• Reshuffling the deckchairs (7): a verdict on the outcome of the triennial review of Natural England and Environment Agency

    Last summer, the Government initiated a review of  the Environment Agency and Natural England. Yesterday, it published the results of its review.

    We argued that any review should improve the agencies' abilities to meet the ambitions set out in the Natural Environment White Paper.  Has it achieved that?

    It has been clear that some sections of the Government saw this as an opportunity to reduce costs, reduce the number…

    • 28 Jun 2013
  • How to avoid nature conservation 'kerplunk'

    The natural environment took two big hits yesterday: Defra fared particularly badly in the spending review and we also received final confirmation that European politicians had failed to green the Common Agriculture Policy. 

    First, the Spending Review: with a 10 percent cut, DEFRA was once again amongst the Departments hardest hit by the Chancellor.  The cuts announced are on top of the deep cuts already made in comprehensive…

    • 27 Jun 2013
  • Spending Review 2013 - a preview

    Later today we shall hear the results of the now traditional Westminster sporting spectacle of the Spending Review.

    The Chancellor is due to announce the departmental spending settlements for Whitehall for the period 2015-16. While much of the commentary will focus on the winners and losers in the Cabinet, there are real consequences, not least, for the State's ability to protect the environment.

    We are not expecting…

    • 26 Jun 2013
  • The battle of Lodge Hill (part 3)

    I said that this would be a big week for wildlife and I am delighted to report some good news. 

    Followers of this blog might remember that earlier in the year I wrote about Lodge Hill, a former military training school in north Kent, which is home to 85 singing nightingales and which was notified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) back in March (see here and here).

    The RSPB has been actively involved for…

    • 25 Jun 2013
  • Giving nature a home: three mid-summer tests for politicians

    Last week, I made the case that all of us have a role to give nature a home. I argued that politicians, for example, should focus on what they can do by making money, laws and institutions work much harder for wildlife.

    And this week provides three tests of whether politicians have grasped the nettle.

    On Wednesday, the Chancellor announces the results of the spending review for the 2015-16 period. We expect Defra to…

    • 24 Jun 2013
  • Give Nature a Home

    Today the RSPB launches its Giving Nature a Home campaign. 

    We want everyone to give nature a home in their own gardens or communities. This is good for garden wildlife, good for people and will evolve into a growing force that demands action from others in society.

    The State of Nature report has been a wake-up call for all of us. Despite the best endeavours of conservationists and progressive parts of the landowning…

    • 20 Jun 2013
  • Millions of little things and some very big things for nature

    Over the past few weeks, a number of people have kindly offered their thoughts through this blog on how we should collectively respond to the State of Nature report published by 25 organisations on 22 May. What struck me from reading all these posts, and the comments that they generated, was that many people are arguing for a total rethink in the way society relates to the natural world and "how we motivate people" (Ralph…

    • 19 Jun 2013
  • One Big Thing for Nature: guest blog post from Chris Packham

    Following the launch of the State of Nature report, I have been  keen to stimulate a debate about what else we need to do to live in harmony with nature. Over the past few weeks, people from differing perspectives have proposed their One Big Thing for Nature.  To close this series, I am delighted to welcome Chris Packham. 

    State of Nature - state of crisis
     The very sad thing about this report is that it contains little surprises…

    • 18 Jun 2013
  • Awards galore and away to Colonsay

    I was delighted, this weekend, to hear that my colleague, Simon Marsh, and the chair of our Conservation Committee of trustees, Dr Andy Brown, both received awards in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.

    Simon (our Head of Planning) received his MBE for services to local government while Andy's CBE (until recently Deputy Chair of the Environment Agency having previously run English Nature and the Joint Nature Conservation…

    • 17 Jun 2013
  • One Big Thing for Nature: a comment on George Monbiot's book Feral

    Am on my way to one of the wild Scottish islands, Colonsay, to visit our seabird tracking team (more on this tomorrow).

    It's given me an opportunity to reflect on George Monbiot's ideas for rewildling laid out in his book, Feral. It feels like George's One Big Thing, so I thought I'd offer a comment as part of this blog series.

    Feral offers a powerful, perceptive and, at times, challenging vision for…

    • 16 Jun 2013
  • Iolo Williams on the State of Nature

    I was lucky enough to be present at the London launch of State of Nature on 22 May.  But, this meant I missed the Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh launches.  Which meant I missed Iolo Williams' impassioned speech.  Please do either watch Iolo in action or read the transcript of his speech below.  And then do something about it...

    www.youtube.com/watch

    I’m Welsh, I’m Welsh, first language. I am proud of the fact that…

    • 15 Jun 2013
  • One Big Thing for Nature: guest blog post by Ralph Underhill

    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, Ralph Underhill, formerly of the RSPB and now working for the Public Interest Research Centre talks about the Common Cause for Nature project.

    My “one big thing” is our…

    • 14 Jun 2013
  • Wildlife Licensing: how the RSPB uses it to support nature conservation.

    Since 1981, all wild birds, their eggs and chicks have been protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (WCA). This means they cannot be killed, have their eggs taken or have their occupied nests destroyed unless this is done under licence.

    We have been quite vociferous over licensing recently, particularly in relation to our anger at licences issued by Natural England for the destruction of buzzard nests t…

    • 13 Jun 2013
  • One Big Thing for Nature: guest blog post by Ruth Davis

    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 Ruth Davis, who has previously worked for Plantlife and RSPB and is now Chief Policy Advisor at Greenpeace UK.

    The State of Nature report…

    • 12 Jun 2013
  • One Big Thing for Nature: guest blog post by Harriet Mead

    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 Harriet Mead who is on the steering group for New Networks for Nature as well as president of the Society of Wildlife Artists.

     So much of…

    • 11 Jun 2013
  • One Big Thing for Nature: guest blog post by Andy Lester

    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 Lester, Conservation Director of A Rocha UK. A Rocha is a Christian environmental and nature conservation movement which now operates…

    • 10 Jun 2013
  • One Big Thing for Nature: guest blog post by Jon Nott

    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 Jon Nott, General Secretary of Woodcraft Folk, the co-operative children and young people’s movement.

     Creepy crawlies were my gateway…

    • 7 Jun 2013
  • One Big Thing for Nature: teen spirit part 3

    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 some thoughts from a youth perspective from some of the RSPB's Phoenix forum members on legal and societal change. 

    Our teenagers recognise…

    • 6 Jun 2013
  • One Big Thing for Nature: teen spirit part 2

    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 some thoughts from a youth perspective from some of the RSPB's Phoenix forum members on education. 

    Many teenagers not only wanted to learn…

    • 5 Jun 2013
  • One Big Thing for Nature - teen spirit part 1

    How old were you when you had all the answers? I remember being a rather opinionated (and, if I am honest, quite pompous) teenager. I blame my two elder brothers.  But, my attitude to nature and conservation has evolved over time.  My views have been shaped by experience (good and bad) and a growing (and, at times, daunting) understanding of the complexity of the challenge we face in wanting to live in harmony with nature…

    • 4 Jun 2013
  • Buzzards: a guest blog from Robin Prytherch

    It was a fine half term break with the family in Northumberland. The weather kept us on land away from the seabird islands but we spent many happy hours playing cricket surrounded by cowslips and sand martins. I hope you have been enjoying the One Big Thing for Nature blog series.  I have more posts lined up for later this week, but today, I am delighted to host a guest blog from Robin Prytherch on buzzards.   Robin has…

    • 3 Jun 2013
  • One Big Thing For Nature: guest blog post by Richard Mabey

    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 Richard Mabey, FRSL. Richard is a writer and broadcaster, chiefly on the relations between nature and culture.

    How not to save the world
     I'm …

    • 1 Jun 2013