General licence restriction to be considered on grouse moor where poisoned red kite & bait found

Further to yesterday’s blog about the discovery of a poisoned Red Kite, found in close proximity to a poisoned bait (a Lapwing) on Dava Moor in May 2021 (see here), there has been a development.

In yesterday’s blog I mentioned that I was curious about why, 19 months after the crime was discovered, there hadn’t been a General Licence restriction imposed on this grouse moor.

I’ve been in touch with NatureScot about this and they’ve confirmed that they didn’t know the investigation had concluded but now that they do know that, they’ll be contacting Police Scotland and requesting the documentation on this case, which NatureScot will consider under the General Licence Restriction Framework to see whether the threshold for a restriction notice has been met.

Excellent news, well done NatureScot.

Given the lengthy procedure involved under the Framework, including giving the landowner/shoot operator an opportunity to provide a defence, we won’t hear about the decision until well into the New Year.

UPDATE 17th January 2023: Police Scotland confirm red kite found poisoned on grouse moor had been killed with banned pesticide (here)

8 thoughts on “General licence restriction to be considered on grouse moor where poisoned red kite & bait found”

  1. Well done – mind, it should be an automatic sanction against which the estate should have to appeal and provide evidence of innocence.

  2. Well Done, Raptor Persecution. Without the hard work of Ruth and her colleagues, they might never have known had it not been published online… and neither would we! Thanks again.

  3. Well done Ruth for progressing this.

    However, it is extremely concerning that you have had to make NatureScot aware that the Police Scotland investigation had concluded.
    Why hadn’t Police Scotland contacted NatureScot to make them aware of all the details of this investigation, and that their involvement had now concluded?

    Surely tackling raptor crimes involves information sharing between partner agencies and a multi agency approach, so that it is normal practice that even if there is insufficient evidence to bring potential suspects to court, then other possible conclusions/remedies other than a prosecution could be considered?
    Quite frankly, there needs to be a complete review of how wildlife crimes are investigated and managed, right across the UK.

    The “conclusions and recommendations ” paragraph at the end of the Wildlife and Countryside Link 2021 Wildlife crime report sets out some basic minimum recommendations.

    I find it inconceivable that in todays digital world of data, that wildlife crimes are not notifiable, and that the Home Office hasn’t set out minimum standards for the police to record and investigate such crimes. Raptor persecution is supposedly a national wildlife crime priority- really??

    The persistent and continual reports of these crimes, along with all the disappearing satellite tagged birds, would suggest the current approach is simply not working.
    Shouldn’t the Minister for the Environment be held accountable for failing to recognise this and failing to enact the necessary changes to legislation to end this nonsense? Simply trotting out the worn out statement of ” we are working with partners to tackle this” is no longer acceptable.

    At the moment it would appear that how wildlife crimes are managed and investigated is a complete postcode lottery based on the enthusiasm, diligence and commitment of the police officer assigned the incident, and the priorities of the police constabulary involved. Some police officers and constabularies are better than others. Some constabularies, I suspect are deliberately trying to supress the number of reported wildlife crimes occurring, because if such crimes were accurately recorded then the failure to properly investigate, would be plain for all to see.

    If raptor crimes were notifiable, and there was a minimum standard of investigation set out by the College of Policing, then officers and chief constables would at least be more accountable if wildlife crimes were not properly recorded, managed and investigated.

    If that was coupled with changes to legislation that allowed the police/partner agencies to be far more robust with their investigative techniques (covert surveillance, mobile phone data analysis so that suspects phone data could be properly interrogated including GPS positioning etc), then we might start to see more suspects ending up getting charged and put before a court. (The current percentage of suspects charged against the number of reported wildlife crimes is simply not acceptable- and would be a national talking point if it involved offences against a person or their property.)

    I appreciate I am preaching to the converted on this blog, but it makes me increasingly angry and frustrated that at a time of global warming, extinction rebellion, and what now appears to be a blatant criminal assault on the UK’s wildlife (wildlife that has no voice of its own), that those either elected into positions of authority or employed in positions of authority, who could and should be doing something about this are failing to properly discharge their responsibilities.

  4. Well done raptor persecution uk for bringing this to the attention of your blog readers and NatureScot, who, will hopefully do the right thing with General restriction license, but as you mentioned Ruth they can only proceed if they get ” documents ” from Police Scotland. I wonder how long it will take for NatureScot to receive the documents or my guess is they won’t get the documents because Police Scotland will come up with some excuse so they don’t have to hand them over.

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