• Vote for Bob and ask the nature question

    A few days ago, I had a conversation on my doorstep with a prospective parliamentary candidate.  They asked me which issues interested me.  I said that I wanted to know what they were going to do to help wildlife.  Their response was impressive, showing good knowledge of both national and international issues.  We chatted about a few other issues, I was given a leaflet and then they were on their way to knock on my neighbour…

    • 1 Apr 2015
  • The RSPB and shooting: separating fact from fiction (2) - 29/03/2015

    There has been a bit of a hullabaloo over the blog that I wrote ten days ago and subsequent interview I gave to the Observer.  For much of the past year I have been castigated for being anti shooting and the ultimate insult for some was me being seen alongside the Chief Executive of the League Against Cruel Sports at the December Rally for Nature.  So, it was rather bemusing to see another headline writer misunderstand…

    • 1 Apr 2015
  • Defra Dealing Part 2: the bad and the ugly

    I’ve blogged several times about the so-called “brood management” of hen harriers, including setting out two big unanswered questions and 25 more specific ones raised by the idea of brood management.

    To be honest, I’d rather hoped not to have to write another blog on brood management this soon. I’d much rather be talking about the positive work RSPB and our partners are doing for hen harriers, for example…

    • 23 Mar 2015
  • Defra Dealings Part 1: the good

    Last Monday the RSPB had a productive meeting with the Environment Secretary, Rt Hon Liz Truss MP. It was a great opportunity to reflect on the challenges facing the incoming government after the May election.

    I was joined by people with whom the RSPB has built excellent working relationships: farmers Robert Law and Jack Edge, Cemex director Martin Casey and Alistair Chisholm, head of policy for CIWEM.

    Although our…

    • 23 Mar 2015
  • People power: a guest blog by Julian Hughes, site manager at RSPB Conwy

    This time next week I shall be in York for the RSPB Members Weekend.  To give you an idea of what's in store, I thought I'd ask one of the contributors next week, Julian Hughes, to give an overview of the story he will be sharing.  In my early days at the RSPB, I worked very closely with Julian while he was in charge of our species policy work.  Yet, seven years ago he migrated home to North Wales where he became manager…

    • 21 Mar 2015
  • A response to the outcome of the Ribble gull cull appeal

    A couple of weeks ago I spent an afternoon in court.  It is rare for the RSPB to mount legal challenges and even rarer for us to go to the Court of Appeal so it felt right to pop along and listen to the debate.  I am glad I did especially as earlier this week we received the good news that the panel of Judges found in our favour.  They concluded that the former Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, was wrong to decide that…

    • 20 Mar 2015
  • Five things we learnt from yesterday's budget

    The announcement (here) of the world’s largest marine protected areas in Pitcairn rightly stole the environmental headlines from yesterday’s budget. Yet, as ever, the Chancellor's speech and the accompanying report had wider implications for the environment. Here are five things we learnt from yesterday’s budget...

    1. Public spending is not going to increase until 2019-2020 at the earliest. This…
    • 19 Mar 2015
  • World’s largest marine reserve announced in Pitcairn

    Buried in the detail of today's Budget (here section 2.259) is the fantastic news that the UK Government intends to create the world’s largest marine reserve around the Overseas Territory of the Pitcairn Islands.

    As part of the RSPB-coordinated Great British Oceans coalition, we’ve been working with others towards this designation, as well as campaigning for the creation of similar large scale fully protected…

    • 18 Mar 2015
  • The RSPB and shooting: separating fact from fiction

    The RSPB and shooting: separating fact from fiction (2) - 29/03/2015

    There has been a bit of a hullabaloo over the blog that I wrote below and subsequent interview I gave to the Observer.  For much of the past year I have been castigated for being anti shooting and the ultimate insult for some was me being seen alongside the Chief Executive of the League Against Cruel Sports at the December Rally for Nature.  So, it was…

    • 16 Mar 2015
  • Bird trapping on Cyprus

    With a scientific report highlighting a massive increase in bird trapping on a British base in Cyprus, I have asked my colleague Grahame Madge, who visited trapping sites ten years ago, to reflect on the challenges of bringing this illegal trade to an end...

    There is no way to sugar this pill: the estimated numbers of songbirds being trapped and killed on a British base in Cyprus has increased threefold since a monitoring…

    • 11 Mar 2015
  • Celebrating 30 years of stone-curlew conservation in The Brecks: guest blog by Dr James Robinson

    Today, I am delighted to host a guest blog from my colleague and new RSPB Regional Director for Eastern England, Dr James Robinson.  Here, James highlights the impact of 30 years of effort designed to recover the stone-curlew.

    --------------------------------------------------

    Back in 1985, I was celebrating my 12th birthday and my world was very different. ‘Back to the Future’ was the must-watch film at the cinema,…

    • 9 Mar 2015
  • Nature and wellbeing by numbers

    There is a slight sense of irony when spending a couple of sunny days indoors talking about the benefits of contact with nature. But there were a few gulls outside the conference centre in Bristol and I saw a three red kites on the train, so I just about managed get my daily dose of nature.

    That said, the organisers (from the Wildlife Trusts, National Trust and the RSPB) did a great job in ensuring the two-day Nature…

    • 6 Mar 2015
  • On leadership

    I have been a little distracted by what’s going on down under recently. The performance of the English cricket team at the World Cup has brought little cheer and the national soul-searching about how we can have greater impact in one-day tournaments has started. In fact, it started before the tournament began when there was a debate about who should lead the team – Alastair Cook eventually giving way to Eoin Morgan.…

    • 4 Mar 2015