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.