• Brexit: early thoughts on priorities for nature

    I spent a cathartic weekend at the fascinating Knepp Estate exploring its re-wilding project.  Following the referendum, time spent looking for turtle doves, purple emperor chrysalis’ and amphibious bistort was a great way to clear the head.

    As politicians across the UK decide their next steps, the news has been dominated by when and what sort of Brexit deal will be struck and what it might mean for all of us.  At…

    • 30 Jun 2016
  • A reaction from the RSPB's Chief Executive, Dr Mike Clarke, to the result of the referendum on the UK membership of the European Union

    The UK has voted to leave the European Union.

    The RSPB has always believed that, because nature transcends national boundaries, it needs cross-border co-operation to protect it and a common set of international standards that enable it to thrive.

    That is why, now the UK has decided to leave the EU, the RSPB believes the UK must continue to act internationally, and look to forge comprehensive international agreements…

    • 24 Jun 2016
  • An update on the review of the EU Nature Directives

    As we enter the final week of the EU Referendum campaign, I thought I would offer a brief update on the future of the the Birds and Habitats Directives (the Nature Directives).

    In May, I reported here that the overdue findings of the Fitness Check of the EU Nature Directives had still not been published.  Since then there have been further developments, but still not sign of a resolution. Regular readers will know that…

    • 21 Jun 2016
  • The conservationist's dilemma: an update on the science, policy and practice of the impact of predators on wild birds (3)

    I spent half-term with the family in the sun in the Cairngorms National Park.  As we have two of our most iconic reserves there, Abernethy and Insh Marshes, I was keen to pay a visit.  It was great to hear that the number of lekking male capercaillie at Abernethy has increased this year but alas, we failed to see any on our (very) early morning drive.  We wait with trepidation to see how the June weather turns out as our…

    • 20 Jun 2016
  • In praise of Springwatch

    I had a strange conversation about Springwatch when I was at the Cereals Show yesterday in Duxford.  I was there alongside our advisors talking about wildlife friendly farming (and anything else that cropped up - mainly Brexit or football). In passing, someone said that their son was obsessed with Springwatch and was distraught at the prospect of the show finishing.  I empathised, my children get distraught when the latest…

    • 17 Jun 2016
  • To fish or not to fish in the EU? A guest blog from Dr Euan Dunn

    There has been a lot of codswallop said during the course of the EU Referendum campaign and some of it has focused on the Common Fisheries Policy.  So on the eve of Nigel Farage leading a pro-Brexit flotilla up the Thames, (see here) I am delighted to welcome a guest blog from Dr Euan Dunn MBE, Principal Marine Advisor for the RSPB.  Euan has huge experience of understanding and influencing the interactions between fisheries…

    • 15 Jun 2016
  • Welcome news from the National Trust about birds of prey

    In April, the report of a man with a gun located close to a hen harrier decoy attracted media interest, a lot of emails and widespread criticism. The incident took place on National Trust land.  As was reported at the time the Trust was taking the matter very seriously and had launched an investigation.

    I referred to this incident in my recent update on England’s hen harriers in 2016.

    Today’s announcement by the…

    • 10 Jun 2016
  • Celebrating ten years of conservation success for the Albatross Task Force

    To mark World Oceans' Day, the RSPB and Birdlife International are celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Albatross Task Force.  This is one of our most successful conservation programmes and serves as a powerful reminder of what can be achieved through hard work, expertise, creativity and the generosity of our supporters.  It also provides hope that we can tackle some of the most intractable global conservation problems…

    • 8 Jun 2016
  • An update on England’s hen harriers in 2016

    In March, I promised (here) to provide an update on the hen harrier breeding season in England. 

    I genuinely hoped that this mid-season update would mark the beginning of a turnaround in the fortunes of England’s hen harriers, driven by the positive partnership approach set out in Defra’s hen harrier action plan. Unfortunately, the news on the ground suggests this is shaping up to be very poor year for England…

    • 6 Jun 2016
  • Guest blog: The balance of risk means nature is safer in the EU

    By Mike Clarke, RSPB Chief Executive

    We have always believed that, because nature transcends national boundaries, it needs cross-border co-operation to protect it and a common set of international standards that enable it to thrive. This concept stretches back throughout the RSPB’s history, ever since the organisation joined international efforts to curb oil pollution in the 1920s. And this concept was our starting point…

    • 2 Jun 2016
  • EU Referendum: What’s in it for nature?

    There are just 22 days until we have a chance to vote in the referendum on the UK membership of the European Union. Today, you can have another chance to find out what it all means for nature and our environment.

    Back in April, the RSPB challenged both the Leave and Remain campaigns to explain how their stance will help protect and enhance the environment.

    Both these campaigns - Vote Leave and Britain Stronger in Europe…

    • 1 Jun 2016