictonids are back on the agenda again with the agri-industry seeking to have the moretorium lifted.  38 degrees report that Our bees are in danger again. Toxic chemical companies are trying to get their banned pesticides back on UK fields. On the 20 May an application was submitted to the government asking them to lift the ban on bee-killing chemicals for some crops planted this autumn.  If you are still concerned about the threat to bees and then you might like to consider signing the epetition here?  Already 231,960 people have contacted Elizabeth Truss MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs through this option in the hope that the government will listen.

Keep the ban on bee-killing pesticides is the most recent 38 degree campaign and it allows you to write to all three Defra Ministers:

Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Rory Stewart MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Environment and Rural Affairs MP George Eustice MP, Minister of State for Farming, Food and the Marine Environment MP Elizabeth Truss MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The campaign offers a form of words you can submit, but it also allows free text to be entered thereby making the message more personal. Imagine the impact on their inboxes …. ?

Greenblobpride


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I write about politics, nature + the environment. Some posts are serious, some not. These are my views, I don't do any promotional stuff and these views are not being expressed for anyone who employs me.

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