• Hope for Heath (2)

    Agriculture Minister, David Heath, seemed to enjoy Monday's visit to Hope Farm.  While the skies were a little forbidding and lightning bolts crashed around us, we escaped a deluge and farm manager, Ian Dillon's record of never having to call off a farm visit remains intact.  

    As Defra prepares to implement the CAP deal and designs the new agri-environment scheme, I do think that there is a lot to learn from our…

    • 31 Jul 2013
  • Hope for Heath

    On Saturday, walking with the family between the two stages at the Cambridge Folk Festival, I stopped to have a chat with two colleagues at the RSPB stand.  we have a presence at many festivals these days as people seem quite keen to take time out from the music to talk about the birds and the bees.  Things seemed to have been going well at Cambridge, lots of good conversations, obviously some good music and they were confident…

    • 29 Jul 2013
  • Saving nature is a marathon not a sprint

    Guest post by our Chief Executive, Mike Clarke.

    For me, the last few months have been hugely significant.

    In May, we published the State of Nature report along with 24 other conservation organisations. This report brought home the reality that nature is in trouble – year by year there are fewer flowers, fewer insects and fewer birds. In fact, there are around 44 million less breeding birds since the late 1960s.…

    • 25 Jul 2013
  • Reflections on the Game Fair

    I spent last Friday at Ragley Hall at the Game Fair.  It remains a popular event with tens of thousands of people walking through the gates over a three day period.  After last year's washout, organisers (the CLA) were blessed with fine weather all weekend.  We always attend, have a stand, host a reception, talk to people who visit our stand and go and chat with others on their stands.   

    I first went in 2004, the year…

    • 25 Jul 2013
  • Future of the Public Forest Estate - chapter 4

    I promised last week to give you an update on the debate over the future of the Public Forest estate in England.

    It is over two years since the furore over government plans to sell off of public forests (let's call this chapter 1), roughly a year since the Independent Panel on Forestry published their recommendations (chapter 2) and six months since Defra responded (chapter 3).  Things seemed to be going well.  The…

    • 24 Jul 2013
  • RSPB response to results of Defra review of impacts of fish-eating brids on inland fisheries

    On Friday, with no fanfare, Defra published the findings of its review of the impacts of fish-eating birds on inland fisheries in England (or, to cut to the chase, the perceived impact on fisheries of that much maligned bird, the cormorant).  I should have commented on the day, but alas was enjoying the Game Fair (sweltering conditions, expecially in the marque where I was debating whether pheasant shooting could benefit…

    • 23 Jul 2013
  • Making woodlands work and providing hope for wildlife

    As Rob Yorke previewed yesterday, we will have a stand this weekend, as usual, at the CLA Game Fair - this year held at Ragley Hall in Warwickshire.   I'm there today and am looking forward to it - especially as I am taking part in a GWCT debate on game shooting's contribution to conservation.   

    While I am taking part in the debate, my boss, Mike Clarke, will be hosting a reception on our stand, showcasing our work…

    • 19 Jul 2013
  • Guest blog from Rob Yorke: Conservation hang-ups - be braver, bolder!

    Before travelling to the Game Fair this weekend, I welcome a guest blog from Rob Yorke, rural commentator and hunter/naturalist.  Have a read and let me know what you think.  Both Rob and I would be delighted to hear your views.


    Conservation hang-ups; be braver, bolder!

    This year the RSPB will have its usual presence at the Game Fair, one of the UK’s largest…

    • 18 Jul 2013
  • Going as wild as we can

    With all the hullabaloo over planning reforms in Northern Ireland, the anticipation over Defra's biodiversity offsetting announcement, and the England cricket team's heroics at Trent Bridge, I neglected to report on some good news.  

    Monday's guest blogger, George Monbiot may not be a fan of farm subsidies, but I hope that even he would be pleased to know that last week the Secretary of State, Owen Paterson…

    • 17 Jul 2013
  • Going wild: a guest blog from George Monbiot

    Last month, I wrote a review of George Monbiot's book, Feral.  Today, I am delighted that George has offered this contribution following a recent visit to the north of England.


     I’m writing this on the train home, after visiting two places in the north of England celebrated for their “wildness”. One of them is Ennerdale in the Lake District, now officially known as Wild…

    • 15 Jul 2013
  • How not to design a planning system: lessons from Northern Ireland

    Last year there was an almighty row over the Westminster Government's planning reforms.   Do you remember the uproar it caused?  The National Trust, CPRE, the Daily Telegraph, ourselves and many others saw the draft National Planning Policy Framework as a developers' charter.  The shires were up in arms and  the Government were forced to concede major changes to inject some sense back into the proposals.  

    Well, in…

    • 12 Jul 2013
  • Planning Naturally: twelve steps to sustainable development heaven

    Yesterday, I referred to the latest report demonstrating that our current model of economic development was failing widlife.  Today, in partnership with the RTPI and CIEEM, we publish a report saying that good planning can achieve growth in housing, infrastructure and industry without damaging the habitats which support our threatened species.

    It's worth a read.  Based on case studies from across the UK and further…

    • 11 Jul 2013
  • Where's our coping strategy for living with climate change?

    Another day and another report that says that our current economic development model is not fit for purpose.

    The scale of the potential impact of a chaotic climate driven by global warming is set out starkly in today’s report by the Adaptation sub committee of the Government’s official advisers – the Climate Change Committee...

    ...shortages of water crippling agricultural production, costs of coastal…

    • 10 Jul 2013
  • Another bad day for buzzards

    On 11 February, a gamekeeper in Cumbria went into a cage trap he had set and clubbed two buzzards to death with a stick that he kept for that purpose.  He was caught on film by an RSPB camera after we were alerted to the presence of the birds by members of the public.  On Monday, he pleaded guilty to killing these two birds and five others he had summarily despatched prior to this incident.  He was given a 70 day jail sentence…

    • 10 Jul 2013
  • STAR performers

    "Then just curl up on the ground and pretend to be a rock until I say you can move".  These were the instructions given to me and two colleagues on my recent trip to Colonsay to see our seabird tracking team.

     We had been keen to see for ourselves the work that our team is doing to improve our understanding of seabird foraging behaviour.  We were lucky to have chosen one of Colonsay's few blue and still days…

    • 8 Jul 2013
  • Why it's worth watching the telly tonight

    If you find yourself sitting in front of the telly at 8.10 tonight watching Harbour Lives on ITV1, I suggest you don't go and make yourself a cup of tea in the ad break. The world premiere of the new RSPB Giving Nature a Home advert will be screened.

    Why are we doing this?

    We and many others continue to fight many battles for wildlife but it is clear from State of Nature that we are not winning the war. Unless we…

    • 5 Jul 2013
  • Why the CAP fails to fit (again)

    The community pages of our website have been having their annual health check which means that I am only now able to reflect on last week's CAP announcement.

    I said last week that we were extremely disappointed with the outcome and we are not alone.  Read the reaction of Alan Matthews (respected Professor in economics at Trinity college, Dublin) here, and IEEP here.  Both point out this reform's environmental shortcomings…

    • 4 Jul 2013