The sea eagle reintroduction was due to start this spring, but NE and its partners Anglian Water and the RSPB are to conduct further research and consultation on the widely criticised proposal.

Last week, DEFRA minister Huw Irranca-Davies responded in Parliament to questioning on the issue of hen harrier population levels. While he referred heavily to raptor persecution he also noted that: “NE is looking to improve the conservation of the hen harrier by examining the feasibility of reintroducing this species to the lowland part of its former range.”

Such an introduction could potentially offer a partial solution to the impasse over hen harrier’s impact on moorland areas. One insider told ST that there has been no consultation on the proposals yet, so plans are clearly at an early stage, but at the time of going to press it was understood that NE was this week due to hold a major meeting with key stakeholders on the subject of hen harrier conservation.

The rest of this article appears in 5 January issue of Shooting Times.

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