Wild Justice questions the quality of NE’s IUCN Assessment for their lowland Hen Harrier reintroduction project

Yesterday Wild Justice sent the following letter to Natural England questioning the quality of their assessment of the feasibility of a reintroduction of Hen Harriers to southern England.

We recognise that reintroduction projects can be controversial. That makes it all the more important that the analysis which may seek to justify them is of high quality. It is also essential that a regulatory body applies high standards to its own projects when they are of a similar nature to others which may need licensing. There should be no possibility that double standards apply or might be suspected to apply to a statutory body’s own projects and those of others.

Wild Justice does not think that the Assessment carried out by Natural England is of high enough quality to form a safe basis for a reintroduction project. We are happy to concede that a proper assessment, carried out well and referring to all relevant data might (or might not) show that the proposed project might (but also might not) meet the criteria set out in the IUCN Guidelines.

The easiest way to resolve this matter is set out in paragraph 36 below and would require NE not to go ahead with any releases in 2021 and to undertake a high quality assessment with the input of independent experts before going ahead.

We await NE’s response before considering whether to take this matter further.

Wild Justice is a not-for-profit company which carries out legal challenges on behalf of wildlife, and campaigns for changes to laws and policies that will favour wildlife. To subscribe to our free newsletter – click here.