• Good news for a Friday: cooperation across the flyway for turtle doves

    Yesterday, a much-needed action plan was launched to save our most rapidly declining migratory bird: the turtle dove.  The RSPB has worked for three years to get wide support for this plan and I am delighted to host this blog from my colleagues, Joscelyn Ashpole, Ian Fisher and Carles Carboneras, to say more.


    Turtle doves are a sign of summer for many and iconic farmland birds. They’re also incredible long-distance…

    • 25 May 2018
  • Future Directions for Nature Conservation

    Today I am speaking at a conference on “Securing Our Natural Environment for Future Generations” organised by the British Ecological Society and the UK Conservation Agencies. I was asked to give a perspective on future directions for nature conservation and I shall be basing my remarks on this extended essay shown below. Have a read and let me know what you think.



    • 24 May 2018
  • The sun always shines in the south west

    Every May, the RSPB's trustees and management board spend a weekend visiting part of the UK to get an insight into the breadth of work we are doing on our sites and with partners.

    This year, we were treated to three days of sunshine while exploring some of the most iconic landscapes for wildlife in England: the New Forest, Purbeck, and Wiltshire chalk country.

    Following the launch of our newest nature reserve,

    • 21 May 2018
  • A good digest of Brexit-related news for a Friday with a spotlight on the future of farming

    There are a lot of developments in environmental policy to digest at the moment, both Brexit-flavoured or of a more traditional taste. You will be forgiven if you are struggling to keep up.  To help make sense of it all I, with some help from my hardworking colleagues, have provided this short update with a more detailed spotlight on the future of farming.

    Last week, we submitted our response to the consultation on a…

    • 18 May 2018
  • Further reflections on Defra's proposed Environment Watchdog

    As the dust settles after last week’s launch, we’ve had time to consider more closely how the Westminster Government’s proposals for future governance arrangements after we leave the EU, fare against the tests that we set before its release.

    You may have seen my initial response which outlined our serious concerns. We need an environment watchdog that can properly hold government and public bodies to…

    • 16 May 2018
  • Good news for a Friday: how Network Rail was forced to change track

    Here is a lesson in the power of activism to deliver change.  This week, Network Rail was forced to suspend their rail-side clearance operations during the bird breeding season thanks to the actions of a local resident.  Below, my colleague Tony Whitehead (Communications Manager for the RSPB in the South West) tells the story which highlights what can happen when good people use their voice for nature.  


    • 11 May 2018
  • The new Environment Watchdog: muzzled at birth?

    This morning, I asked whether the new Environment Watchdog would have bite and this afternoon, once the Defra consultation had been published, we had the answer: a resounding no.  

    This is my comment that we released to the media earlier today...

    "These proposals do not set out the ‘world-leading’ environmental watchdog the Prime Minister promised us in January. The Government's green credibility is now hanging by a thread…

    • 11 May 2018
  • Will the new Environment Watchdog have bite?

    Later today, we expect Defra’s long-awaited consultation on a new environmental watchdog to be published. As I’ve said in previous blogs, a robust watchdog is critical to ensure our environmental laws are properly enforced as we leave the EU. Indeed, the Prime Minister herself promised a ‘world leading independent statutory body’ when she launched the 25 Year Environment Plan back in January.

    • 10 May 2018
  • Good news for a Friday: you can have more productive meetings

    If, like me, you spend a lot of your life in meetings, you probably want to ensure that time spent in those meetings is as useful and enjoyable as possible.

    This week, I was struck by the report about Amazon boss Jeff Bezos who has banned the use of powerpoint in meetings and instead starts every meeting with a 6 page memo which people then read in silence for the first 30 minutes of the meeting.

    You will all have your…

    • 4 May 2018
  • Go wild in the country?

    The last time I visited the Knepp Estate was the weekend following the UK vote to leave the European Union in June 2016.  It was the perfect setting to try to make sense of what had just had happened and consider the implications for nature conservation.   The sun shone as we explored the 3,500 acre former intensive arable and dairy farm which famously had been transformed through rewilding by its owners Sir Charlie Burrell…

    • 3 May 2018