The Raptor Persecution Priority Delivery Group (RPPDG, also known as the PAW Raptor Group, England & Wales) has a new Chair – Police Supt Nick Lyall.
He’s off to a good start – he’s set up a blog, in the spirit of openness, to discuss the workings of this group and to report on any progress it might make under his tenure. In the seven years this so-called partnership has been running, he’s the first to attempt to bring any semblance of transparency to proceedings and we applaud him for that.
Read Nick’s first blog here
Although Nick is new to the world of raptor persecution, he’s no fool. We’ve been talking with him over the last few weeks and he gets it. We’re not sure he gets just how difficult a role he’s taken on, but he clearly understands that the ‘partnership’ hasn’t been working and he’s determined to turn things around.
[Meeting with RSPB Investigations Team]
Quite how he’ll manage that remains to be seen. Here is a disparate group with wholly opposing objectives. A few want to increase enforcement measures to ensure the legislation works to protect birds of prey from illegal persecution, whilst the majority want to legalise persecution by getting licences to kill birds of prey just so more game birds are available to be shot for fun.
However, he’s got some good ideas. Central to that will be his proposed Action Delivery Plan – we don’t yet know the details of that but fully expect he’ll share it when its ready. It’s got to be an improvement on the current work plan, which seems to consist of the game-shooting reps doing everything they can to challenge and obfuscate the annual raptor crime figures to downplay the extent of the widespread criminality directly linked to driven grouse moors and some pheasant/partridge shoots.
He’s been meeting with some of the key players this week and we note with an eye roll his comments about today’s meeting with the Moorland Association and his reference to “rogue gamekeepers”. He still has much to learn.
[Meeting with Moorland Association]
But let’s give this guy a chance. His openness and willingness to listen is refreshing. Do we think the ‘partnership’ can be effective? No, to be frank, at least not in its current format. But let’s see what happens when the usual suspects try to block progress, as inevitably they will, and Nick has the opportunity to experience that first hand. From our conversations, it sounds like he won’t be tolerating any more disruption.
Incidentally, for regular blog readers – remember last year when we reported that Amanda Anderson (Moorland Association) had raised questions at an RPPDG meeting about grouse moor owners wanting licences to kill marsh harriers (see here, here and here), a claim Amanda denied? It’s taken us a while, and many FoI requests, but we’ll be blogging more about that conversation that ‘never happened’ (ahem) next week…..