Still waiting for Werritty

Autumn is here; Werritty’s report is not.

For new readers, the long anticipated and long overdue Werritty Review is a Government-commissioned report on grouse moor management in Scotland. Environment Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham commissioned it following the publication of the authoritative, ‘exemplary and thorough‘ Golden Eagle Satellite Tag Review in May 2017, which revealed the magnitude of ongoing raptor persecution on some Scottish grouse moors (read that report here).

The Werritty Review Group was announced in November 2017 and we were told to expect the report by spring 2019.

Spring 2019 came and went, the report didn’t appear, but we were told that Professor Werritty was ill and the report would be delayed by two months (new expected date: June 2019). Fair enough.

June 2019 came and went, the report didn’t appear.

Then we heard it would arrive in July 2019.

July 2019 came and went, the report didn’t appear then we heard from Professor Werritty himself that it’d be submitted ‘during the summer‘.

At the end of July, in response to public fury about on-going illegal raptor persecution on Scottish grouse moors, a Government spokesperson told us the report ‘was due in the next few weeks’ (see here).

It’s now mid-October and the report still hasn’t appeared. According to Environment Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham, writing to an MSP in response to a query about the publication date by a constituent (and blog reader!), the report is “expected within the next couple of weeks“!!

To be perfectly frank, events this year have overtaken whatever recommendations Professor Werritty might suggest – the discovery of this spring-trapped hen harrier on a grouse moor in Perthshire, this spring-trapped hen harrier caught next to his nest on a grouse moor in South Lanarkshire, this spring-trapped golden eagle photographed flying above a grouse moor in Royal Deeside, and the suspicious disappearance of two more satellite-tagged golden eagles from a grouse moor in Perthshire have demonstrated that we now need a radical approach to bring this to an end.

Nevertheless, we’re still keen to see the Werritty report appear because until it does, the Scottish Government has the perfect excuse, that it has used repeatedly since May 2017 when the review was first commissioned, to do absolutely naff all to tackle these ongoing serious organised crimes.

It is right and sensible that Scottish Government should wait for that report“, says Roseanna Cunningham. How can it possibly be “right” or “sensible” that the Government should continue to sit on its hands and watch these atrocities taking place, suggesting it’s powerless to act?


13 thoughts on “Still waiting for Werritty”

  1. The timing of the release of the Werritty review smacks of political opportunism. It has allowed the Scottish government to release its 2019-2020 programme of legislation without any measures to correct the favoured status of grouse moors and end the persecution of mountain hares. The delay beyond the SNP conference has prevented SNP members from ensuring a debate on animal welfare legislation this autumn. I would not normally equate Nicola Sturgeon with Nero, but in the case of animal welfare, she is presiding over a government which is fiddling while Rome burns, and while the persecution of our iconic Scottish wildlife goes unpunished.

  2. I’m in total agreement with this post. However, it would have been far more sensible if the RSPB had committed to supporting a ban on driven grouse shooting in Scotland. Surely, after all that has happened, the government may have been minded to support a ban on this out of control ‘industry.’
    The many of us that are now waiting for the publishing of this report, followed by consideration then consultation, will be well aware that the delay has led to the needless deaths of hundreds of raptors and other animals in the meantime.
    Additional regulation is not a silver bullet, and the criminal element are well aware of that. Their representatives and supporters are adept at handling what should be bad publicity.
    We members of the RSPB should be demanding a change in the acceptance of criminality and deaths that the present policy entails.

  3. Raptor Persecution UK 31May 2017
    “This afternoon, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Roseanna Cunningham, has announced a package of measures to tackle wildlife crime, and specifically the illegal killing of protected birds of prey on some driven grouse moors.”

    Every day since then has been historic in that they have all led to further decline in the battle against the wildlife criminals. I see no reason to put any trust in Holyrood (or Westminster).

    Presumably the Werritty report is being funded by the Scottish taxpayer:-
    1. Was there an estimated cost ?
    2. Will the final out turn cost be published (it should be) so that we (the taxpayers) can learn how much of our
    money has been wasted.

  4. So “couple” = 2 weeks = 14 days. Date of letter = 9th. Therefore takes it to 23rd Oct. “Within” meaning ‘up to & including’. So we have a maximum 7 days to wait. Will this promise be kept? I wonder………

  5. Yet another delay in the fabled report and everyone has to wait again. On Monday of this week we were on a grouse moor near the Lecht – Brown Cow Hill. It was a fantastic golden Autumn day but it was spoiled as we had to witness two keepers on ATVs stopping periodically to shoot Blue Mountain Hares, the Hares were shot running, or the keepers also stopped to drag the animals out of their “forms” before throwing them to the ground to be shot. So in their shallow burrows they are still vulnerable to barbaric persecution. We left the scene in a hurry to escape this “legal” slaughter gunshots ringing in our ears. This is just one example of “legal” slaughter that should be stopped let alone all the illegal wildlife persecution on grouse moors, yet we are still waiting for Werrity before action is taken or will it be taken?

  6. Come on Scottish Govt you can do better than this get the report published and let there be some action taken to protect wildlife from the industrialised shooting industry.

  7. Strange that, at every opportunity, it’s ‘The Scottish Government’s’ fault. Nothing else and nobody else. Why don’t you argue for having the report, without consultation? (that was sarcasm) Of course there have been delays and as I’ve said here before, if the Scottish Government gets the report wrong – it will be the opposition who will be queuing up to rubbish it and test it in the courts and then, a rushed job will be shown up for its faults. I’m certainly no happier than anyone else at the delay, but I want any court case to be found in favour of the Scottish Government (again) and not thrown out, because we were in such a hurry , we couldn’t wait a bit longer.
    We will bitterly regret it, if these destroyers of our wildlife, manage to find a flaw in the legislation, because we couldn’t wait, just a bit longer, to ensure it was (dare I say?) bulletproof? If that happens, our wait will be nothing compared to the further damage to our wildlife, while we try (again) to get it right ‘next time’. I don’t want a ‘next time’. I want it right FIRST TIME, even if delayed.

    1. Got to admire your optimism , some might say naivety, do you honestly think there will be any form of legislation worthy of finding a flaw in ? It will be a watered down pile of crap , all things to all men, taking wildlife crime seriously bla bla.

  8. Whenever there’s an inexplicably long delay between a report’s submission and its appearance I tend to assume that either a) it’s being watered down by powerful vested interests or b) politicians are unwilling to face up to the consequent actions they might then be obliged to (or under pressure to) take. Am I just being cynical or is there an entirely innocent explanation?

    1. I can think of a positive explanation. They could be tightening it up to take into account recent events. Looking at the way the SNP are handling Indyref2 i think it is unlikely.

  9. I’ve told you it’s being edited because the original report is too damaging to the criminals within driven grouse shooting, someone close to the shooting fraternity has probably seen it and blocked it from being made public in its current form

  10. FOI request the dates (we wont get the content) and agendas of all meetings between Government , SNH officials Prof Werrity and SLE/MF/SGA. Lets see if there has been any activity?

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