Norfolk eagle reintroduction given green light


Plans to reintroduce White-tailed Eagle to East Anglia have been given the green light by Natural England.

As many as 60 young eagles will be released at Ken Hill Marshes near Snettisham, Norfolk, over the next decade, in a move that conservationist Roy Dennis described as "the next logical step to restore this magnificent bird to England".

Dave Slater, director for wildlife licensing at Natural England, said: "After thorough consideration, we have granted a licence allowing the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation to release White-tailed Eagles at Wild Ken Hill in Norfolk.

"Our experts have carefully assessed the project against guidelines for the reintroduction of species, as well as the potential environmental, social and economic impacts. And we are satisfied that there are no significant risks associated with it.

Reintroduced White-tailed Eagles, from the Isle of Wight scheme, have been a familiar sight in Norfolk in recent months (Tim Smith).

"We're content that the applicant's experience, as well as our expertise and licensing process, ensures the project will be carried out in a responsible, well-managed way that takes account of concerns and makes a positive contribution to both people and wildlife."

Around four in five of the 1,839 people who took part in a public consultation exercise earlier in 2021 said they were strongly supportive of bringing eagles back, while 63% of 216 farmers were also in favour. The full details of the consultation study can be found here.

The juvenile eagles will be translocated from Poland, where there are more than 1,000 breeding pairs. Current complications with international travel under COVID-19 restrictions mean that the first birds are likely to be released in 2022.

Dominic Buscall, manager at Wild Ken Hill, said: "We are delighted to have the go ahead to bring back White-tailed Eagles to eastern England, and overwhelmed by the support we have received from all sectors.

"We have also carefully been listening to concerns where they have arisen, and we are now committed to delivering this important conservation project and working with all of our stakeholders to ensure its success."

A crowdfunding page has been launched to raise money for the initial costs of the project. Find out more at wildkenhill.co.uk.