• Working together across the UK for nature’s recovery

    A year from today, the UK will cease to be a member of the EU.

    We’re facing a potential ‘cliff edge’ in terms of environmental governance – the means by which we ensure our environmental legislation is properly enforced – and the clock is ticking. This is why, with our partners in Greener UK, we are today launching a call to arms to governments across the UK.

    Under the legislation and governance…

    • 29 Mar 2018
  • The Fisheries White Paper – carp(e) diem!

    Last week’s fishery drama, with its angry fishermen and jettisoning of haddock in the Thames, was widely reported by the media and a gift for the headline writers.  But there was little sign of push back on the bigger questions.  What is the sea for, and who does (or should) it, serve and benefit?  What is the most rational way to manage and share a marine environment which, while harbouring a much more granular…

    • 26 Mar 2018
  • Good news for a Friday: new RSPB nature reserve in the New Forest

    In late 2010, the UK Government published the Sir John Lawton review of wildlife sites in England: Making Space for Nature.  The headline conclusion was that wildlife needed more, bigger, better and connected protected areas.  The RSPB has been determined to play our part in contributing to this vision through our advocacy, advice to landowners but also practical conservation work. 

    We were delighted that this vision was…

    • 23 Mar 2018
  • How the battle to save Lake Natron was won

    Saving the best sites for nature requires persistence, determination and a lot of hard work.  This is exemplified by the ten-year campaign to save Lake Natron from development. My colleague, Bruce Liggitt (Senior International Casework Officer), explains how the campaign was won.


    Last week we heard the good news that the Tanzanian government’s National Development Corporation (NDC) has decided…

    • 22 Mar 2018
  • Valuing nature in flood and coastal erosion risk management

    This morning, I spoke at the Environment Agency's Flood and Coastal Conference in Telford.  The long hand version of what I said is shown below.

    I followed a sobering talk from Jeff Lindner, meterologist from Harris County, Texas, who described the extraordinary impact of Hurricane Harvey last year which broke the US rainfall record by 47% with 44 inches of rain.  While the UK doesn't experience the extremes that hit…

    • 20 Mar 2018
  • Good new for a Friday: eat chocolate and help save the Curlew

    If you are short of ideas as to what to buy your loved ones this Easter, then why not try new limited-edition chocolate curlew eggs made by artisan chocolatier Mirrie Dancers.   They're palm oil/soya lecithin free and for each bag sold, an average donation of £1.49 will be made to the RSPB Curlew Recovery Programme.

    The idea came from Dave Williams who runs Mirrie Dancers in Shetland.  He is fully aware of the crisis…

    • 16 Mar 2018
  • An update on the RSPB's response to Natural England's decision to issue a license to pilot brood management of hen harriers

    Many people are keen to know how the RSPB intends to respond to Natural England’s decision to issue a licence for a trial brood management scheme of hen harriers in England.  This blog provides an update.

    As stated in our initial comment on the matter and indeed consistent with what I have written before (for example, see here), the RSPB remains opposed to brood management of hen harriers.

    This is why, today…

    • 9 Mar 2018
  • International Women's Day: a spotlight on great conservation leaders

    Today is International Women's Day.  It's an opportunity to celebrate women's achievements throughout history and across nations, so I want to put a spotlight on women who have shaped nature conservation across the world. 

    Clockwise from left Etta Smith, Rachel Carson, Amina J. Mohammed, Cristiana Pasca Palmer and Gro Harlem Brundtland

    Last month, to mark the centenary of votes for (some) women in the UK…

    • 8 Mar 2018
  • Cyprus bird trapping – good news at last

    After over a decade of increases, the good news is that the number of songbirds trapped and killed in the UK Sovereign Base on Cyprus fell by more than 70% in 2017: from 880,000 to 260,000 songbirds.  While 260,000 is still 260,000 too many, I am delighted that, as a result of our collective efforts, 620,000 more songbirds have flown on free from UK territory to complete their migration.

    I wrote about the issue of bird…

    • 6 Mar 2018
  • Financing nature – there is now a will and a way

    At this week’s excellent conference hosted by the Zoological Society of London, there was considerable debate about how much space for nature was needed to stop species extinction, reverse declines and restore the services that nature gives us for free.  Estimates ranged from current targets of 17% of land and 10% of sea, through to 30%, 50% and even 100% of the planet sustainably managed.  The conservation community…

    • 2 Mar 2018