Raptor Alliance Update September 2016

Posted on September 30th, 2016

Work continues primarily in anticipation of DEFRA’s decision on the Law commission review and recommendation on the 1981 Wildlife act with a decision due shortly.

The recent McMourn (National Gamekeepers Organisation) case has had profound effects within Natural England. Natural England’s own internal guidance has to be rewritten to ensure that “public opinion is not a factor that can be considered when determining a licence application”. This is a major development and will weaken the position of our larger and more financially strong opponents – cases have to be judged on their merit and be evidence based.

We should thank the NGO for taking Natural England on – it cost the NGO over £100,000 and they won the case – if they had lost it would have cost them over £300,000.

We now have a professional advisor providing lobbying support for the sport. He has been instrumental in the formation of an “All-party parliamentary group” on Pigeon racing within Parliament. Chris Davis MP has agreed to act as chair of the group. Support from all parties and both houses are being sought, much has already been forthcoming however the continuing lobbying of local MP’s in support of the APPG is vital.

The APPG enables to cover both bases whatever DEFRA determine. If the Law Commission review goes ahead, it will require Government support, the APPG can support Pigeon racing interests as the bill makes progress.

If the Government delay or disregard the Law commission recommendations we can then use the APPG to lobby within parliament to enact a specific amendment to the existing act, amendment without the support of an APPG will be difficult, we are well positioned.

Funding the Alliance is secure for at least 18 months at current activity levels given the continued RPRA, IHU and WHU support and funding. All other unions have been contacted about raising funds in support of the Alliance suggesting other means i.e. via auctions if the small £1 a member levy causes financial hardship to the individual unions.

Both Sharon Ayling and I are stepping down from the Alliance committee, both of us off to pursue new careers, the Alliance will of course continue. Can I thank the whole committee for the time and effort everyone has put in, it shows that when silly historic disputes are forgotten and people work together to progress common good you can succeed.

We are so close to overcoming the first and most substantial hurdle, please carry on the good work; remember though this is a series of marathons not a single sprint!

Stewart Wardrop
General Manager

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