• The battle of Lodge Hill

    Lodge Hill has been in the news again (see here and here).  There has been a bit of nonsense said and written about this case, so I thought I'd disrupt my Easter break to put the record straight.  This is not just a straightforward battle between nightingales and houses.  It is as much a question about what consitutes good planning and how to build houses without causing needless harm to environment.  The last thing anyone…

    • 29 Mar 2013
  • Big Garden Birdwatch results: lessons for us all

    This year's Big Garden Birdwatch results are in and, as ever, they give us all food for thought.  

    Almost 590,000 people across the UK, including 75,000 pupils and teachers at schools, took part in January.   This figure includes at least three Harpers: my two kids and I spent a great hour on a snowy Saturday morning compiling a pretty decent list this year - all except redwing appearing in this year's top 20 (see below…

    • 28 Mar 2013
  • Nature Improvement Areas one year on: a guest blog by Professor Sir John Lawton

    Today, I welcome Professor Sir John Lawton, Vice-President of the RSPB and champion of landscape scale conservation.  His groundbreaking report, "Making Space for Nature", argued that to save nature we needed to up our game. 

    John's report advocated five key elements: "improve the quality of current sites by better habitat management; increase the size of current wildlife sites; enhance connections…

    • 27 Mar 2013
  • A chance to cast your vote and support two RSPB projects

    Two RSPB projects have been nominated for an award from the European Outdoor Conservation Association. The two exciting RSPB projects nominated are in different categories, so you can vote for both!

    1. Albatross Task Force CLICK HERE TO VOTE (closes on 12 April)

    The main threat to albatrosses is death at the end of a hook on a fishing long-line. We are working closely with BirdLife partners in the Southern Ocean to…

    • 26 Mar 2013
  • Coming soon: a report on the state of nature

    The conservation community likes to produce reports. Some of you may think we produce too many. But if we had to ditch all of them and pick just one to keep this year then it would have to be something that is arriving in May.

    It’s called The State of Nature and for most of you reading this it will be the first you’ve heard about it – but I am confident you will hear a lot more in the coming weeks.

    • 25 Mar 2013
  • Budget 2013: a reaction

    I spent Tuesday night being inspired by a talk from Dr Azzam Alwash, Chair of one of our Birdlife International Partners, Nature Iraq.  He spoke about his ten year campaign to restore the 5,000 square miles of Mesopotamian Marshes which had previously been drained under Saddam Hussein's regime.  It's quite a story full of hope and promise about what happens when good men and women decide to think and do the impossible…

    • 21 Mar 2013
  • Last week was bad, and this one hasn't started any better

    In January this year, I promised to put a focus on some of the good nature conservation news stories.  I wanted to share hope and optimism that things will get better for wildlife.

    Not today though.  Sorry.

    Last week, we had the latest depressing vote on the future of the Common Agriculture Policy - this time by Members of the European Parliament.  In little over a week, 85,000 people across Europe sent over a million…

    • 18 Mar 2013
  • Our territories overseas (4): dependent on the environment?

    In the last in a series on the UK Overseas Territories, my colleague Jonathan Hall reflects on the significance of the environment to the local economy and why it should pay to invest a little more in nature.

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    The UK Overseas Territories were, up until the 1990s, called the British Dependent Territories. And today, in a way that is frequently much more obvious than in the mainland UK…

    • 15 Mar 2013
  • Good news for nightingales and a post card from the Caribbean

    First, we were delighted to hear news yesterday that Natural England has decided to protect a national important population of nightingales by enlarging the SSSI boundary of Chattenden Woods to include at Lodge Hill.   Following its decision to confirm the notification of Benty Grange SSSI last week, it is another timely example of Natural England doing its job in the face of stiff opposition and a reminder of why we need…

    • 14 Mar 2013
  • Our Territories Overseas (2): A little goes a long way

    While we wait to hear if the nightingales at Lodge Hill will be protected, I return to our mini series about our Overseas Territories...

    Here, my colleague, Clare Stringer, gives a flavour of the UK conservation work that the RSPB does far from these shores. 

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    The UK Overseas Territories are amongst the most exciting places in the world to be working in conservation. The work that the RSPB and our partners…

    • 13 Mar 2013
  • GUEST BLOG: Time to step up for nightingales by Dr Mike Clarke

    We approach D-Day for the protection of a key nightingale site in Kent.  Below, RSPB Chief Executive, Dr Mike Clarke, explains the significance of the decision and why this time it's personal.

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    The nightingale’s melody melted into the darkness of a warm June night that was heavy with the scent of honeysuckle. I was fourteen.  That’s my first memory of a nightingale.

    • 12 Mar 2013
  • Helping the Prime Minister realise his UK Overseas Territories dream

    It’s a big week this week for the environmental treasures of the 14 UK Overseas Territories (OTs). Tomorrow, the RSPB will launch the first-ever assessment of their environmental protection laws. This coincides with the arrival of representatives from the environment departments from 10 Territories. They are in London to review the OTs Biodiversity Strategy and work out how to implement it.

    In honour of this,…

    • 11 Mar 2013
  • Natural England: still protecting our green and pleasant land

    Despite its future being subject to serious debate, I was delighted to hear that Natural England was able to focus on their core business today: helping to protect our finest wildlife sites.

    The Natural England Board has agreed to confirm the notification of a grassland SSSI at  Benty Grange in the Peak District.  You can find out more about this case here.

    We’re delighted.  We publicly supported the notification…

    • 6 Mar 2013
  • For one week only! A chance to tell Members of the European Parliament to use their voices for nature

    The next phase in the painful process to reform the Common Agriculture Policy begins next week.

    On Wednesday (13 March), for the first time, all Members of the European Parliament will have a chance to vote on their vision for the future CAP. This vision will form their negotiating position before the final deal is thrashed out between them, the European Commission and Environment Ministers from 27 Member States.

    Read…

    • 5 Mar 2013