I wanted to give you a brief update you on what’s been happening with our response to Natural England’s decision to issue a license to pilot brood management for hen harriers.

Since I last blogged on this thorny subject (see here) things have been progressing, albeit slowly, and I am now able to tell you that the RSPB have entered the next phase and have applied to the High Court for permission to judicially review Natural England’s grant of consent for a hen harrier brood management trail.

There will be many people interested in what happens next, the legal arguments and the debate surrounding these. Given that this now a legal proceeding it is our intention not to talk more about this matter until it is concluded so as not to prejudice the outcome.

I do just want to reiterate that we don’t enter into legal proceedings lightly and only as a last resort. However, in this case we feel that it is entirely justified. Brood management is about forcing hen harriers to fit in with driven grouse shooting. It should be the other way round.

Female hen harrier (Mark Thomas, rspb-images.com)