• Bee-eaters in the UK: a glimpse into the future?

    Ten thousand people have now visited the bee-eaters that have made their home in a Cemex quarry in Nottinghamshire.  Seven birds (three pairs and an additional helper) have set up three nests and chicks are beginning to hatch.  This morning, I spent a delightful hour watching the birds flit over one of the quarry ponds doing what they do best - eat bees (by catching them, rearranging them by tossing their prey in the air…

    • 31 Jul 2017
  • Hen Harrier Day 2017: guest blog by Chris Corrigan, RSPB England Director

     RSPB England Director Chris Corrigan discusses why we should get along to Hen Harrier Day this year.

     Over the weekend of 5-6 August (and today for anyone lucky enough to be visiting Mull), Hen Harrier Day events will be happening around the country.

    In my new role as RSPB Director for England, the desperate plight of this magnificent moorland bird of prey is of great concern but I take great heart that a growing number…

    • 29 Jul 2017
  • Farming outside of the EU: some clues for future policy

    The future of farming policy outside of the European Union is rightly attracting a lot of attention and some themes are beginning to emerge.

    First, it is clear that the UK Government wants reform.  The new Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Michael Gove said on Friday that “the CAP... encourages patterns of land use which are wasteful of natural resources and often intrinsically poor value rather than…

    • 26 Jul 2017
  • Look East and rebuild: an appeal to restore the hides at Snettisham

    I am, by chance, a creature of the East of England and many of my recent memorable wildlife experiences have taken place next to the North Sea.  These include a January 2014 dawn visit to see the Snettisham wader roost.  My godson, son and I were joined by about 100 others who braved the biting cold to witness the incredible spectacle of thousands of birds feeding on the mudflats and flying overhead. 

    My visit was made…

    • 25 Jul 2017
  • Look East and think big: a spotlight on Ouse Fen

    Earlier this year, the RSPB's best known reserve in England, Minsmere, celebrated its 70th birthday.  It first became famous because avocets started nesting there a week after we took on management responsibility in 1947, then because wetland creation techniques pioneered by Bert Axell helped breeding waders and terns and most recently as the foundation for the remarkable rise in the bittern population. Today, 100,000…

    • 23 Jul 2017
  • A reflection on Michael Gove's first major environment speech

    What should we expect from a first speech from a new Environment Secretary of State? We’d hope for personal commitment, a clear analysis as to why nature is in trouble, and an ambition to restore nature. And I think today, Michael Gove gave us that. But we also got a sense of where he will be investing his reformist energy – on the future of farming.

    Michael Gove delivering his first major environment speech…

    • 21 Jul 2017
  • Good news for a Friday: eat chocolate and save a rainforest?

    It feels like a nature conservation marketing dream, but we are getting closer to the day when we can ask people to eat a chocolate bar to help save a rainforest.

    Let me explain...

    The RSPB is developing a chocolate bar, made from cocoa grown by local farmers living around the Gola Rainforest National Park in Sierra Leone -  home to endangered pygmy hippos and chimpanzees, as well as more than 300 bird and 600 butterfly…

    • 21 Jul 2017
  • Good news for a Friday: first the UN and now the EU give hope to Bialowieza Forest under threat

    Last week, the UN World Heritage Committee condemned the logging in Bialowieza Forest which is a part of a World Heritage Site.  Yesterday, it was confirmed that the case is being referred to the European Court of Justice.  These interventions offer hope to everyone involved in the campaign to protect the site.  My colleague, Dan Pullan (International Casework Manager), was at the meeting and below offers his thoughts on…

    • 14 Jul 2017
  • Initial reaction to the Repeal Bill

    The publication of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill (aka the Repeal Bill) today was the first real test of what leaving the EU will mean for the future of environmental protection in the UK.  

    While we are still digesting the implications of the proposed legislation, on first reading our conclusion is that, as currently drafted, it is inadequate.  

    If the UK Government’s wants to be a world leader in environmental…

    • 14 Jul 2017
  • Great or otherwise, the Repeal Bill is a big deal for nature

    The Repeal Bill has had a makeover: published tomorrow it has now dropped its less-than-humble adjective. But whether or not the Bill is indeed great, its importance for the environment is as monumental as it was three months ago, when the Government published its plans for the Bill alongside the triggering of Article 50. A report by the House of Commons library predicts that this Bill will be “one of the largest legislative…

    • 12 Jul 2017
  • Island restoration on the world stage: RSPB partnership projects headline at international conference

    Today is the start of the Island Invasives Conference in Dundee, Scotland, hosted by the South Georgia Heritage Trust and the University of Dundee. This is a week-long affair, attended by conservationists working on saving, protecting and understanding island ecosystems from across the world. The conference is an international event occurring only once every seven years, this being the first time it is being held in the…

    • 10 Jul 2017
  • The implications of Brexit for the future of fisheries

    As promised in my blog on Monday, here are thoughts on how fisheries policy will need to evolve now that the UK has voted to leave the European Union.  Below, I explain why the proposed new Fisheries Bill (announced in last month's Queen's Speech) offers us an opportunity to build on recent fisheries reforms to help revitalise our seas for both people and marine wildlife.

    A new vision

    The clear message in the…

    • 7 Jul 2017
  • The future of wildlife law

    Last Friday, I spoke at an event on the future of wildlife law and the implications of Brexit.  Below, I have shared a longhand version of what I said.  As this is an emerging agenda and we are still developing our ideas, let me know what you think.  It would be great to hear your views. And, if you like to help protect our environment laws, please visit our campaign pages here.


    Legislation can…

    • 4 Jul 2017
  • Time for a radical new farming and land use policy

    The year after the UK vote to leave the European Union has been dominated by a lot of words but not a great deal of substantive action.  This side of the election, it’s hard to escape the feeling that action to shape our future outside of the EU is about to kick into gear.

    Lots of people ask me what I see as the main risks and opportunities associated with Brexit, and my consistent answer to the latter has been…

    • 3 Jul 2017