Posts Tagged ‘Hen Harrier Day 2014’

Defra …. King asks 14 weeks to a cull? Hedging and lanes, do they matter?

February 16, 2015

Countryside …. natural asset for quiet enjoyment, a playground or a resource for profit?

Once upon a time, seemingly in the midst of a previous era the village of Fishlake in the Doncaster district, was a quintessential rural idyll set amidst a canvas of pastoral tranquility.   As such it was a rare haven amidst the urban and industrialised areas of the Doncaster district.  It had much in common with its smaller neighbbouring hamlets at Braithwaite and Sykehouse.  The fields around Fishlake were in the main small and enclosed by wonderful species rich hedgerows with mature trees which offered nest holes for owls and other smaller tree nesting species.   This lowland landscape, part of the River Don flood plain was part of a working wetland and the farming practice that associated with pastoral farming.  It has in one lifetime changed dramatically, albeit acknowledging that ‘dramatic’ is a subjective choice of adjective?

A desirable place to live and one becoming increasingly popular, no surprise given the ease of which commuters can access motorway networks.   But it is one which sadly appears to be suffering neglect and abuse at the same time?  Sad to relate in other recent posts that there appears to be less than good hedgerow management practiced, now we learn of local people unnable to enjoy walks along countrylanes they have used all their lives because of what appears to be a ‘change of use’ which has, as yet remained unchallenged despite the fact that the lane is in fact designated as a “Restricted byway”.  Rural residents have little by way of services provided or leisure opportunities so it would seem only reasonable that they be allowed to continue to enjoy healthy and safe walks?  That wildlife have sanctuary or havens, what use of that?

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In this particular case part of the issue appears to be the access points.  As with many of these delighful lanes they can all join up via a number of routes and these access options do not all have signs or notices posted to provide visitors with their status so perhaps by virtue there is an assumption of vehicular access rights?

This issue has been raised with the local authority at the beginning of February, a response is awaited.

Campaign corner & updates ….

Of public assets, can readers remember the furore over the proposed sale of the forestry estate?  It would seem that there is a view emerging that there is renewed activity around that ambition ….

An epetition has been launched which is calling for the end of Forest Privatisation by the back door.  The case is not local but it is another such example of the ‘death by a thousand cuts’ that our natural environment is being inflicted with?  There was a great fanfare in 2010 with the publication of the ‘Lawton Report’ or to give it its full title Making Space for Nature …. the subsequent silence is almost deafening?  Then we had the State of Nature Report and that appeared to be a rallying cry to arms, but …. where is the ‘conservation’ party now when we need an alternative to the meagre if any offerings of the ‘mainstream’ political parties?  Master blogger Mark Avery offers an interesting series of posts which offer readers insight into the Fineshade case.  One might wonder if the series will become as long running as that of the ‘Wuthering Moors’ case?

Of other campaigning blog posts, Miles King asks of us ‘We need to talk about Defra’   His insightful analysis offers good background to the complexities of the current predicament the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.  It is interesting to read also the amount of cuts that are scheduled for Defra, so why do their agencies not secure the support of campaigning conservationists, of naturalists and grassroots communities?  Why do they not work with grassroots activists to secure local support?  The mainstream NGOs who have been the recipients of their table crumbs (project funding) may well see more commercial opportunities should they be culled in 14 weeks?

King concludes that …. none of these things will happen while politicians continue to see nature as a side-issue. Only a change in the way society views nature will lead to a shift in the position of politicians and how they view nature. This is what we all need to work on.  Read the full text of his post We need to talk about Defra.

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So, we all need to play a part and not let the apathy or attrition stand in our way?  Critical mass and collective collaborative campaigning is needed …. here’s to an inspirational networking session on 21 March, a legacy event subsequent to the momentum generated from Hen Harrier Day 2014.

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 There are events planned for 2015 to continue to raise the profile of illegal persecution of birds of prey, notably the magnificent ‘Skydancer’.  See some after thoughts on the Birders Against Wildlife Crime website posted shortly after the events.  Mark Avery too provided afterthoughts and further comments.

 

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Hen Harrier Day aftermath & badger marches

August 11, 2014

Well, it looked wet up at the Derwent Dam in the Peak District but apparently all attending appeared to consider it well worth the effort. Well done to all the 570 who turned out to evidence public fury over the continuing illegal persecution of raptors.

Hen Harrier Day 2014 has certainly provoked a media campaign by the likes of the Moorland Association, whose claims were quite astonishing and it was a great shame that the BBC reporter hadn’t the committment to test Ms Anderson’s assertions that driven grouse moors are great for HHs. Having said that they would be perhaps, except for the issue of criminals at work or play on those same driven grouse moorlands?  Therein lay the failure of Faith Wilkinson, or that of her script writer?  Chris Packham did the campaign proud, no lies no selective reporting …. judge for yourself here.  An excellent analogy was made by the Shadow Minister Barry Gardiner who described the area as a Bermuda Triangle for Hen Harriers.  Charlie Moores BAWC called for it to stop now, not eventually if the draft Hen Harrier Recovery Plan ever materialises …. seven years in the gestation, the egg is addled from so much rhetoric and hot air?

Mark Avery in his Standing up for nature blog, comments on Jim Dixon the Chief Executive of the Peak District National Park’s writing in Saturday morning’s Times newspaper that “…a bird that has a proven disruptive influence on wild grouse exists uneasily with raising large bags of grouse for sport. The naturalists will be angry tomorrow, but it’s hard to see anger doing any practical good for hen harriers. Enlightened moorland owners and a new generation of keepers who show respect for nature hold the future of this special bird in their hands‘” as being presumptious and suggestive of an “unnecessarily understanding of the criminal activities that have reduced hen harriers to such low numbers in the English uplands, and unnecessarily dismissive of the views of the people whose taxes pay for the National Park activities.”  As Avery further mentions, Dixon’s comment must surely be in a personal capacity?  One thing is for sure …. the epetition signatures slowly creep towards the target 100,000 today there are 13,487 a significant increase on the last day or so.

 

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BADGERING MATTERS?

Sadly to stay on the topic of animal persecution …. Paterson departed calling environmentalists “Green blobs” but it seems that his successor Liz Truss MP is carrying on the ConDem persecution of badgers regardless.  The Badger Trust are appealing to people to support and join us for the Colchester March Against The Badger Cull this Saturday, 16th August 2014.

This march is the last to be held before Badger Trust takes DEFRA to judicial review on 21st August and could also be the last before killing resumes in Somerset and Gloucestershire this year. As always, your attendance is extremely appreciated and important in making these events a success. Please bring family, friends, buggies, dogs, all welcome.

The organisers ask that everyone assemble at 1pm at Colchester Castle, Castle Park, Colchester, Essex, CO1 1TJ. Guest speakers include Dominic Dyer CEO of Badger Trust& Policy Advisor for Care For The Wild, Adrian Coward of Somerset Badger Group and Sarah Geller, Wildlife Campaigner.

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It’s not exactly on our doorstep, but it is a peaceful protest in support of protecting an iconic species of the quintissential English countryside.  If readers are unable to get then perhaps they could be persuaded to circulate the appeal and notification to their friends, family and network contacts.  Poor brock deserves fair hearing of robust science but there are those in power who seem to disguard what doesn’t suit their case?

Readers might be minded also to consider writing to their MPs, to the new Minister Liz Truss MP to ask for a rethink?

Hen Harriers and badgers, to see either or both are truly memorable and magical moments, they deserve a future.  Help us make sure that future generations too can experience those same magical moments.

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Mark Avery

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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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