• One Big Thing for Nature: guest blog post by Andy Spencer

    Following the launch of the State of Nature report, I am keen to stimulate a debate about what else we need to do to live in harmony with nature. Over the next few weeks, people from differing perspectives will propose their One Big Thing for Nature. Today, I am delighted to welcome Andy Spencer, Sustainability Director for the UK Operations of Cemex.

    I was disappointed to hear recently that a health check of nature undertaken…

    • 31 May 2013
  • One Big Thing for Nature: guest blog post by David Fursdon

    Following the launch of the State of Nature report, I am keen to stimulate a debate about what else we need to do to live in harmony with nature. Over the next few weeks, people from differing perspectives will propose their One Big Thing for Nature. Today, I am delighted to welcome David Fursdon, a farmer and landowner in Devon. David chairs the newly formed SW Rural and Farming Network and the established SW Chamber of…

    • 30 May 2013
  • One Big Thing for Nature: guest blog post by Rob Wilson

    Following the launch of the State of Nature report, I am keen to stimulate a debate about what else we need to do to live in harmony with nature. Over the next few weeks, people from differing perspectives will propose their One Big Thing for Nature. Today, I am delighted to welcome Dr Robert Wilson, Senior Lecturer in Conservation Biology at the Centre for Ecology and Conservation at the University of Exeter.

    Biodiversity…

    • 29 May 2013
  • One Big Thing for Nature: guest blog post by Tony Juniper

    Following the launch of the State of Nature report, I am keen to stimulate a debate about what else we need to do to live in harmony with nature. Over the next few weeks, people from differing perspectives will propose their One Big Thing for Nature. Today, I am delighted to welcome Tony Juniper, former Chief Executive of Friends of the Earth, writer and top campaigner.

    Political and public attention on environmental issues…

    • 28 May 2013
  • One Big Thing for Nature

    This week, I am on holiday with the family at our hut on the Northumberland coast.  Am hoping that the wind dies and the sun emerges for at least some of the time so we can get out and about a bit, maybe even escaping to the Farne Islands or Coquet Island.

    While I am away, please do keep an eye on our Saving Species blog for updates on buzzards and our Saving Special Places blog for updates on cases that affect important…

    • 27 May 2013
  • A borrowed thought for the day

    Triggered by the news that Natural England had issued the first ever licence for the destruction of a buzzard nest at the request of a pheasant shooting estate, a colleague pointed me in the direction of a blog from Matthew Taylor (Chief Executive of the RSA) about how to restore trust in public institutions.  In it, Matthew says...

    "Modern institutions – especially those which people believe should be expected to act…

    • 24 May 2013
  • Buzzards - an update

    This morning I reported  that Natural England (NE) had issued licences to destroy buzzard nests and kill or capture adult birds.

    Setting aside the serious impact of the licences for a moment, the way in which NE and DEFRA have acted is central to our concerns.

    I want to offer a comment on the initial responses from DEFRA and NE.

    A tweet from DEFRA said ‘NE is charged with determining applications for licences. Ministers…

    • 23 May 2013
  • From state to pressure on... buzzards

    I enjoyed the launch of our joint State of Nature report yesterday.  My day started on the BBC Breakfast sofa alongside a common toad ably handled by Jim Foster (from Amphibian and Reptile Conservation).  It ended with an excellent event at the Natural History Museum at which Sir David Attenborough gave the keynote address.  It was an important moment to highlight the crisis facing our wildlife.

    And with nature in crisis,…

    • 23 May 2013
  • Why the state of nature matters

    Today is a big day.

    For the first time, all the UK wildlife organisations have joined forces to compile a health check of nature in the UK and its overseas territories. This evening Sir David Attenborough will help us launch a new State of Nature report. We expect it will serve as a wake-up call to all of us to do more to help us live in harmony with nature.

     The report comes in my favourite month of May. A time to reflect…

    • 22 May 2013
  • The Wet, Wild and Wonderful North-West

    I have just returned from an excellent, if wet, weekend away in the north-west of England with our council of trustees, management board and regional staff.  It was a chance to see for ourselves the work we are doing with others in some big landscapes in a fabulous part of England.  It was great fun, with lots of wildlife (including otter, orchids, osprey and another 94 bird species) and lots of good conservation conversation…

    • 20 May 2013
  • Greening our pleasant land

    I have, at last, found the time to watch Roger Harrabin's Newsnight special on the Common Agricultural Policy.

    The overall message came through loud and clear: the policy is a huge taxpayer investment (some £400 p/year per family) but there are serious questions over what this money is actually buying.

    The CAP has a dark past: grotesque over-production driven by production related payments and profound negative…

    • 17 May 2013
  • Salty stories

    Here are the latest chapters in two salty stories: polyisobutene pollution in the English Channel and reform of the Common Fisheries Policy...

    Yesterday, I shared on my blog a statement about the nasty, sticky substance polyisobutene (aka PIB), to be read at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO)’s current meeting of its environmental subcommittee. Due to delays in the agenda, the statement was delivered…

    • 16 May 2013
  • Stuck for answers (2)

    While we await the full outcome of the meeting of European Fisheries Ministers (details remain patchy at the moment) attention turns to the International Maritime Organisation's environmental subcommittee.  Today, we have stepped up efforts to prevent pollution incidents such as the discharge of polyisobutylene which has had such a devastating effect on seabirds in the English Channel.

    This morning, the following…

    • 15 May 2013
  • Richard Benyon: your time is now

    You might be interested in this advert that will appear in today's paper.  It is timed to coincide with a crucial EU Council of Fisheries Ministers.  Our Biodiversity Minister has been leading the charge for radical reform of the Common Fisheries Policy and it is vital that his counterparts across the negotiating table realise the strength of public support for the stance he has been taking.  Read here to find out more…

    • 13 May 2013
  • Reforming duties...

    I don't know whether you manged to catch the Channel 4 News nature conservation special last night. I couldn't watch it all as the opening section was so dramatic that my boy ran out of the room screaming "I don't want the hedgehogs to disappear". I thought that was probably a rational response to the crisis we face.

    Anyway, I promised an assessment of the environmental assessment of the Queen's…

    • 10 May 2013
  • The offset offering (part 2)

    I had a good morning with Biodiversity Minister, Richard Benyon, yesterday.  While the weather was a little disappointing, Old Hall Marshes was looking great, hooching with waders and marsh harriers.  We discussed some of the challenges we face on the site and set it into the wider Essex/national context.  The reserve provided a much better backdrop for our discussion compared to the usual office environment. 

    Mr Benyon…

    • 8 May 2013
  • The offset offering: a guest blog from Sam Vine, Head of Conservation, Birdlife Australia

    I trust you had a fine Bank Holiday weekend.  Mine included a couple of excellent dawn(ish) choruses and feels as though it has extended a bit as this morning I shall be hosting Biodiversity Minister, Richard Benyon, at one of our reserves, Old Hall Marshes in Essex.  I am looking forward to it.  Lots of sunshine and lots of wildlife will help us both.  Which is good as there is a lot to discuss!

    Here is one issue.

    Back in…

    • 7 May 2013
  • Slowed down by sunshine

    I woke again to blue skies.  It's something I could get used to.  Shame that so much of my life is spent indoors looking out.

    But I have a confession to make.  All this sunshine has slowed me down a bit.  At home, at the Lodge and even in London where I was yesterday, spring is a wonderful distraction.  Seeing wood anemone, bluebells, lesser celandines while the migrants provide the soundtrack to spring is an absolute…

    • 3 May 2013