|Natalie Bennett (Green Party) signs |
our Petition at Hen Harrier Day
Our Moorland Vision petition was launched at the 2016 Hen Harrier Day on 7th August.
As at 30th August we have the following support:
- Online Petition: 1,522 signatures
- Paper Petition: 282 signatures.
We now have a paper version for you to pass around for signing at local groups and friends (download here), plus an online version on the 38 Degrees website here
Shown below are just a few comments left by those signing the online petition, followed by a response from the National Trust to our petition.
I am a member of the National Trust and not wish to see our land used for driven grouse shooting, which I abhor.Mike C
I have just signed this petition because I believe that managing land for grouse shooting is incompatible with the National Trust's vision for land, outdoors and nature.Nigel G
It was a worrying tweet in one respect, although it does demonstrate perfectly the need for our coalition of local environmental groups, and its campaign to influence the Trust's actions over the next 12 months.
|Tweet to @MoorlandVision from the National Trust, 11th Aug 2016|
The Trust tells us (here) it has lost confidence in the ability of their current shooting tenant to deliver the NT's very laudable and most welcome vision for the High Peak (see here). There was, of course, a very compelling reason to conclude this when a video came to light of a man in camo gear with a gun and a decoy hen harrier on these same National Trust-owned land (watch it here).
And nationally the evidence is equally compelling. The science (here) tells us that there should be c.300 pairs of hen harriers breeding on England's grouse moors, but there are currently less then 3. No hen harriers successfully nested in England in 2016. (see RSPB report here)
That tweet also shows a reluctance by the NT (which we'd thought was a conservation charity) to move with the times. One might lightheartedly ask whether, had there been a history of bear-baiting on these moors, would the NT also wish to see this continuing?
The evidence has now become clear: Grouse-shooting, as a profit-making business, is not compatible with either conservation or with the rule of law. It relies on wildlife crime and extreme measures for predator control and over-management of habitats and vegetation to produce sufficient shootable surplus of grouse to turn a profit. Top predators (birds of prey) and other species (such as mountain hare) which interfere in rearing maximum numbers of grouse will continue to be removed by moorland managers, and wildlife crime will continue. One simple act - one simple decision - not to re-appoint any new shooting tenant to the Hope Woodlands and Park Hall Estates would create a 6,000 hectare shooting-free enclave in which moorland habitat restoration could be carried out and deliver a rich, biodiverse and much more attractive landscape.
Almost - not quite, but almost - every square kilometre of Peak District moorland is currently managed for grouse-shooting. In fact, there are 1,220 shooting butts scattered across these moors. Only relatively small areas on the western side of Kinder Scout around the National Nature Reserve are free of them. But look at the map below. The shootings butts are shown as red guns - so close together they blur into red blobs. The purple areas are National Trust-owned land, whilst the darker purple is the two estates where our coalition is calling for no more shooting tenants to be appointed, following their eviction.
It's not a hard step to take, and would be a wonderfully simple experiment for the National Trust to undertake. Could they deliver better, restored habitats here without taking money from grouse-shooting tenants and avoid the inevitable conflict with conservation? Can the Trusts High Peak Vision be best delivered without the land being intensively managed just for grouse, so that they can later be shot for sport? We think so. And if they fail, they still have the option of bring them and their hired hands back again in, say, ten years time.
There are 220 shooting butts on National Trust land in the Peak District. If only these were to fall silent across Hope Woodlands and Park Hall National Trust estates, it would be a great step forward for conservation and landscape restoration. Any National Trust members who still felt the urge to go out and shoot a few brace of grouse wouldn't even be short of nearby options. The non-purple area of the map are all in private hands where shooting would still be available. But they might want to ask why have all the birds of prey disappeared from the Dark Peak. They might find some clues in the RSPB's 2006 and 2007 Peak Malpractice publications (here and here).
And here's a handy guide to what's involved in managing moorland for grouse-shooting.