'We are coming for you' - Springwatch host Packham pledges to fight crimes against wildlife
PUBLISHED: 08:00 15 February 2019 | UPDATED: 08:36 15 February 2019
TV presenter Chris Packham has launched a not-for-profit company called Wild Justice.
The new venture has been set up to take on legal cases against public bodies where they are failing to protect species or habitats.
“The wild needs justice more than ever before,” said Mr Packham, who hosted the popular BBC Springwatch from the RSPB’s reserve at Minsmere on the Suffolk coast for three years to 2016.
“The pressures wrought upon our wildlife have reached a crisis point and this is an essential response.
“The message is clear - if you are breaking the law, if the law is weak, if the law is flawed - we are coming for you. Peacefully, democratically and legally.”
Mr Packham has joined forces with fellow campaigners Dr Mark Avery and Dr Ruth Tingay to establish the initiative, which aims to fund any legal action through public donations and crowdfunding appeals.
Mark Avery has taken two legal challenges against Natural England in the past 12 months with solicitors Leigh Day. The first has already been won: Natural England signed an agreement with a grouse moor in West Yorkshire that involved a track being built across the grouse moor. Dr Avery claimed that the track was unlawful under the EU Habitats Directive and Natural England were forced to change their position and now oppose the track being built.
Ruth Tingay co-led a 2018 legal challenge against Scottish Natural Heritage’s decision to licence the culling of ravens on grouse moors in Strathbraan, Perthshire.
Mr Packham added: “Our simple premise is to work with the laws we’ve got to seek real justice for our wildlife, to reform, refine or renew those laws we have to ensure that justice can be properly realised.
“Our wildlife has been abused, has been suffering, exploited or destroyed by criminals for too long. Well, no longer. Wild Justice will at last be the voice of those victims and it will be heard . . . and justice will be served.’