The Hawk & Owl Trust, further to submitting a freedom of information (FOI) request to Natural England, are deeply concerned that a further four licences have now been issued in response to a total of six applications to control Buzzards, during the summer and autumn of 2016.
We note a licence application to control Sparrowhawks was refused.
The Hawk and Owl Trust believes that the lethal control of Buzzards is unwarranted. We call for a moratorium of the current raptor licencing, which we believe lacks scientific underpinning. It is apparent that no attempt has been made to conduct independent research, to explore variation in the impact of Buzzards on the approx. 35 million pheasant poults reared each year and to understand what impact mitigations can have. (Parrot’s review highlighted many of the gaps in our understanding and these need urgently to be addressed).
At this present time the Trust feels strongly that Natural England is making flawed decisions, where a more strategic course of action should be followed.
In the absence of specific Government policy for licensing regarding birds of prey, Natural England will continue to make its determinations on an ill-informed basis. We confirm we will also be writing to DEFRA to express our concern with this matter and to request that they issue specific policy guidance without further delay.
The board feels that the conservation of our wildlife should not be led by the value of shooting a pheasant.