A couple of old pluggers

Mike McCarthy, the Environment Editor of the Independent newspaper, rarely slips up, but today he gives a ridiculous amount of space to writing about me in his Nature Notes column.   He’s very kind; and I see he is off for the next few weeks to write a book .

If Mike’s next book is anywhere as near as good as his last one  ‘Say goodbye to the cuckoo‘ then it will be well worth reading.

One good plug deserves another.


Shooting Times fails again

Shooting Times was held up and then weakened a long way out in yesterday’s 3:20 at Perth – of course it’s a horse, what did you think?  Oh you were thinking about the magazine, were you?  Well, maybe, if you were then you’ll be amused that Western Bound won that race easily.

I’ll be off to the USA for 6 weeks next week and you can follow that trip on this blog – if I can get the technology to work.

In mid June I’ll be back and blogging about UK conservation matters on topics such as: what the government is doing wrong (there’s bound to be something), why the Left is a bit rubbish on nature, the NFU, biofuels, farming, nature NGOs and their work, nature through the changing seasons, nature in the media and anything that is about the wonderful natural world around us.

But if there are particular issues you’d like to see covered then leave a comment here.

And please sign up for my monthly ‘newsblast’ which will give a more in-depth look at particular issues than can be done on a blog.  And to those of you who have already signed up to the ‘newsblast’ – thank you!  There are a lot of you already.


Bye bye RSPB

Today is my last day at work for the RSPB.  After just over 25 years I am moving on.

They have been a wonderful 25 years – I have so many stories from them I ought to write a book – now there’s an idea!

My successor is Martin Harper – formerly of Plantlife and Wildlife and Countryside Link – who has worked at the RSPB for 7 years.  He’s  a great guy and I wish him every success and happiness in the role.

I can’t leave a note saying ‘The money’s all gone’ – although I had a go at spending it – but there will, I’m sure, be a whole load of issues which will move forward quicker and better now I’m gone.  I had my own personal take on farming, raptor persecution, nature reserves, reintroductions, climate change etc and a new person heading up these issues will have their own take on them.  RSPB policy is set by our Council but within that policy framework staff have a lot of freedom on how they try to deliver the goods.  I had mine and Martin will have his.  Change is good.

And next week I am off for a 6 week trip – travelling from coast to coast in the USA watching birds, seeing scenery, meeting conservationists and having a break.  I hope that I’ll be able to make the technology work and that this blog will be, for that period, insights from a UK birder and conservationist abroad in the USA – Around the States in 40 days.


Stand up for natural justice

Please support the RSPB’s campaign to stop the government scrapping wildlife legislation.

I see Jonathon Porritt blogged on this issue – it’s well worth a read.  But Jonathon is a bit slow in posting comments on his blog – mine hasn’t appeared yet.

And I can’t yet see much rage being expressed by other nature conservation organisations on this subject.

38 degree’s ecampaign is going well – heading for 37,000 signatures already.

Did I mention I have a book out?


Don’t let them get away with this

The question is – has the government gone mad or is it just wicked?

The Red Tape Challenge potentially opens up any regulation anywhere to challenge but the government has included biodiversity, wildlife and natural environment regulation in this mix.

Following the disproportionate clobbering that Defra received in the Comprehensive Spending Review compared with other government departments, the muzzling, neutering and chaining up of government environmental agencies and watchdogs, and the stalled initiatives to get government out of forests and National Nature Reserves this latest move forms part of a coherent but wrong-headed agenda to put nature conservation into the hands of individuals and the marketplace and drastically remove government influence.

The RSPB and 38 Degrees are standing up to this move and are asking for public support – please give it to them.  But I have just searched the home pages of WWF, Greenpeace, the Wildlife Trusts, National Trust and Friends of the Earth to see what they think without finding very much there at all.  Maybe they are about to join in soon.  If they are then I’ll let you know.

Oliver Letwin and Francis Maude – mad or wicked?  You choose.