Opinion Former Article

BASC joins other groups in celebrating hen harrier breeding success

BASC has joined other rural groups in celebrating the most successful hen harrier breeding season in England for more than a decade.

Central to this success has been an unprecedented 21 chicks fledging from land managed for grouse shooting, which is more than 60 per cent of this year’s total young of 34.

The latest figures show nine nests in Lancashire, Cumbria, Co Durham, Northumbria and Derbyshire.

Last year, only three successful nests were recorded in England and they produced just 10 chicks.

BASC chairman Peter Glenser QC said: “The hard work and determination of all involved should be acknowledged, especially the gamekeepers and grouse moor managers who have provided the right environment for so many hen harriers to breed this year.

“Clearly, nobody dare say the battle is won; much still needs to be done to allow the hen harrier population to recover in England’s uplands. But news of the most successful breeding season for more than a decade should be celebrated as a very positive step in the right direction.”

Rural groups believe the key to this year’s success has been Natural England’s decision in January to issue a licence permitting a brood management scheme for hen harriers with the long-term aim of increasing their numbers across England.

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