• What does Brexit mean for farming and the environment in the UK?

    In the political tumult that followed the referendum, one of our most immediate concerns centered on what would happen to the EU funding that underpins so much of the nature conservation effort in the UK. This week saw the Governments first meaningful contribution to this debate, as the Treasury moved to guarantee a range of EU funding streams beyond Brexit. 

    Despite ongoing uncertainty, the announcement from the Tre…

    • 20 Aug 2016
  • The effect of toxic lead on duck populations in the UK

    On the day our new Prime Minister took over, the then Defra Secretary of State Liz Truss announced that she would not accept the advice given by the expert Lead Ammunition Group (LAG), set up by Defra, that she should phase out the use of toxic lead ammunition for sport shooting and replace it with readily available non-toxic alternatives.  The RSPB thinks that this decision is regrettable because many birds die in the…

    • 16 Aug 2016
  • 100,000 people call for a ban on driven grouse shooting

    This is a guest blog by Jeff Knott, Head of Nature Policy marking the enormous achievement  by the campaign to ban grouse shooting.

    Over 100,000 people have now signed this petition to ban driven grouse shooting. This is a huge achievement from everyone involved, including of course the petitions creator, my former boss, Mark Avery.

    What makes it all the more impressive is that this is a genuine grassroots movement.…

    • 13 Aug 2016
  • In praise of the National Trust for making the case for radical reform of farming policy

    I am wrapping a few things up before heading off on holiday tomorrow to our family hut on the Northumberland coast (via RSPB Saltholme to help celebrate Hen Harrier Day).

    Before I go, I wanted to reflect on the great intervention by National Trust on the future of agriculture and the environment this week.  This received good media coverage including the Today Programme, and Channel 4 News.   

    The biggest membership organisation…

    • 6 Aug 2016
  • Shifting baselines: lessons from the past to inform the future of shooting

    A colleague shared their copy of Brian Vesey-Fitzgerald's 1946 New Naturalist book on British Game.  It is a fascinating book, written by "a countryman of wide experience, a wild-fowler, Vice-President of the Gamekeepers Association, a friend of gipsies [sic] and we suspect of poachers".  

     In it, there is a chapter called "Enemies of Game".  Here he describes a range predators from eagles to crows…

    • 5 Aug 2016