Charles Clover argues that the biggest threat to hen harrier numbers isn't grouse shooting but the RSPB, which is calling for grouse moors to be licenced.

Hen harriers could flourish if chicks were moved from grouse moors to aviaries and then returned to areas where they have died out but this will never happen because the RSPB has an ideological objection to moving harrier chicks that stops this being a joint plan and therefore being published.

That’s according to Charles Clover, a columnist at the Sunday Times who used his recent column to explain exactly why he believes the RSPB is the hen harrier‘s biggest enemy.

Clover explains that in Spain and France raptors are reared in this way to avoid chicks being run over by combine harvesters.

“The key to the blockage lies not, for once, with ministers and officials but with a charity preoccupied with its own hatred of bird killers rather than the art of the possible,” Clover writes.

“Right now the main obstacle to the recovery and reintroduction throughout England of one of the most entrancing and endangered birds of prey is the RSPB.”

There are calls for DEFRA to publish the hen harrier joint recovery plan, with over 5,000 signatures already on the recently launched e-petition.

“There are many unanswered questions about this plan that could be dealt with in a public consultation. But still it has not been published,” he said.