The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) is supporting calls for the publication of a plan that would, if implemented, see conservation and sporting interests working side-by-side to tackle one of the most contentious issues affecting England’s uplands.
Under the oversight of Defra, the Hen Harrier Joint Recovery Plan was drawn up by moor owners, gamekeepers and conservation groups. It is designed to boost hen harrier numbers in the English uplands without damaging the viability of grouse moors.
Work started in August 2012 and the plan – which comprises 6 inter-dependent elements – has been ready since January this year. It is not clear why it has not yet been officially launched.
Alan Jarrett, Chairman of BASC, the UK’s largest shooting organisation, said: “Hen harriers and heather moorlands are too important to be left to the vagaries of pressure group politics. This plan was drawn up by all sides of the debate. It is a sensible and sustainable way forward. It aims to deliver more hen harriers, but without damaging the grouse interests that fund essential moorland management.
“It is hard to see how anybody who really cares about hen harriers and the uplands could oppose this plan being put into action.
“We are asking our members to support the newly launched petition calling on the Government to publish the Hen Harrier Joint Action Plan.
“No-one should put short-term campaigning above long-term success.”
To view the petition click here
BASC has previously warned that calls for the licensing of grouse moors would have significant unintended consequences, causing a loss of valuable habitat and biodiversity and leading to unemployment and rural depopulation. For more information click here