• The case for a Nature and Wellbeing Bill (with a lesson from Ecuador)

    I am delighted that people are beginning to talk and write about our joint campaign with The Widlife Trusts for a Nature and Wellbeing Act (read Mike McCarthy here and Geroge Monbiot here).   Thousands of people have also written to their MPs to encourage them to include a commitment to the Bill in their election manifestos and hundreds of people have already registered to join our Rally for Nature on 9 December.

    At the heart…

    • 1 Dec 2014
  • ...restoring the rest

    Regular readers of this blog will know that I am a fan of the conservation mantra: “protect the best and restore the rest”.   We still have to fight hard to prevent declines of species like turtle dove and kittiwake and to protect our finest wildlife sites like Lodge Hill, yet restoration remains the ambition. 

    As we are demonstrating at places like Wallasea Island (here), restoration of habitat can be complex…

    • 29 Nov 2014
  • Bustards spread their wings as project closes

    This year 33 birds were released in Wiltshire as part of the EU LIFE+ Great Bustard project.  They have shown good survival to date, and have been seen spreading their wings as far afield as Alderney and Dorset.  Like most of these projects, we won’t know how successful this year’s releases have been until counts are undertaken in spring 2015.  As part of the Natural England licence, the Great Bustard Group will…

    • 28 Nov 2014
  • Finding Solutions to 21st Century Conservation Problems (3)

    I have not been blogging much recently.  Sorry about that - the cold weather has slowed me down.

    But, I was stirred to return to the keyboard having spent 24 hours at the RSPB's Annual Science Meeting.  It was, as ever, inspiring to hear about the breadth of our work geared to finding solutions to 21st century conservation problems.

    Here are four highlights...

    ...celebrating the achievement of Professor Rhys Green…

    • 27 Nov 2014
  • What a wonderful world

    It's cold, the days are getting shorter, man-flu will soon set in for the winter and so I am on the look out for good news to lift the gloom.

    Here then are 25 positive stories which have been compiled by my colleague Andy Evans who heads our Nature Recovery Unit.  This reflects the fantastic work that we have done with a huge range of partners for a large number of species.

    So, if you need cheering up, just sit back…

    • 21 Nov 2014
  • Fact or fiction?

    Despite what an article by Robin Page in today’s Daily Telegraph may lead you to believe, we’re doing a lot for red squirrel conservation, have been for a number of years and plan to continue with this work. In fact, we hope to do even more, but only in those areas on the front line of red squirrel conservation where practical measures will help boost numbers.

    We are quite rightly playing our part, with others…

    • 20 Nov 2014
  • A silver lining to the cloud of attacks on the RSPB

    I am not sure that it was particularly wise for the Countryside Alliance to attempt to stir up negative PR against the RSPB regarding our latest issue of Birdcrime

    Why? Because...

    ...it allows us to confirm the professional way in which our team works with the police and the public to detect and document incidents of illegal activity and

    ...if the complaint gets the oxygen of publicity then once again people will read…

    • 15 Nov 2014
  • The RSPB’s position on the Hen Harrier Action Plan

    Over the past few weeks, the RSPB's position on Defra's draft Hen Harrier Action Plan has been misinterpreted by a number of people through the media and a lot of guff has been written about us.  There is no sign that this campaign against us will stop. We therefore thought it timely to lay out our position in full.  So, for avoidance of doubt, here is what we think about the Hen Harrier Action Plan...

    The RSPB…

    • 13 Nov 2014
  • Getting serious for nature

    David Rose's article in the Mail on Sunday didn't ruin my weekend (see here and here).  Instead, I was delighted that, once again RSPB supporters came out fighting to show their loyalty.  Thanks to all of you that offered your support through social media, this blog, email or text.  It is much appreciated.

    We will not let this crude attack distract us from our work - if anything it emboldens us to do more.

    At the…

    • 10 Nov 2014
  • It's just not cricket

    Although, it's November, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the cricket season is in full swing. The metaphors are coming thick and fast as a result of Sir Ian Botham's attack on the RSPB (see here).

    But, we do take these attacks seriously. It is becoming increasingly clear that there are people within the shooting community who are seeking to hurt us. The Ashes Bodyline series of 1932-33 springs to mind (highlights…
    • 8 Nov 2014
  • Can we afford to save the planet?

    Tonight, I spoke in a debate in the House of Commons convened by the Christians in Parliament group. The title of the debate was "Can we afford to save the planet?"

    It was a fascinating evening, expertly chaired by former Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman MP, accompanied unexpectedly by the Military wives choir who were performing in Portcullis House at the same time (and rather well I thought).

    As predicted…

    • 6 Nov 2014
  • Getting the biggest bang for the agri-environment buck

    Environment Secretary, Elizabeth Truss, gave her first major environment speech today.  You can read it here.

    The stand-out announcement was the Wild Pollinator and Farm Wildlife Package.  This will form part of the new agri-environment package for England, which we now know will, in a back to the future moment, be called Countryside Stewardship.

    While full details of the new Stewardship may not emerge for a couple of…

    • 5 Nov 2014
  • Getting the biggest bang for the conservation buck

    It was a four-walk, two-book half-term.  So I am rested.  

    Like many, I was out and about in a t-shirt on Halloween enjoying the extraordinary weather.  At Sutton Hoo (the girl is learning about Anglo-Saxons at school this year), I spotted some very large parasol mushrooms alongside harebell still in flower while a red admiral butterfly flew past.    

    Yet, Sunday's publication of the IPCC's synthesis report (here) is…

    • 3 Nov 2014