• Good news for a Friday: a round-up of some of the best stories from August

    If, like me, you have been on holiday during part of August, you may have struggled to keep up with the news.  To help you get back up to speed, I have listed below my pick of the best stories from the past few weeks.  It's amazing what has happened in just a short space of time.  These serve as a reminder that despite the huge pressures on the natural world, by working with partners, the RSPB continues to have a huge…

    • 31 Aug 2018
  • Guest Blog from Chris Packham: The People's Walk for Wildlife - 22nd September 2018

    Today, I am delighted to host a blog from our Vice-President, Chris Packham.  Below, Chris explains why he wants all of us to support The People's Walk for Wildlife on 22 September.  I'll be there - will you?

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    56%. It says 56%.

    Since 1970

    I think back to 1970, I think about what I was doing in 1970, what happened in 1970. I remember Apollo 13, I remember Bobby Moore’s bracelet and Gordon…

    • 30 Aug 2018
  • Agriculture Bill – falling at the final hurdle?

    While on holiday last week, I re-read Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Published in 1962, it exposed the destruction of wildlife through the widespread use of pesticides and arguably inspired the modern environment movement.

    It remains a compelling read (similar in style to that of a modern dystopian novel but one based on facts rather than fiction) and provides a sobering reminder of what happens when humans fail…

    • 28 Aug 2018
  • To whom it may concern….: Tips for those considering applying as Natural England’s new Chair

    A guest blog from Chris Corrigan - the RSPB's Director of England.

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    It was recently announced that Andrew Sells will retire as Natural England’s Chair in January 2019. 

    During his five years at the helm, Andrew has presided over an organisation under increasing political pressure, and subject to successive rounds of drastic budget cuts to its already limited…

    • 23 Aug 2018
  • Hen Harrier Day 2018

    Before I headed north on leave for a couple of weeks, I helped celebrate Hen Harrier Day at RSPB Rainham Marshes today.  It was a fabulous event and I was delighted to join a great line of speakers (Ruth Tingay, Natalie Bennett, Barry Gardiner, Mark Avery and Chris Packham).  This is (roughly) what I said...

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    I want to start by saying thank you.

    Thank you to the founders of Hen Harrier Day for…

    • 11 Aug 2018
  • Bowland gulls - an update

    A guest blog from Chris Corrigan - the RSPB's Director of England.

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    Last summer we reported that many young lesser black-backed gulls had been killed at a breeding colony in Lancashire’s Forest of Bowland. Because the gulls were part of a nationally (and indeed internationally) important population, any such actions would have required special consent from Natural…

    • 10 Aug 2018
  • Origins

    Origins are important.  Knowing where you come from helps explain who you are today and can offer clues as to where need to get to in the future. 

    My backstory explains why I do what I do. As a child, I was encouraged to look at the natural world differently by my Mum (a biology teacher) and was injected with a puritanical zeal thanks to my father (a vicar). It was probably inevitable that I would end up working in nature…

    • 8 Aug 2018
  • How to assess the impact of the final Brexit deal on nature

    This August, the spotlight once again falls on the state of our hills and its wildlife: the first Hen Harrier Day event of the year took place in the Sheffield sunshine on Saturday and more events are planned this weekend (including at Rainham which is where I'll be on Saturday).  

    The anger over the plight of the hen harrier, the state of our peatlands and the desire to reform grouse shooting may seem far away from…

    • 6 Aug 2018
  • Good news for a Friday: better breeding season for hen harriers

    Next Saturday I’ll be speaking at Hen Harrier Day London and South East at Rainham Marshes, and for once, it seems we’ve actually got something to celebrate at this annual event, which was set up to highlight the plight of this magnificent bird of prey.

    Photo of female hen harrier by my colleague Mark Thomas (rspb-images.com)

    Normally, any news relating to hen harriers is bad news. For the past few years…

    • 3 Aug 2018
  • Defra's plans for a world-leading watchdog: a joint statement between RSPB and business partners

    Several weeks ago, I highlighted here the concerns the RSPB and our partner organisations have about the ‘governance gap’ that will be created when the UK leaves the EU and leaves all of the governance mechanisms that have enforced our environmental laws during our time in the EU.

    In January, the UK Government promised us a ‘world-leading environmental watchdog’ to help tackle this gap, but then proposed…

    • 2 Aug 2018
  • Tough choices (a follow up comment about values and motivations)

    The group that has challenged our predator control practices have made some sweeping statements on social media which are misleading.

    For example, following a first meeting when we discussed predator control at length, we did offer to meet again to discuss some of their concerns in more detail. They refused to do so.

    They also have made highly subjective statements about the contractors we employ to undertake the predator…

    • 2 Aug 2018