• Good Cop? Bad Cop? What will Paris really deliver?

    John Lanchbery, RSPB Principle Climate Change Adviser brings us up to date with the latest climate negotiations from Bonn...

    In a month from now, World leaders will meet at a UN conference of parties (COP) in Paris. They are set to agree a new global treaty to both combat and adapt to climate change.

    It will update and largely replace the old UN climate agreements, agreed in 1992 in Rio and 1997 in Kyoto. But will the…

    • 30 Oct 2015
  • Halloween ghosts?

    Tom Lancaster, Senior Land Use Policy Officer, gives us this guest post on the new IUCN Red List. It, sadly, doesn't make good reading...

    Grim news always seems to come with grim weather, and the pitiless rain yesterday was somehow a fitting prelude to the news that both the puffin and the turtle dove has been added to the IUCN Red List of species facing the risk of global extinction.

    Turtle dove. Image by Andy Hay (www.rspb-images.com)

    Joining the turtle dove is…

    • 29 Oct 2015
  • An important step for our Defend Nature campaign

    RSPB Chief Executive Mike Clarke has written a guest post on a important step in our campaign to defend the nature directives.

    This week marked an important moment in our Defend Nature campaign.

    At a meeting of EU Environment Ministers in Luxembourg on Monday, nine countries including France, Germany and Spain, spoke up clearly in support of the EU Nature Directives in a letter to Karmenu Vella, EU Environment Commissioner…

    • 29 Oct 2015
  • Mick Carroll obituary

    The conservation sector is built on the strength of its dedicated and passionate volunteers.

    I’m therefore sad to have to report the loss of one of our most passionate champions for birds of prey. The reflections at the end of this represent just a small fraction of my colleagues who knew and loved Mick. If we’d have included everyone, this would have been a book.

    Thank you to Steve Downing from the Northern…

    • 26 Oct 2015
  • A day on the banks of the Thames

    It was good to spend today on the banks of the Thames.  Waders and waterfowl were feeding on the mudflats while crows and magpies mobbed kestrels and short-eared owls on land.  I was there to film a short piece for Channel 4 News on the EU Nature Directives with Stanley Johnson.  We were at the Essex Wildlife Trust site, Thurrock Thameside Nature Park, which is a great place to visit but also tells a story about the power…

    • 23 Oct 2015
  • Debunking some myths about the EU Nature Directives

    This summer, 520,000 European citizens – including over 100,000 from the UK – sent a clear message to the European Commission that they place great value on the laws that protect nature (the EU Nature Directives). By using their voices for nature they have shouted loud and clear that the outcome of the current ‘Fitness Check’ of these laws should be a renewed focus on better implementation and enforcement. They, and a…

    • 22 Oct 2015
  • Go Forth and March: a postcard from the SNP conference in Aberdeen from Paul McNamee

    Party Conference season ended with the SNP conference in Aberdeen last weekend.  So I am delighted to welcome back Paul McNamee from our Parliamentary team to give his reflections on his foray north.


    Five hours in to my train journey to Aberdeen (with a further two hours to go), the dark edges of my mind started to feel jealous of the people who had chosen a 90 minute flight from London…

    • 21 Oct 2015
  • In praise of Scotland

    To all those Scottish rugby fans mourning your departure from the World Cup (in such cruel circumstances) here's something to bring you cheer - a reminder of some extraordinary nature reserves in your country.  Why not pay one a visit. It will make you feel better, I promise.

    Ailsa Craig
    Baron's Haugh
    Birsay Moors
    Broubster Leans
    • 19 Oct 2015
  • Wetlands Futures 2015: developing a response for our wet and salty nature

    I have spent the past couple of days in the home of the Quakers in Birmingham chairing the 2015 Wetlands Futures conference organised by WWT.  It was hugely enjoyable and instructive.  And while this meant I was unable to participate in Defra’s launch of its big conversation about the promised 25 year plan for the environment, much of what we discussed was apposite.

    The focus of our conference was on how to improve…

    • 16 Oct 2015
  • Why being boring can sometimes be good for nature

    Last night at the London launch of the Response for Nature, Environment Minister Rory Stewart apologised for being boring after two inspirational speeches from Steve Backshall (see video here) and 17 year old Josie Hewitt.

    Steve and Josie had provided the compelling case for action and the prize if we do what it takes to recover our threatened natural environment.  The Minister (pictured) was there to pick up the civil…

    • 14 Oct 2015
  • Response for Nature: a civil society gauntlet to the 4 UK governments

    Today, civil society lays down a gauntlet to each of the four UK administrations to encourage them to do more to improve the state of nature. 

    We are launching four country Response for Nature reports (pictured) to highlight the priority actions that governments need to take to respond to the parlous state of our wildlife as identified in the State of Nature report.

    There will be events in Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast…

    • 13 Oct 2015
  • Stanley Johnson at the RSPB AGM

    The highlight of this year's RSPB AGM was Stanley Johnson receiving the RSPB medal for his contribution to nature conservation.  I have known Stanley for nearly twenty years and he has always been passionate, committed and very, very funny.  His acceptance speech did not disappoint as he entertained us with images and stories from his recent trip to Australia.  The images were a bit blurred, the anecdotes not always…

    • 12 Oct 2015
  • Driven grouse shooting: status quo, licensing or a ban?

    In the run up to our AGM tomorrow, there has been some debate about the RSPB’s position on driven grouse shooting.  I am not surprised - this is a high profile issue and everyone has a right to have an opinion.  However, I thought it would be useful to re-articulate our position.

    In theory, grouse moors, in conservation terms, are not inherently a bad thing. A well managed moor could offer help for curlews, golden…

    • 9 Oct 2015
  • We need to talk about Europe (part 2): why we must implement the laws that protect nature

    If your Nature's Home magazine has arrived, you may have seen an eight-page article highlighting the role that the EU Nature Directives (Birds and Species and Habitats Directives) have played in saving some of our most iconic wildlife places: including the Dorset heathlands, Ramsey Island, the Cairngorms and Rathlin Island.  These laws have protected nature across the EU for over 35 years.  Through them, more than 27…

    • 8 Oct 2015
  • We need to talk about Europe (part 1): what has the EU ever done for nature?

    Just in case you are not a member of the RSPB (heaven forbid) or do not read your Nature's Home magazine (outrageous), I thought I'd share with you the article I wrote in the latest issue which lands on doormats this week in time for our AGM on Saturday.  In 350 words I have tried to capture our current position about the forthcoming EU referendum. We are doing more thinking about this and I shall say more in due…

    • 7 Oct 2015
  • A message from Manchester: a healthy environment for a stronger economy... and vice versa

    I am sadly not in Manchester for the Conservative Party Conference this week, but our hard-working parliamentary team remains on the road - this time with RSPB Chief Executive, Mike Clarke.  So, I have asked one of our team, Paul McNamee, to shares his reflections below.


    We are now well into conference season with week three finding us in Manchester for Conservative Party Conference. October…

    • 6 Oct 2015
  • Bowland: the calm after the storm

    All was calm and still for my trip to the Forest of Bowland of Friday.  The sky was blue, the heather showing off its purple best while northern wheatear refused to start their migration and peacock butterflies enjoyed the late summer sun.

    It was hard to reconcile this serene landscape with the turmoil and conflict that had surrounded the moor earlier this summer.  A plume of smoke on the horizon (from a moor burn) was…

    • 5 Oct 2015
  • Plan for nature?

    Defra will start a conversation about the content of its 25 year plan for nature on 14 October.  The day before, a coalition of NGOs will launch a ten-point plan to restore nature in England (and separate plans for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales).  These serve as the civil society challenge to governments across the UK about their role in responding to the State of Nature report which we published in 2013. 

    I don…

    • 2 Oct 2015