The Countryside Rights Of Way Act isn't just about footpaths

I noticed this interesting item on the BBC news website. Seemingly the number of egg thefts from bird's nests is at an all-time low, and as the report says:

There is no doubt that the sharp decrease in the number of nest robberies is because seven egg collectors have gone to prison since the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 allowed judges and magistrates to impose custodial sentences in England and Wales, instead of just fines.

When we were given our CROW training prior to the introduction of the act we were told that the act was even more important in terms of its wildlife impact than it was for its access implications. However the BBC report isn't entirely good news, it also says that there were 143 cases of shooting and destruction of birds of prey and 91 cases of illegal poisoning. I'm afraid they will largely come down to the landowning and "countryside sports" fraternities - their efforts to portray themselves as the cuddly guardians of the countryside often masks a darker side to their activities. As the report referred to in the BBC article says,

Despite dialogue with landowning and fieldsports bodies, publicity and prosecution, the level of persecution has remained constant ... An examination of prosecutions for offences relating to the persecution of birds of prey (including shooting, trapping and poisoning) between 1985 and 2003 indicates that the majority of cases involve individuals with game rearing interests, predominantly gamekeepers ... We remain concerned that the widespread killing of birds of prey, especially on upland moorlands that are managed for grouse shooting, limits the population and distribution of several species.

Most of the incidents seem to have been in Scotland, although there are two reports of Hen Harriers being persecuted in Derbyshire and also two reports of Buzzards being persecuted. I've seen Buzzards around Bleaklow on several occasions now, I hope they don't become a target.