I have been sent a copy of an email from Richard Benyon MP and DEFRA Minister to one of his constituents earlier today on the Buzzard Management issue. Extracted text in bold below:
However I would
just like to reassure you that Defra are not seeking to cull buzzards.
We never were and indeed everything we do is to increase numbers of
species across our countryside. We have responded to repeated requests
(under long-standing legislation) for permission to remove buzzards from
a site where the applicant claimed they are causing damage. In
commissioning research we are attempting to find out using non-lethal
means what would be the effect of removing buzzards. We take decisions
on the basis of sound scientific evidence – I am sure you agree that is
the right way to proceed.
Seems Mr Benyon and DEFRA continue to miss the point of the outrage, not one of the mainstream news outlets, the conservation organisations or the majority of people calling for a halt to this plan have mentioned a cull, something Mr Benyon conveniently ignores.
This research appears to have been commissioned almost as an excuse to get rid of the Buzzards for the applicant who has made these repeated requests. Mr Benyon appears to be clearly stating that the research is aimed at establishing the effects of removal and not to ascertain whether a problem exists which kind of gives the lie to his final statement of taking decisions on 'the basis of sound scientific evidence'. It would appear then that all one needs to do is claim to have a problem in the future and DEFRA will be able to hand you a quick guide to the tried and tested management techniques to rid yourself of Buzzards!
For those not on Twitter by the way I have had some communication with Northumberland Estates and they have confirmed that they are not the estate on which this proposed research is to be conducted. Anyone with any information on which estate in Northumberland has the alleged problem feel free to drop me a line?