THE destruction of nests and eggs of protected birds buzzards that was licensed by a Government agency has been criticised as 'unacceptable' by the RSPB today.
By: Dion Dassanayake
Published: Thu, May 23, 2013
Government agency Natural England issue the first ever license to destroy four buzzard nests to prevent the protected birds preying on young pheasants at shoot.
The shoot owners, who said buzzards were damaging their business , were given permission to destroy the eggs and nests between April 23 and May 8.
The license was uncovered through the Environmental Information Regulations, which is equivalent to a a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.
Martin Harper, conservation director at the RSPB, criticed the lethal control of buzzards claiming it was 'unjustified' and 'unacceptable'.
He said: "Most of us celebrate the fact that buzzards are now regularly seen soaring in our skies. They are a conservation success story but we cannot take their return for granted.
The shoot owners said buzzards were damaging their business
I think that it is wrong for Natural England to issue buzzard control licences to protect commercial interests
Martin Harper from the RSPB: "I think that it is wrong for Natural England to issue buzzard control licences to protect commercial interests.
"It is wrong that there has been no public scrutiny of these decisions and it is wrong that we only heard of these decisions after the nests may have been destroyed."
The RSPB said buzzards, who are recovering from declines caused by persecution, accounted for one to two per cent of pheasant losses from shoots.
They added that there were other non-lethal ways to protect shoots from birds of prey.
Natural England claim that species could cause problems in isolated cases.
In a statement the government agency said: "The buzzard population in the locality remains particularly high and concentrated and we are confident that the local conservation status will not be adversely impacted by the destruction of this small number of nests."