Monday, 22 August 2016

Don't let eco-zealots wreck this chance to save the hen harrier

Philip Merricks is chairman of the Hawk and Owl Trust, manager of two National Nature Reserves, and of two former RSPB reserves. He was appointed MBE in 1999 for services to conservation.  Read his article in The Telegraph

It is a pleasure to read an article in this vexed area that I can endorse unreservedly.  We need the balanced approach set out in this article to bring different views together and achieve some consensus.  Philip describes the approach of eco-zealots, or perhaps eco-terrorists, and the harm they can do.  

I emphasise a key point from the article: "To alienate those who manage the overwhelming proportion of the habitats of birds of prey is a huge mistake. Conservationists need farmers, landowners and gamekeepers on side, for it is they alone who have the ability to manage the majority of the countryside and its wildlife."  

The importance of the role played by farmers, landowners and gamekeepers in delivering the uplands and moorlands we all want is driving my thinking about the world we want to see post-Brexit. It is easy to criticise upland and moorland management; it will never be perfect, but the detractors are not able to come up with a better, viable model that meets all the requirements of: conservation, communities, ecosystem services, landscape, tourism, employment, income generation, access, and all the other potentially conflicting challenges.

If I agreed with you, we would both be wrong! Just because someone has a different view, does not mean they are wrong.  We need to work together, with respect for other views, with a clear view of the best way to achieve agreed objectives.

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