• An update on the status of the UK hen harrier population

    The latest results from the 2016 hen harrier breeding survey make sobering reading. There are now just 545 breeding pairs left in the UK, down by 88 pairs from the last UK survey in 2010. Scotland remains the species’ stronghold with 460 pairs but even here there has been a drop from the 505 pairs recorded in 2010.

    In England, the hen harrier has almost disappeared as a breeding species. In 2010 there were 12 pairs…

    • 28 Jun 2017
  • Environmental implications of Brexit Bills announced in the Queen's Speech

    It was no surprise that Brexit dominated the Queen's Speech. Following the UK vote to leave the EU and the Government decision to leave the Single Market, work to "unravel 43 years of patiently-built relations" (as Michel Barnier described it this week) was always going to take a lot of parliamentary time and energy.

    The Repeal Bill will come first and will be the principle way in which the whole body of…

    • 22 Jun 2017
  • The implications of Brexit for the environment on the island of Ireland

    The much anticipated Brexit negotiations are due to start tomorrow.

    I assume that the first item to discuss will be the order with which issues will be addressed.  The EU laid out its stall in late March and proposed a phased approach.  If it goes according to the EU’s plan, the island of Ireland will be a high priority (along with Gibraltar and the Sovereign Base Areas on Cyprus where the UK also has land borders with…

    • 19 Jun 2017
  • A chance for the new Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, to listen and learn (part 2)

    Our Rainham Marshes reserve was at its best yesterday - hooching with waders (lawings and redshanks are having another good year) and children (enjoying some much needed out of classroom learning). It provided a great backdrop for a great conversation with the new Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Michael Gove.

    Rainham is one of eleven RSPB nature reserves on either side of the Thames and is…

    • 16 Jun 2017
  • A chance for the new Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, to “listen and learn”

    Yesterday, the new Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Michael Gove said on the Today programme that his brief was to “enhance the environment”, that he wants to “exercise humility” and “to listen and to learn”.

    I am sure that he will be keen to hear about what the RSPB has learnt through its 128 years of saving nature and why we attract support from 1.2 million…

    • 14 Jun 2017
  • Protecting our Seabirds in Post-Brexit Waters

    With Brexit negotiations due to start next week, I want to put a spotlight on a few key issues that the new Government will have to address if it is to ensure that the new arrangements help rather than hinder its environmental ambitions.  Today, my colleague, Dr Euan Dunn offers his thoughts on the implications of new research on the relationship between fishing intensity and kittiwake breeding success.

    Image courtesy…

    • 14 Jun 2017
  • The morning after the night before: what the General Election result means for nature

    After the shock General Election results - a hung parliament which confounded even our own internal sweepstake - everyone is trying to work out what happens next and what it means for all of us. 

    What is clear, is that the UK political system has given us another entertaining night of shocks, soundbites and comebacks.  All the chatter this morning was about Mr. Bucket Head, awkward high fives and the likely views of Brenda…

    • 10 Jun 2017
  • Saving nature: we will continue to do our bit and we hope the next Government will as well

    In a little under 36 hours, the polls will open and I shall visit a local community centre in Cambridge to mark a cross with a pencil against the name that I want to be my Member of Parliament.  I have voted in every poll since the local elections on 4 May 1989 and always enjoy what feels like a national rite of passage.

    While the election campaign has been unpredictable and punctuated by appalling acts of terrorism,…

    • 7 Jun 2017
  • Paris Agreement Trumped

    A guest blog by the RSPB’s principal climate advisor, John Lanchbery.


    President Trump’s rejection of the Paris Agreement on climate change isolates him from the rest of the world. The other six G7 leaders have strongly endorsed the treaty.

    Worryingly, Trump has said that he would seek to negotiate a new deal that would not disadvantage the United States. The concern is that by doing so, the delicately negotiated…

    • 2 Jun 2017