• For peat’s sake, let’s make Brexit work for nature

    I was delighted to be able to make a small contribution to the IUCN Peatland conference today.  Twenty years ago (with the help of some people at today’s conference) I compiled a report called “The Great SAC Race” – which included a shadow list of sites (especially peatlands) which we believed were worthy of protection under the EU Habitats and Species Directive - many of which were subsequently designated.…

    • 30 Nov 2016
  • The Autumn Statement: the calm before the storm?

    On a day when the Financial Times leads with a Climate Change story on an Arctic November heatwave, one might have hoped for a political response commensurate with the scale of the threat.   The autumn statement delivered by Chancellor Philip Hammond did not provide that but it was very different from the kind of statements we have become used to.

    Last week the Environmental Audit Committee released a new report on the…

    • 24 Nov 2016
  • More good news for a Friday: announcement of Tristan da Cunha Marine Discovery Expedition, January-February 2017

    I am delighted to welcome back my colleague, Jonathan Hall (who heads our work in the UK Overseas Territories), to report on a new expedition designed to improve the protection of the marine environment around Tristan da Cunha.  

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    We are very excited to announce that in January next year, the RSPB, Tristan da Cunha Government and the National Geographic Pristine Seas team will…

    • 18 Nov 2016
  • Good news for a Friday: UK ratification of Paris climate agreement

    Yesterday, the UK Government took the historic step of ratifying the global climate deal agreed in Paris one year ago. This announcement comes as countries are meeting in Morocco for this year’s round of talks. Ratification of the deal sends a strong signal that the Paris deal has ongoing momentum behind it and that the UK is intent on maintaining its global ambition on climate change regardless of anything else that…

    • 18 Nov 2016
  • Some good news (for site protection) and bad news (for buzzards) from Natural England

    I heard two bits of news from Natural England today.

    First the good news: Natural England has confirmed that it will protect the West Pennine Moors by making this important upland area a Site of Special Scientific Interest.  I am delighted.  This is the right decision and Natural England deserve huge credit.  Conservation starts with saving the best places for wildlife and it is at the heart of Professor Sir John Lawton's…

    • 18 Nov 2016
  • Lessons from deepest Devon: how farmers helped ‘the bird we nearly lost’.

    Tomorrow, in deepest Devon there will be a celebration of 25 years of work to save the ‘bird we nearly lost’ – the cirl bunting.  RSPB staff, who have led the recovery project for this species will be there alongside Sarah Wollaston MP (the bird's parliamentary champion), Natural England staff, project sponsors and most importantly, the farmers who have been at the heart of this work. They should be proud…

    • 17 Nov 2016
  • Celebrating Manx birds

    One of the developments of this year’s State of Nature report was the inclusion of commentaries on the UK’s Crown Dependencies – the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. They are part of 'our' archipelago and it seemed right to profile the conservation challenges and opportunities on these islands. 

    So, I was delighted to visit the Isle of Man with my children for the first time this weekend…

    • 14 Nov 2016
  • Improving the environmental condition of our uplands: planning the next steps

    It is now over a week since the Westminster Hall parliamentary debate on the future of driven grouse shooting. I thought it would be appropriate to offer a further perspective on what the RSPB plans to do next to improve the environmental conditions of the uplands.

    As many others have written, it was a deeply frustrating debate – especially to the 123,000 that called for a ban and of course those seeking reform. …

    • 9 Nov 2016