Natural England grants licences for buzzard control
Thursday 23rd May 2013
Buzzard (photo: Amy Lewis)
The government agency, Natural England, has licensed the destruction of the eggs and nests of buzzards to protect a pheasant shoot and a poultry farm.
The licences were issued to landowners in Northumberland and Cornwall last month and nests were subsequently removed and birds taken into captivity.
The decision comes a year after Defra halted plans to spend up to £375,000 researching ways to keep buzzards from targeting captive-reared pheasants following a public outcry. At the time, The Wildlife Trusts, commented, "After years of persecution, people have welcomed the return of the buzzard to our countryside.”
These licences are a step backwards.
Head of Living Landscape at The Wildlife Trusts, Paul Wilkinson, says:
“Once more we are seeing nature sacrificed for short term economic gain - in this case to the landowners who sell pheasant shooting and poultry. This stance is increasingly unacceptable as our natural capital continues to be eroded. These licences are a step backwards. Defra should focus on designating Marine Conservation Zones and on work to restore our natural capital for the benefit of future generations. It should not allow itself to be distracted by a few loud voices who see our wildlife as being in the way. Buzzards are beautiful birds whose numbers have now recovered after years of past persecution.”
Natural England defend their decision saying that there will be no impact on the conservation status of the bird in both areas.