The home of Shooting Times and Sporting Gun

Charities accused of ‘giving up’ on waders

Campaign group slams ‘unadulterated silence’ of the RSPB as tools for predator control are removed and trees are planted in wader habitat.

The Campaign for Protection of Moorland Communities (C4PMC) has accused charities, including the RSPB, of giving up on ground-nesting birds and waders in particular. C4PMC is a campaign group dedicated to protecting moorland communities, grouse shooting and the livelihoods of those who live in the UK’s uplands. 

It has suggested that the conservation industry has decided ground-nesting birds are a lost cause and believes these birds are being “quietly abandoned to their fate as unfortunate collateral damage to bigger strategic imperatives”. 

C4PMC says large conservational charities such as the RSPB have not spoken up in defence of key tools for predator control in upland areas — such as humane cable restraints — and have provided “unadulterated silence” regarding the “madness of covering prime wader habitat with trees that will result in the wholesale loss of wader populations”. 

The RSPB was a partner in the Langholm Moor Project in Scotland from 2008-18 so is aware of the demonstrated benefits of the management of grouse moors for ground-nesting bird populations. Much of this was a result of predator control. 

C4PMC claims the RSPB will not risk losing the support of a compliant Scottish government that has provided it with funding by openly backing the use of legal predator control. Nor does it wish to appear off-trend by criticising tree-planting or rewilding schemes that destroy waders’ habitat. 

A paper released by councils in the North of England — Towards a Local Nature Recovery Strategy for the North of Tyne Area — has confirmed tree-planting in areas like the 160,000-acre Kielder Forest has resulted in declines of waders. This is due to loss of habitat and increasing numbers of predators. 

Alan Edwards, conservation manager on the Allendale Estates in Northumberland, who was involved in the Langholm Project, said: “Wildlife has never needed us more, it’s therefore deeply disturbing when the continuous negativity that seems to come from the conservation NGOs dulls what can only be described as positive and sustainable land management, which has at its core the delivery of success in a wide range of species. 

“Good effective management must prevail. Without it we will lose complete assemblages of some of our most iconic wildlife species. Doing nothing is not an option.”