Moy Estate loses appeal against General Licence restriction imposed for wildlife crime

Moy Estate in the Scottish Highlands has lost its appeal against a General Licence restriction that was imposed on the estate in June 2022 (see here) after Police Scotland provided the licensing authority (NatureScot) with evidence of wildlife crime against birds of prey on the estate, notably the discovery of a poisoned red kite in 2020 and ‘incidents in relation to trapping offences’.

[RPUK map showing Moy Estate boundary, based on information provided by Andy Wightman’s website, Who Owns Scotland]

Regular blog readers will know that the three-year General Licence restriction on Moy Estate took effect on 21st June 2022, prohibiting the use of General Licences 01, 02 and 03 on the estate until 21st June 2025.

However, the estate appealed the restriction (as is permitted by NatureScot’s restriction process) in July and the official ‘restriction notice’ was temporarily removed from NatureScot’s website whilst the appeal was underway.

It’s all a massive farce, of course, because the estate has already had one opportunity to appeal the decision, as part of the formal restriction process. I.E. NatureScot has to provide a written ‘notification’ to an estate when a restriction has been recommended, but before the final decision has been made. The estate then has 14 days to respond (appeal) and explain why the restriction is unwarranted. On receipt of that appeal, Naturescot makes its final decision and if it’s decided to go ahead and impose the General Licence restriction, then the estate is given ANOTHER opportunity to appeal the decision within 14 days.

I don’t have the details of Moy Estate’s appeal(s) because when I asked for similar documents relating to an appeal by Leadhills Estate against its second General Licence restriction last year, NatureScot came under pressure from the solicitor representing the estate who argued that the information was ‘of a sensitive nature and disclosure into the public domain ‘may prejudice the right to any future proceedings’. NatureScot upheld that view and refused to disclose the details of the appeal (see here). Given that the same solicitor is believed to be representing Moy Estate, I haven’t wasted my time by applying for the details, although I’d suggest, given the hilarious appeal that Leadhills Estate made against its first GL restriction (see here) that the real reason for withholding the information of any similar appeals is to avoid the embarrassment of having the laughable appeal letter torn to shreds by public scrutiny.

No matter really, because it’s NatureScot’s response to the appeal that’s really of interest, and in this case, Moy Estate’s appeal has failed and as of last week, the official restriction notice is back on public view on NatureScot’s website:

There’ll be more news from Moy next month when a man appears in court to face charges concerning the alleged shooting of a sparrowhawk.

4 thoughts on “Moy Estate loses appeal against General Licence restriction imposed for wildlife crime”

  1. Many thanks again Ruth for your information on these subjects. They all add up at the end of the day into the whole world of grouse shooting and the management of the land. Nothing natural left for people to see other than heather hills burnt along with the trees and minus all the animals and birds that should inhabit the land.
    What a pity that Queen Victory ever ventured north into Scotland. She has left us a relic of Victorian Britain.
    Perhaps in the not too distant future we will rid ourselves of that legacy..

  2. ‘It’s all a massive farce…..’

    Maybe. But if a robust licensing system is ever introduced you would hope that such matters would be taken into account when licence applications are being considered.

    1. “But if a robust licensing system is ever introduced…”

      I do not think any future licensing system could work robustly based upon convictions for wildlife crime, because they are simply too hard to obtain. But licensing based upon the ecological status of an estate could work, because you cannot hide a depleted ecology, especially one the size of an estate (and the shooting industry try to claim it is actually a beneficial activity)

      But what kind of licensing are the SNP likely to introduce?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s