11 September 2014

10,000 signatures as support grows for ‘the Defra plan’

Efforts to secure a more promising future for hen harriers in England moved a little closer this week as an e- petition calling for Defra to publish its Hen Harrier Joint Recovery Plan achieved more than 10,000 signatures. This means that Defra is now obliged to respond in writing about their response.

The large number of signatures on the e-petition clearly demonstrates that there is a significant appetite to resolve this long-running conservation conflict. For the past few months cross-industry backing has been instrumental in galvanising people to sign the petition and show their commitment to a rapid resolution of this genuine wildlife conflict.

Andrew Gilruth, the GWCT’s director of Membership, Marketing, and Communications said, “There are only 149 grouse moors in England and Wales providing 1,520 jobs, but the e-petition has attracted 10,000 signatures, which signifies that all sporting organisations as well as conservationists are united in their wish to achieve more hen harriers in tandem with sustainable grouse shooting. What we don’t want is the lose lose situation, that occurred on the first Joint Raptor Study (1992-1997) where neither hen harriers nor red grouse were beneficiaries of this earlier effort to resolve this challenging issue.”

The final surge in voting appeared to occur following the controversial World Land Trust debate last week, which saw Mark Avery, Chris Packham and Bill Oddie debating this issue in front of large audience of leading journalists and wildlife enthusiasts.

Andrew explains the significance of the e-petition, “We are delighted that Defra will now provide a written response to the e-petition. Our hope is that this will lead to the publication of the Hen Harrier Joint Recovery Plan and its swift implementation. The best case scenario is that it is in place before the next breeding season in order to secure the future of this magnificent bird of prey as well as ensuring the future of sustainable grouse shooting.”

The GWCT would be grateful if people continued to sign the e-petition to signal their support of the plan and this can be found at: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/67527 Alternatively, for more information or for a detailed hen harrier briefing document, please visit the GWCT website at: http://www.gwct.org.uk/hhfactsheet


Notes to editors

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust – providing research-led conservation for a thriving countryside. The GWCT is an independent wildlife conservation charity which has carried out scientific research into Britain’s game and wildlife since the 1930s. We advise farmers and landowners on improving wildlife habitats. We employ 22 post-doctoral scientists and 50 other research staff with expertise in areas such as birds, insects, mammals, farming, fish and statistics. We undertake our own research as well as projects funded by contract and grant-aid from Government and private bodies. The Trust is also responsible for a number of Government Biodiversity Action Plan species and is lead partner for grey partridge and joint lead partner for brown hare and black grouse.

ISDN radio broadcast line – at our Fordingbridge HQ we have an ISDN radio broadcast line, allowing us to conduct interviews remotely.

For information, contact:
Kate Williams
Telephone: 01425 651000
Email: press@gwct.org.uk

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