Posts Tagged ‘Moorland Association’

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?


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?


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.

Where is all the wildlife, is there ‘moor’ in the uplands or lowlands?

August 23, 2014

Readers may be aware that there has been much debate around driven grouse shooting recently.  Perhaps readers have signed the epetition started by Dr Mark Avery ‘Ban driven grouse shooting‘, it’s doing pretty well so far bolstered by the recent Hen Harrier Day (August 10 2014) events across the country.  Can we push it further towards that 100,000 signatures required to ensure discussion in the Westminster village?  Media of all types is key, so anyone able to twitter ….

Page 39 of the JNCC Report No: 441 A Conservation Framework for Hen Harriers in the United Kingdom (2011) Alan Fielding, Paul Haworth, Phil Whitfield, David McLeod and Helen Riley estimates that the potential carrying capacity to be somewhere in the region of 323 – 340 pairs in England.  The reality is that there were three pairs reported from England. 

So, we felt the need to visit some upland grouse moor to see all the wildlife benefits that various folk have been promoting in the media recently.  Various proponents of the sport tell us that there is an abundance of wildlife benefiting from grouse moor management and that the moors are only suitable for hen harriers because of the management.  With that in mind off we went to see raptors on upland grouse moors …. was there any wildlife up on Middlesmoor?

140818 Stewardship hrk 431Ah ha, public money so there must be public benefit?

I must admit I haven’t seen any data to evidence the many claims made by the likes of the Moorland Association but we decided to see for ourselves …. not a curlew to be heard (astonishing), nor lapwing and definitely no Hen Harriers! In fact the only bird of prey we saw was a lone kestrel as we left the village to head for the moorland.  Hang on though, lest we forget the few meadow pipits and of course a few red grouse who had survived the ‘(in)glorious 12th’, but will they see the season out to swell the numbers for next season’s guns?

140818 Middlemoor hrk 433

I counted six nice new ‘butts’ out there, with others in the distance. 

140818 Middlemoor butt hrk 430

I think we’d have seen more wildlife if we’d stayed at home where a Honey Buzzard and Red Kite were logged on our lowland moors!

Astonishingly there is a 2011 video available (comments have been disabled) where Natural England extol the virtues of managed grouse moors which have delivered for people (interestingly John Barrett of NE did not define ‘people’, perhaps he meant moorland owners or maybe it was the tax paying public), fast forward to the Walshaw Estate debacle and their withdrawl from challenge to providing ‘moor’ funding.  It would seem that there has been a recent flurry of videos being posted promoting driven grouse shooting, is this a reaction to the bad press around the illegal killing of Hen Harriers issue?

The scenery is spectacular there’s no denying that, but should the public purse be supporting any monoculture devoid of a balanced ecosystem which according to numerous peer reviewed scientific studies should include Hen Harriers?
140818 Middlesmoor top hrk 428


Back in the lowlands and here on the ‘Levels’ the corn harvest has in the main been harvested, but no longer is the stubble left for the finch flocks to forage before it is ploughed and sown with autumn seed to begin the cycle again.140823 Sandtoft Road & M180 turbine hrk 479

Here the land is worked up to the drain, any closer and the large machinery used these days causes bank slunping, a common feature along this stretch of road.

The images illustrate the changing landscape, no longer the small fields with hedges, no longer field margins where arable ‘weeds’ such as the Scarlet Pimpernel a dainty flower common in my youth flourish.  Now a veritable ‘pimpernel’ in so far as they are sadly illusive.  Diversification is also evident in the images, again this type of ‘commercialisation’ of the landscape receives heavy public subsidy without proven cost benefit analysis, instead it allows politicans to claim ‘green credits’?

140823 Round bales & turbines hrk 475



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