Duncan Orr Ewing, Head of Species and Land Management at RSPB Scotland has written an opinion piece published today in The Scotsman:
Duncan’s article relates to the still-awaited Government response to the Werritty Review (apparently now due ‘in the autumn’ but don’t hold your breath). For new blog readers, the Werritty Review was commissioned by the Scottish Government in 2017 to assess the sustainability of grouse moor management and it reported in November 2019. The group unanimously recommended that grouse moors should be licensed but only if, within five years, there is no measured improvement in the conservation prospects of key bird of prey populations (see here).
Here are a couple of extracts from Duncan’s article:
‘In December 2019 the independent Grouse Moor Management Review Group, chaired by Professor Alan Werritty, made recommendations as to how Scottish grouse moors might be managed “sustainably and within the law”. The Werritty Review was prompted by relentless illegal persecution of birds of prey. It followed the publication of a damning report by Scottish Natural Heritage that analysed the fate of satellite-tagged golden eagles between 2004 and 2016. The report revealed that a third of the 131 tracked birds disappeared in illegal or suspicious circumstances, predominantly on land managed for grouse shooting. Since only a small proportion of the golden eagle population was monitored, the true number of birds killed was likely higher‘.
‘RSPB Scotland supports the Group’s recommendations; but we do not accept the need for a five-year delay before licensing is considered. Licensing must be progressed as soon as possible. Grouse shooting businesses have had many decades to get their house in order and have patently failed to adapt to the laws of the land and to modern expectations. A five-year delay would likely mean up to ten years before a licensing system could be practically implemented. We need an immediate and significant change to deliver environmentally sustainable grouse moor management practices; any delay puts the future of Scotland’s spectacular birds of prey at prolonged risk from illegal behaviours; and hinders Scotland’s attempts to use nature-based solutions to tackle the climate crisis‘.
To read the full article please click here
UPDATE 26 July 2020: More hysterical scaremongering over proposed grouse moor licensing (here)