Hen harrier ‘reintroduction’ to southern England: revised costs

Continuing on from recent blogs (here, here) about a series of updates on the proposed ‘reintroduction’ of hen harriers to southern England, here’s some more news gleaned from the latest FoI response from Natural England.

The estimated cost of a ‘reintroduction’ of hen harriers to southern England has previously been estimated at £515k (see DEFRA’s Hen Harrier InAction Plan).

Since DEFRA’s Inaction Plan was published in January 2016, we haven’t seen any other paperwork relating to these costs, or an explanation of how they were calculated. There was some comment last year from Natural England’s external funding bid, who were asked to provide advice to the Southern Reintroduction Project Team about a potential funding application to the Heritage Lottery Fund, that the final cost was more likely to be in excess of £2 million (see here).

However, in Natural England’s most recent FoI response, the details of a 2013 cost estimate (at the lower end of the scale) has now been released: HH southern reintro estimated project costs 2013

This estimate was described by the author (Ian Carter, who has since left NE) as “back of the proverbial fag packet stuff“. That’s fair enough. With so many project unknowns, it would have been difficult to provide anything more robust at that stage.

Fast forward four years and Natural England is now working to a revised cost estimate. It appears to have jumped from half a million quid to 1.15 million quid, and the only rationale, that we can see, is that this is how much the South Scotland Golden Eagle Project has just secured from the Heritage Lottery Fund:

21 thoughts on “Hen harrier ‘reintroduction’ to southern England: revised costs”

  1. I wonder if “natural england” has any plans to protect the taxpayers investment? Might be a good question in light of the decimation of existing Hen Harriers in Scotland and Yorkshire.
    Is it favour of banning game shoots for instance, because if not then why bother.
    Better to solve existing problems than make new ones.

    1. They are hoping these birds wont travel north. I think, if NE were serious and it was possible to prevent the birds being shot, Thorne and Hatfield Moors, Wixall Moss and the New Forest would be better sites. These could potentially become strongholds from which the recolonisation of the rest of England would be much more likely.

  2. No mention of the costs of protecting these Birds once they’ve fledged? The airborne close protection security guards they will require 24/7 to prevent them being shot out of the sky once they start to roam must be part of a separate funding bid.

  3. So all we need is a place in England where people show respect for the law! It is unbelievable how our politicians pander to these people who consider themselves above the law.And once we find a small little place somewhere where no-one objects, we just have to make sure the birds stay there the rest of their lives.Unless we invent some sort of revolutionary idea where people are asked to obey the law and someone enforces it!

  4. Presumably these costs will also appear on the balance sheet when the wider economic costs of DGS are considered.

  5. I simply can’t get my head around any of this. Try as I might, I can’t understand why you would invest over million quid of tax payers money trying to get Harriers to breed in one area simply because they are being persecuted in another. The solution is bonkers. Spend a million quid on stopping the persecution! I am confident that it would actually cost far less with volunteer work. It simply needs a will from government to do something. This is all part if an attempted cover up pushed forward by those with vested interests.

    1. You have hit the nail on the head Bob , this is utter ,utter madness .Why wont they tackle the problem of criminality, rather than wasting tax payers money on this farce? shows how powerful and influential the dark side is.

  6. For info, crane reintroduction cost about £1.3M plus maybe another £100K for the justification and feasibility assessments. So it’s sounds to me like they’re in the right ballpark


    1. But, with harriers, you can add in the cost of a police escort else they’ll all get shot. No need to protect cranes from the shooting folk…….hang on, wasn’t a crane shot in Somerset…….

  7. Of all the bonkers ideas that enable the continuing of the killing of Hen Harriers and by association all raptors on grouse moors, this is it. Well done, 10 shillings in the post.

  8. Looks like a total waste of taxpayers money on a barmy ill conceived scheme that will fail before it gets off the ground.

  9. Its a subsidy to industrial grouse shooting! It will be interesting to see how the lottery fund responds when it is fully informed on the rationale of the project, the risk to its potential investment and the opposition of the ornithological community.

  10. Would this be a good time to bring up the East Anglia sea eagle re-introduction, which was turned down because of farming/landowning objections??

  11. Given that this barmy project with no plan, no funding, no sites and source of birds as all to reduce the pressure on the grouse shooting” industry” ( since when has a law breaking cabal been an industry!!!) perhaps they should apply to the MA for funding. Then on the other hand these people won’t even pay for their own supplimentary feeding of harriers!!! How the rich stay rich and above the law.

  12. To be honest, it’s not so much the money that bothers me, it’s the signal it sends out. If you break the law blatantly enough and for long enough, and tell outrageous lies often enough, we’ll reward you by doing your dirty work for you – and at others’ expense.
    It’s not just bonkers, it’s disgusting. I do wonder about the mentality of the NE staff involved.

  13. Great point T D Dick it would make sense, and the money would be well spent. Defra’s Heh Harrier InAction plan makes no sense and will be a toatal waste of money.

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