Natural England has withdrawn as the lead partner for the Suffolk White tailed sea eagle reintroduction program.
The sea eagle project partnership headed by Natural England and the RSPB has already carried out an extensive feasibility study into the potential effects of the scheme on farming and local biodiversity.
Dr Tom Tew, Chief Scientist for Natural England, said “We have taken the decision to withdraw from the project at this stage because we believe it would be inappropriate to commit public funds to an extensive public consultation over a project that we would, in the foreseeable future, be unable to fund.
In response, Dr Mark Avery, the RSPB’s Head of Conservation, said: “This decision will disappoint all those who look forward to the return of white-tailed eagles to their rightful place in England’s skies.
“Righting the wrongs of the past, which saw these magnificent birds driven from our coasts and wetlands, remains a priority for conservation programmes of the future particularly when illegal persecution of birds of prey remains far too common in the UK.
“The RSPB recognises that in a time of financial restrictions some projects need to be delayed but we are very concerned that wildlife conservation will be hit very hard by the financial stringencies ahead.
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