THERE have been two articles of interest to the countryman recently: failure in breeding hen harriers and the Glorious Twelfth (Echo, Aug 9 and 10). I write with deep interest in both fields because they are related and have remained unresolved by the influential organisations over decades.

James Scott-Harden of the Moorland Association rightly says that keepered moorland provides an improved habitat for several species of birds. He rightly says that the UK has 75 per cent of the world’s heather moorland, with England having a good proportion, but why have only two pairs of hen harriers attempted nesting this year?

It is known that various forms of persecution will result in the eradication of hen harriers unless more drastic action by government, conservation organisations and landowners is implemented.

Scotland has had some success in making the landowner responsible for acts of any form of persecution on his land. So why do we not begin by following this example?

Extremely wealthy and intelligent individuals have positions on both sides of this issue so why can’t we have compromise?

Farmers are compensated for providing wildlife habitat and inspected for compliance, so what is preventing landowners being similarly rewarded for their added responsibility of maintaining a controlled and agreed number of harriers on their land?

The Glorious Twelfth cannot be so in the absence of the hen harrier.

So I consider I have a reasonable grouse that no progress has been made.

Brian G Howarth, Consett