Well, in the midst of the mayhem that we find ourselves living through, Natural England has released the bird licensing statistics for 2019.
In fact, for some reason, they have tagged them on to the 2014 to 2018 data that we had already seen, and reissued the whole thing, meaning that there are huge numbers of licences to wade through.
But they include a comprehensive list of licences issued to control birds last year, and into the early part of 2020.
Unfortunately even at first glance it makes for depressing reading.
I'll be seeking to obtain more details in due course (this may not be easy at the moment with everyone in lockdown) but Natural England has already shown a willingness to engage with me further over the details.
Threatened species remain on the list.....
As in previous years, a number of threatened species appear on the list, including the much persecuted Herring gull and even the rare Curlew, in spite of the species being under extreme pressure in the wild, while the eggs of Mute Swans were also still being destroyed.
Moorhen and Coot were again on the list, along with several species of Geese, and our old friend the Mallard, whose eggs continue to be oiled or smashed in the name of 'public safety'. And all with official approval.
But some licences stand out even more than others. One issued to 'capture' or 'possess' a staggering 1,500 Marsh Tits needs explaining for example.
It is fair to reiterate Natural England's own words of caution here, they point out that "Annual returns show that the actual numbers affected are significantly less than the numbers covered on the licences. Due to the complexity of return information it’s not possible to publish these figures."
But, while it's true to assume that the numbers associated with each licence may be overstated , it is also true to say that Natural England gave permission to 'affect' the total number on each licence. Potentially many thousands of birds could have been legally captured or killed.
So the figures are not clearly defined which is a problem, and that's not helped by duplicate, renewed and amended licences appearing throughout the data. With such complexity it is difficult to whittle the figures down into anything of great clarity, which means many questions are left to be asked.
And ask I will.
Indeed it is important to remember that each of us has a moral responsibility to look at the figures and, where necessary, to ask questions, more of which later.
Evaluating the campaign
Meanwhile, enforced self isolation during the past few weeks has given me some time to evaluate our campaign.
I feel we have made progress but I also feel that each of us must vow to take some individual responsibility for the welfare of our wildlife. Most of you reading this already do so, from the heroic rescuers dedicating their time to saving wildlife in distress to the social media stalwarts who share relevant links and opinions far and wide.
I am pleased to have played a part in spreading public awareness of the whole wildlife licensing process in England, and indeed the rest of the UK, and alerting people to the scale of the lethal control actions being carried out under the umbrella of government bodies.
Prior to launching the campaign, it seems that the British public were largely unaware of the killing, and it was a shocking revelation to most, especially the large scale control of some of our most loved native birds. All this was being sanctioned from behind the very firmly closed doors of Natural England, so it's no wonder we were all in the dark.
Since starting the campaign back in 2018, so much information has come to light. And so many people have signed the petition; in fact, as I write this, the figure is an incredible 356,739 signatures. Change.org told me some time ago that our campaign was one of the most successful on its platform.
I've been fortunate to have a good deal of mainstream media coverage too, most of the big national newspapers have covered the story from time to time as the campaign has developed.
Progress and results
This time last year I had useful talks with Natural England - a result in itself - and further major developments followed, in particular the promise from Natural England to publish annual statistics covering many details of their wildlife licences.
This is hugely significant progress.
Furthermore, Natural England has vowed to be more open with information going forward. I have found them to be (ultimately) helpful, though I have to say there were times of very great frustration along the way!
We must not underestimate the successes we have achieved.
As a result of our campaigning, we can all see and analyse the data for ourselves. Data that was previously hidden. We can see just how many licences are being issued each year, we can see for what species action is being taken and we can even see the numbers and the reasons and method of control.
We have also succeeded in spreading awareness, nationally and internationally, and we have encouraged Natural England to become more transparent.
Public examination of data imperative
Of course we all want to see the actual numbers of licences reduced. We want to see fewer birds being killed. This was, and remains, the aim of the campaign. The hope is that, with widespread public examination of the figures, Natural England might be more careful and considered about the licences they issue. And there are some signs that this might be happening with certain species.
Now that we are all able to peruse the figures, we must do so.
We can hold Natural England accountable.
If we notice something on the list of licences that concerns us, then we should ask questions. This is something I will continue to do and indeed this is something Natural England has invited me to do.
Should the campaign continue...?
I had, at one point recently, considered winding the campaign down, but on reflection I think there is still work for me to do.
But I'm very keen to have public input with this.
That is why I'm asking everyone to take a look at the latest figures (link at end of post), bearing in mind the cautious approach I mentioned earlier, and pick up on any particularly worrying licences.
If you message me through my website, quoting the licence number, then I can ask Natural England directly for an explanation.
For example, I'm already vexed by the continued issuing of licences to those who supply the 'gourmet' restaurant trade with eggs of amber listed Black headed gulls, and I'm currently writing an article on this shameful trade.
But there are many other questionable licences there too. I'll work my way through them all in due course - but, as I said, please do take a look and feel free to contact me with your own concerns.
I'll put those concerns directly to Natural England on your behalf.
Anyway, in the meantime, I'm sending everybody warmest wishes from my part of the world to yours.
Stay strong, stay safe, stay well - and most of all enjoy the Spring :)
NATURAL ENGLAND DATA LINKS: CLICK HERE
CAMPAIGN/PETITION: CLICK HERE
Bad Taste: The 'Gourmet' British Restaurants Serving Gull Eggs - With The Approval Of Natural England...
* Thousands of Black Headed Gull eggs are collected each year for human consumption, to satisfy the expensive tastes of restaurant goers....
* Natural England issues the licences that permit the taking of the gull eggs from the wild.
* Black Headed Gulls are amber listed of conservation concern.
A resurgence of nature might be one of the very few positive things to come out of this very harrowing chapter in human history. While the human race fights a battle against a virus, nature is flourishing and certainly much more visible in many parts of the country where human activity has decreased dramatically.
On a less positive note, I've recently seen the latest installment of wildlife licensing data from Natural England, covering licences that they issued last year. The sheer number of species for which Natural England issued lethal control licences is alarming, and includes red and amber listed species of conservation concern - as in previous years.
I'm wading through the data as I write and will be asking questions of Natural England in due course. And the data does beg many many questions.
'Gourmet' restaurants fuel trade in gull eggs - with approval of Natural England
One particular area of concern that stands out immediately is that of the trade in eggs of Black Headed Gulls, which are served up by 'gourmet' restaurants on their fancy menus. Yes, in 2020, it's quite astonishing that the eggs of an amber listed species, of conservation concern, can be collected - under licences issued by Natural England - and sold to elite restaurants, so that the well heeled can indulge themselves in this 'delicacy'.
All at the expense of a declining species.
This scandalous trade has been highlighted in the media over the past few years, yet it still continues - with the approval of Natural England.
Greed and gluttony - dining out on the eggs of a declining species is not acceptable
We can't blame Natural England entirely for this of course, they are merely licensing a trade that is being fuelled by greed and gluttony. Indeed if it were not for the licences then there could be a free-for-all with absolutely no regulation.
So perhaps we should apportion a big part of the blame to the restaurants themselves for demanding that the eggs appear on their menus.
I'd love to hear from restaurateurs who think that serving eggs of a threatened species is acceptable - and there must be many of them because between 2018 and 2020 Natural England approved licences to collect thousands and thousands of eggs, from the wild, in locations such as North Yorkshire and Hampshire. It's a bizarre anachronism in these environmentally aware times, and it is clearly not acceptable.
Natural England issued many other licences affecting Black Headed Gulls for other reasons too, meaning that this vulnerable species is under serious threat from the very organisation that is tasked with 'looking after' wildlife.
Natural England's licensing of gull egg collection must stop
While the restaurateurs serving gull eggs should hang their heads in shame, so should those loons (no disrespect to the bird of the same name) who think it's in any way appropriate to dine out on the eggs of a threatened species.
However, judgement will finally fall on Natural England who are issuing these licences in the first place.
How in any way can they justify taking the eggs of an amber listed species to satisfy the whims of high end restaurants?
Natural England, in their role of "helping to protect England’s nature," should surely make a stand and refuse any further applications to collect gull eggs for the restaurant trade.
Perhaps this year at least Black Headed Gulls will be safe from the egg collectors, while restaurants are forced to close under lockdown measures.
It might perhaps be a good time for Natural England to rethink these particularly distasteful licences....
Just thought I'd check in with an update and see how everyone is bearing up in these strange and challenging times.
In spite of the current situation, Natural England have today told me that the 2019 licensing stats are still scheduled for publication towards the end of this month, though (as with everything at the moment), constantly shifting events mean that nothing is entirely certain.
I will of course keep you up to date with this as and when I have more information, and I'd like to thank Natural England for keeping channels of communication open and for offering to discuss the data with me when it is released.
If current events have taught us anything, then it is to work together and to communicate, even when we have different perspectives and opinions.
The news that is assailing us from all parts of the world is shocking and often worrying, yet on this, the first day of Spring, there is still much to celebrate. While the human race is tested, the rest of nature carries on, following the seasons as it has since time began. Tides still ebb and flow, the buds on the trees are bursting open - and the birds are singing loudly.
Indeed, while we all try to make some sense of what we are experiencing, many people have been noticing that wildlife is undergoing something of a resurgence.
With the sharp drop in numbers of people travelling, industry shutting down, and a general reduction in human activity, birds seem to be much more visible and vocal everywhere, including parts of China where, in some areas, people have heard bird song for the first time. Dolphins have appeared in the canals of Venice, and here in the UK I've heard reports of wild mountain goats wandering through the streets of Llandudno and peacocks strutting along Bangor high street!
It all goes to prove what many of us already suspected, that when humankind becomes less demanding, wildlife can flourish and the planet can begin to recover from the damage we, as a species, have caused.
As someone put it recently on social media, with this coronavirus, nature seems to have pressed the 'reset' button on us.
Nature will heal us too - if we show some respect.
When we come through it all - and we will - lessons will need to be learned from this unique episode in human history. Will we learn? Who knows.
Meanwhile, though times are going to be extremely challenging and hugely difficult for many of us, life will go on.
I wish you all good health.
Stay safe and be kind to yourselves, to each other - and to nature.
Disappointing news to report today.... Natural England have told me that the long awaited and much anticipated 2019 wildlife licensing statistics, scheduled to be published by the end of this month, will NOT include detailed numbers for each species affected under their licences. This in spite of the fact that they had told me they hoped to include this key information going forward.
2019 licence stats were expected to include detailed figures...
After I complained that the 2018 statistics (published in January) were lacking some significant detail, interim operations director David Slater told me that "as part of our plans to publish the 2019 data in March we hope to include the numbers, similar to what we gave you for your FOI".
However now it seems that the 2019 data may be just as basic and ambiguous as the previous set of figures.
"....the total numbers for each licence type won’t be part of this package at this time...."
This news is likely to cause consternation among the supporters and followers of our petition who have been asking, for a considerable time, why Natural England appear to be reticent in providing detailed figures for the wildlife actions they licence, in particular the licences they issue approving lethal control of thousands of our native birds.
As many of you will know, it was only through freedom of information requests that I was able to obtain statistics and reveal the shocking numbers of birds killed under licence. Subsequently, a stunned public, previously unaware of the scale of this officially sanctioned killing, began to demand much more transparency and accountability from Natural England and its secretive licensing system.
So, I was dismayed when, on Monday, Natural England informed me that "we do plan to publish the 2019 data at the end of March.......[but] the total numbers for each licence type won’t be part of this package at this time".
I asked Mr Slater for an explanation of this decision and he told me "There are quite strict rules when we publish data, it needs to be defendable and explainable and the maximum numbers do give a exaggerated picture of actual numbers of animals that were subject to controls. While we do have that data for some species - the data is much more onerous to collect for others so it would be an incomplete picture anyway."
I have questioned this decision and have suggested to Mr Slater that publishing the maximum figures attached to each licence is relevant and would be of public interest as (either in theory or in practice) this is in fact the actual number for which Natural England has issued approval. For example, if Natural England issue a licence to kill 1000 Herring gulls then, regardless of how many gulls the licence holder finally kills, he or she would have permission from Natural England to kill up to 1000 of the birds. This may, according to Natural England, give an exaggerated picture of the actual final numbers killed but nevertheless that maximum figure is permitted and perfectly achievable without any wrong doing on the part of the licence holder. In other words, the figure appearing on the licence, exaggerated or not, is the figure approved by Natural England.
Mr Slater has invited me to discuss the data with him and raise any questions I might have.
My intention, when the data is published later this month, is indeed to examine some of the individual licences and ask some relevant questions.
So watch this space.
This may be a small step backwards but the campaign goes on....
PLEASE SIGN/SHARE THE PETITION HERE
"Where were the RSPB....?"
I've lost count of the number of RSPB members who have contacted me, complaining about the Society's initial response to Natural England's bird kill licences.
When I first revealed the shocking statistics behind the bird culls, the natural reaction from many of my blog readers was to contact the RSPB for reassurance. While it seemed obvious for members to turn to their Society for advice, people tell me that they were disappointed with the banal responses they received.
The RSPB was hardly reassuring its worried supporters with statements like: "...without knowing the reasons for each license, it is impossible to comment on individual cases, but some of the species that have been listed raise questions..."
By the time our petition had reached a quarter of a million signatures, the RSPB were telling one of my readers: "...we are aware of this matter and are trying to find out further detail. This may take some time so I’d ask you to bear with us while we investigate."
The Society added that it was "in the process of working with Natural England....on the licencing process", but there were suggestions that the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds should have already known the extent of Natural England's bird killing.... never mind having to 'investigate'.
"...As members of the RSPB, shouldn’t they have told us?"
Discussion on my blog began to tell a story of growing dissatisfaction with the RSPB, some people were even beginning to question the role of the Society in protecting the nation's bird life, "...it does make you wonder why we have to rely on Jason to tell us this stuff. As members of the RSPB, shouldn’t they have told us?" asked one reader, while another remarked "I am also an RSPB member and cant think why they are not more involved in all this."
The RSPB killed nearly 600 foxes in just one year....
Some felt that the Society had been ambivalent over a flawed licensing regime that had gone unchallenged for years.
However, the RSPB has been involved in its own killing spree....
As part of its conservation efforts, the RSPB kills thousands of animals and birds each year. The Society is quite open about this, even publishing an annual summary of its own wildlife culling. Yet many of its members seem unaware that RSPB management initiatives involve large scale slaughter of selected wildlife.
I took a look at the most recent set of statistics, which were published by the RSPB last July. I have to say that the figures seem shockingly high, even with an understanding of the motives behind the killing (motives with which I personally strongly disagree).
In just one year, between September 2017 and August 2018, the Society killed 598 foxes and 800 Crows, on and off its reserves, as part of its work in conserving various threatened species of birds.
RSPB destroying eggs of amber listed Barnacle Geese....
The RSPB also destroyed 322 Canada Goose eggs and 321 Greylag goose eggs (the reason given for this action being 'Air Safeguarding').
They also removed 22 Barnacle Goose nests and destroyed more than 100 eggs of this amber listed species (in the name of 'Tern and Avocet conservation').
In total the Society killed at least 2,719 animals and birds in just one year.
"An option based on rigorous scientific research..."
One of my readers, worried about fox and crow killing at their local RSPB reserve, was told that "...occasionally, when all other options have proved ineffective, we have had to resort to lethal control to protect some of our most threatened and vulnerable species..." and that "it is an option based on rigorous scientific research..."
But surely it is not beyond the means of an organisation as large and resourceful as the RSPB to have found a way to capture and relocate at least some of the animals on its kill list?
And surely there are far better ways of controlling birds than wrecking nests and eggs.
Am I naïve in suggesting that, rather than destroying the Barnacle goose eggs, they could be removed if necessary, and hatched elsewhere to maintain the population of this threatened species?
"These decisions can be controversial...."
Of course the RSPB feels that it can justify its action, but as the Society's Global Conservation Director, Martin Harper, admits in his introduction to the figures, "these decisions can be controversial".
Something of an understatement perhaps.
Controversial indeed... it seems odd, for example, that the Society still advocates the use of Larsen traps to catch and kill corvids, a cruel system that has been outlawed in other countries. In recent years, there has also been criticism of the way the Society chooses to despatch foxes and other mammals.
I don't doubt that the RSPB carry out some excellent work, but it does worry me that they exterminate large numbers of animals, and for so long apparently ignored the slaughter of thousands of birds, many of conservation concern, that were being killed under licences issued by Natural England.
Public pressure brings change...
It took the determined and remarkable efforts of our campaigners, members of the public, to bring about more transparency at Natural England.
Our petition, with nearly 360,000 supporters, made huge strides in bringing about change at Natural England. Many think that this should have been the job of the RSPB.
The RSPB do seem to be more engaged now, recently telling one of my readers that "we are asking Natural England for greater transparency on their decision-making process......we are recommending that there is clearer data collection and publication of this data which, where necessary, will enable Natural England to be held accountable for the decisions they make."
The frustrating part is that I was already saying that more than a year ago, while it had apparently taken the RSPB some time to acknowledge, at least publicly, that there was a problem at all - and to speak out.
An increasingly skeptical - and knowledgeable - public
Perhaps we need to question the RSPB itself over its extensive killing of native wild animals and birds. 598 foxes in one year? 800 Crows? Doesn't this seem excessive?
As more and more of the Society's members discover that protecting a handful of species involves killing thousands of other animals and birds, the RSPB might have to work harder to placate an increasingly skeptical - and knowledgeable - public.
Are contrived 'reserves', for selected species, really the answer?
How, one wonders, did wildlife survive before it was so carefully managed by the likes of the RSPB and Natural England? Humankind has desecrated habitat and countryside to such an extent that many species simply cannot naturally thrive in this country - that is why we have artificially contrived areas of habitat, 'reserved' for these selected species, often at the expense of other animals.
Clearly we have a need for reserves like those run by the RSPB, due to the mess we have made of our countryside - but there is a danger of accepting them as an alternative to proper protection of the environment outside these areas of conservation. Note HS2 and its desecration of ancient woodland, where 'mitigation' measures merely facilitate destruction.
Reserves must not become zoos. Species which are currently being exterminated on reserves, may soon themselves be under threat elsewhere.
Personally I think we should celebrate - yes and protect - those species that have found a way to thrive in the hostile environments that we have created. That includes foxes and crows. And gulls and geese. Killing them in large numbers, as a means to conserve other species, whose demise was itself caused by misguided human activity, seems like flawed thinking.
It's killing, it's exterminating lives of wild animals.
In a world on the brink of natural disaster and mass extinctions, is killing more animals really the best solution?
The RSPB kill figures for 2017 to 2018 include:-
Carrion/Hooded Crow: 800,
Fallow Deer: 38,
Muntjac Deer: 38,
Roe Deer: 333,
Red Deer: 547
Sika Deer: 146
Feral Goat: 4
Grey Squirrel: 97
Great Black-backed Gull: 3 shot, 2 nests removed
Lesser Black-backed Gull: 5 shot, 30 nests removed
Herring Gull: 2 shot, 19 nests removed
* statistics have been collated from RSPB published figures. The author has attempted to reference them as accurately as possible from the source material.
Natural England's latest plans to 'protect' endangered gulls appear to be inept....
Last year, I complained to Natural England that far too many gulls were being slaughtered under licences that they were issuing to 'pest' controllers and others.
I called for a suspension of all Herring gull licences due to the population of this iconic bird being in free-fall, some estimates suggesting an 82% drop in the birds' numbers.
Through freedom of information requests I had discovered truly shocking figures that suggested excessive extermination of the birds and for often spurious reasons.
I received reassurance, from then operations director James Diamond, that new measures would be considered to protect gulls, including red listed endangered Herring gulls.
In July, 2019, Mr Diamond told me that "it seems likely we will need to review again our approach to gull licensing, both individual and class licences...."
Gulls' Decline Is "Worrying Trend," Says Natural England
Today I note with interest that Natural England have modified the licensing criteria for two species of endangered gulls. From now on Herring gulls, together with Lesser black backed gulls, will be afforded a little more protection through slightly stricter licensing rules.
Marian Spain, interim chief executive of Natural England said today "Populations of herring gulls and lesser black-backed gulls have declined significantly in recent years and it’s essential that we do all we can to reverse this worrying trend."
Er, yes, well we could have told you that a long time ago - oh hang on, actually we did.
Too Little, Too Late
Though today's announcement from Natural England is welcome, their action really is 'too little and too late'.
Although licences for gull control and management in rural areas are likely to be significantly reduced in number, a statement from Natural England said that "Control levels of nests, eggs and chicks will not be limited in urban areas, where populations are thought to have better breeding success rates."
That is a mistake.
It leaves the door open to largely un-monitored persecution of red listed and declining species of gull. It is absurd to assume that urban gulls are in less danger than rural gulls - and yet that is exactly what Natural England have decided.
It will therefore still be possible for 'pest' control companies and others to kill these magnificent birds in urban areas if they can persuade Natural England that there is a threat to 'human life and health'. In practice, I doubt that this will prevent Natural England from issuing hundreds or thousands of licences to those who make their living from killing birds, as they have been doing for years. No wonder that the gulls are in steep decline.
No Confidence In Natural England Or Defra
Natural England said that they are "working with Defra to explore options for filling current gaps in evidence around urban gull populations, which would enable us to refine our licensing approach in future."
By the time these clunky organisations get their 'evidence' together, threatened gulls will be in even more danger. I have very little confidence that either organisation is competent enough to trust with the future of our beleaguered wildlife.
Public Pressure Can Bring More Change
But let us not forget that it is a very small step towards real change.
Without the support of all the people who continue to sign our petition, and the pressure this support has brought to bear on Natural England, I doubt that even this limited review of gull licensing would have happened. People power has again brought about change, a change that will doubtless save very many gulls, albeit not enough.
We will continue to push for change, for more protection for our native wildlife.
Meanwhile, for those hundreds of thousands of you who have signed the petition, next time you spot a gull, please remember that, but for you, that gull might not be there.
Well done. Now onward, there is much more work to do.
Please continue to sign and share the petition: HERE.
Access Complete Data File, Via My Blog, Today....
Following Natural England's publication of licensing data last week, I contacted them and expressed the disappointment many of us had felt over the lack of certain details, especially the absence of statistics specifying the numbers of birds (and other animals) covered by each licence.
I shared with Natural England my belief that, by withholding this vital information, they were reinforcing the growing public concerns over their activities.
After some further discussions with their national operations director, David Slater, I'm pleased to say that I now have Natural England's permission to share some further licensing information with the public in much more detail, via my blog, today.
And some very welcome news, beginning in March, with the next published instalment of wildlife licensing data, Natural England plan to include the numbers associated with the licences - this is a great step forward and shows a firm commitment from Natural England to strive for more transparency and accessibility over their work.
So today I am happy to provide a link to the raw data (for birds only), detailing all the individual and class licences that Natural England issued between 2015 and 2018, including the numbers of birds affected by each licence. I feel it is correct that the public can have access to these statistics in order to have an informed opinion.
The data file can now be freely accessed by the public* via the link below.
LINK: CLICK HERE
(It should be noted carefully that this raw data includes duplicate licences which need to be taken into account, in order to avoid overstating the number of birds affected).
I think this is an excellent outcome and I thank Natural England for their kind co-operation over this matter, and for listening to public concerns.
Special thanks to all the supporters of our petition, without whom this could not have happened.
I hope this information is useful and I hope too that we can now look forward to much more openness from Natural England going forward.
*Please bear in mind that this data remains copyright and cannot be misused in any way.
Please see the further information below for details of this:-
FOI data information: Please note that the information we have supplied to you is subject to copyright protection under the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. You may re-use this information (not including logos) free of charge in any format or medium, for the purposes of research for non-commercial purposes, private study, criticism, review and news reporting. You must re-use it accurately and not in a misleading context. The material must be acknowledged as Natural England copyright and you must give the title of the source document/publication. However, if you wish to re-use all or part of this information for commercial purposes, including publishing and the information is not covered by the Open Government Licence you will need to apply for a licence. Applications can be sent to Enquiry Service, Natural England, County Hall, Spetchley Road, Worcester, WR5 2NP.
This information may also contain third party copyrighted material and you will need to obtain permission from the copyright holders concerned before you re-use it.
Well, was it worth waiting for?
While Natural England have published some wildlife licensing data on their website, as per our discussions last year, the information they have released is not what we were anticipating or hoping for.
Frankly, I was expecting something better than this.
The published data does contain some information on a wide range of species (birds, mammals, amphibians and more) for which Natural England has issued licences.
This includes the bird lethal control licences which are at the heart of our campaign - but with one important set of figures missing - the actual number of birds approved to be killed under the licences. It is perhaps not surprising that this detail is missing as it is a shocking figure that would no doubt prove highly controversial if it were in the public domain. As I've revealed through freedom of information requests, it is the sheer numbers of birds that Natural England has permitted to be culled under these licences that is the biggest issue - and this, crucially, is missing from the published information.
I was, however, led to believe that these statistics would be included.
So, on behalf of the 356,000 concerned supporters of our petition, I am hugely disappointed and a little irritated.
Natural England told me that it is their intention to be much more transparent going forward.
If this is Natural England being more transparent then they have a very long way to go.
And I will be asking for an explanation from them in the next few days.
You can see the published data HERE
And please keep sharing our petition HERE
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