Plans for the culling of thousands of seagulls have been upheld by the High Court.
A judge dismissed claims by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) that the Government-sanctioned cull is unlawful and will set a dangerous precedent for bird conservation in the UK.
Mr Justice Mitting, sitting in London, ruled the claims “unfounded”, dismissed the RSPB’s application for judicial review and ordered it to pay £10,000 in legal costs.
The Environment Secretary sanctioned the cull in the Ribble Estuary on the Lancashire coast at the request of aerospace firm BAE Systems.
BAE said a reduction in the population of lesser black-backed gulls and herring gulls was required because of fears over birds being sucked into the engines of jets using the airfield at its Warton site.
Later the RSPB described the ruling as “very worrying” and is seeking permission to appeal.