Last year the RSPB asked the High Court to clarify if Natural England’s decision to issue a licence to trial hen harrier brood management was lawful.
On Friday 15 March Mrs Justice Lang DBE provided that reassurance.
In particular, she states: “In my view, it is abundantly clear from the evidence that Natural England’s purpose in licensing the brood management scheme was to seek to further the conservation of hen harriers through research, not to protect grouse chicks or the grouse moor industry.”
Justice Lang supported Natural England on all eight grounds. In summary, she agreed:
1 – That Natural England does have a plan.
2 – The licence conditions do achieve its purpose.
3 – The licence does use the correct section of the Wildlife & Countryside Act.
4 – The trial is compatible with the purposes of a Special Protection Area.
5 – The trial is compatible with the Habitats Regulations.
6 – There is no two-year time limit on this trial.
7 – The trial can take place in England (rather than Scotland).
8 – The licence conditions can differ from those that might be used at roll-out.
The judgment can be read here.
You can read more about brood management here.
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