New report reveals abject failure to protect birds of prey in the Peak District National Park

The Peak District Bird of Prey Initiative (BoPI) was launched in 2011, mainly in response to two damning reports from the RSPB about the continued illegal killing of raptors in the Dark Peak area of the Peak District National Park (see here & here), as well as all the publicity from a criminal prosecution, and subsequent conviction, of a Derbyshire gamekeeper who had been caught illegally using a trap (see here and here).

The BoPI comprises five organisations (Peak District National Park Authority, National Trust, Moorland Association, RSPB and Natural England), with additional support from two local raptor study groups, who are supposed to be working in partnership to increase the populations of several raptor species within the Dark Peak area of the National Park.

It was initially launched as a five-year project (2011-2015), and at the end of that period a report revealed the BoPI had failed to meet every single target set (see here).

Photo of an osprey found in the Peak District National Park in September 2015. It had two broken legs and succumbed to these injuries soon after being found. The post-mortem stated its injuries were consistent with being caught in a spring trap (Photo by RSPB)

Nevertheless, despite missing each and every one of the five-year targets, the Peak District National Park Authority decided the project would continue and announced a ‘renewed commitment’ from the Project partners, which was derided by us and by Mark Avery (here), who said it was just an opportunity for the National Park authorities to hide behind a failing project for a few more years and avoid taking any real action, like, for example, banning driven grouse shooting within the National Park.

The latest report (read it here), just published, covers the years 2016 and 2017 and surprise surprise, aboslutely nothing has changed.

Interestingly, this latest report has just been slipped out without any fanfare or publicity, presumably because the Peak District National Park Authority doesn’t want to draw attention to this on-going fiasco. The only reason we knew it was available was because we’d asked for a copy via FoI last month and had been told it would appear on the PDNPA website ‘shortly’, so we’ve been checking for it every day.

So, to summarise. No progress, no increased raptor populations, no statements of “renewed commitment”, and absolutely no point continuing with this charade of partnership-working.