• Spark joy this weekend with the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch

    For reasons I have yet to fully understand, my wife recently bought me a copy of Marie Kondo's book The life changing magic of tidying up.  In it, Ms Kondo encourages you only to keep those things that spark joy.  It's quite a radical and eccentric approach that forces you to look at all of your stuff and discard/recycle anything that doesn't give you joy.  

    I'll leave you guessing as to whether applying her…

    • 30 Jan 2016
  • Progress in reducing the RSPB's ecological footprint

    It has been exciting watching the wind turbine being assembled at our HQ this week (see here).  It will soon be generating electricity and providing a major contribution to our plan to reducing the charity’s ecological footprint. Yesterday I was contributing to a short film for our partners Ecotricity about the project.  I explained why we wanted the turbine and what measures we had put in place to reduce impacts…

    • 29 Jan 2016
  • New wind turbine at RSPB HQ

    About ten years ago, an internal RSPB email was sent regarding the possibility of installing a wind turbine at our Headquarters at the Lodge.  We had embarked on a charity-wide programme to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions (from travel and electricity) by 3% per person every year and were keen explore options to realise this ambition.

    It's taken a while, but after receiving planning consent in April 2014, I am delighted…

    • 24 Jan 2016
  • Energy for Nature: an innovative source of funding

    Yesterday, the UK Government produced its latest set of biodiversity indicators (see here).  Not only did this demonstrate that nature remains in trouble but it also showed that government investment in nature conservation had declined  by 26 per cent between 2009-10 and 2014-15 and the contribution from others (eg charities) had plateaued.  We don't expect this funding picture to change any time soon which is why all the…

    • 20 Jan 2016
  • Is the UK Government on track for meeting its own targets for nature?

    Earlier today, Defra with the support of the Office of National Statistics released two biodiversity indicators reports for 2015 (for the UK here and for England here).  These reports use government-approved data to help assess whether we are on track to meet targets for nature (such as the Convention on Biological Diversity Aichi targets agreed in Nagoya in 2010 or the outcomes in the England Biodiversity Strategy).  


    • 20 Jan 2016
  • The marine conservation wheels keep on turning (but very slowly for seabirds)

    Twenty years ago this month, I started my first paid job in conservation.  I worked on a project designed to raise the profile of our seas.  Back then, it proved difficult to get the attention of decision-makers about the need for protecting our marine wildlife – which seemed out of sight and so out of mind.  Indeed, I remember one senior civil servant telling me that new marine laws would not happen in his lifetime…

    • 18 Jan 2016
  • RSPB response to the Hen Harrier Action Plan

    For a number of years the breeding population of hen harrier has been on the brink – even failing to breed in England in 2013.  

    The RSPB had been part of an Environment Council-led process to resolve the conflict between hen harrier conservation and grouse moor management.  It was clear that, while providing a forum for increased understanding between different groups, this had not resulted in the necessary action…

    • 14 Jan 2016
  • An environmental perspective on the forthcoming referendum on the UK membership of the European Union

    At the end of giving evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee on the value of EU environment policy (you can watch it here), I was asked about the RSPB’s position on the referendum regarding the UK’s membership of the European Union.

    This is clearly an issue that will dominate the political and public debate this year and is something to which we have given a lot of thought.  The outcome of the referendum…

    • 13 Jan 2016
  • Fears for the future of the National Wildlife Crime Unit

    As we wait to hear the full consequences of last year's Comprehensive Spending Review, I welcome my colleague Bob Elliot (Head of RSPB Investigations) to outline the latest risks to the National Wildlife Crime Unit.


    News that the future of the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) is, yet again, being jeopardised by a lack of commitment to its future…

    • 11 Jan 2016
  • More on floods: past, present and future

    I have just had two very contrasting days (one in the field, one in meetings) but with a common theme - floods.

    On Wednesday, I was with our local team in the unseasonably warm January sunshine at the Suffolk coast.  The principle reason for my visit was to see the habitat creation that we've done at one of our sites - Hollesley.  Two years on from creating a large scrape, the team has recorded excellent results for…

    • 8 Jan 2016
  • Major success for the Atlantic

    Further to the announcement that funding had been secured to establish a new marine protected area around Ascension Island, my colleague Jonathan Hall (who has worked tirelessly on this joint campaign) offers his perspective on what this decision means for wildlife.   

    Endangered green turtle nesting on Ascension Island. Image courtesy of Sam Weber

    The first thing you notice from the air when flying in to Ascension Island…

    • 7 Jan 2016
  • The 2016 challenge: managing land for life

    For the second winter in three years, floods have heaped misery on parts of the country. I have never been flooded so obviously have no idea how appalling it must be. One can only feel huge sympathy for those affected as well as admiration for the way that the emergency services have responded over the Christmas period.

    While there has been a little political jousting about the levels of investment in flood protection…

    • 4 Jan 2016