This blog is where you can read about the places we work to protect and the people on the front line. The scope of this blog covers planning, the policies and legal framework that exists to protect the best places for wildlife and of, of course, the individual cases that are the daily work of staff across the UK. We help BirdLife International partners overseas – and you will be able to read contributions from Europe and further afield.
Of course – probably of the best way to save a site is to a acquire it as a nature reserve – this blog will sometimes feature our reserves and the role they play in future of our wildlife, but the full story of the RSPBs network of nature reserves is told elsewhere: http://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves
This blog features the contributions of many individuals – I will have the pleasure of holding the ring and acting as the narrator to this compelling story. So a little about me; I’m Andre Farrar and my first active involvement with the RSPB was in the late 1970s as a volunteer with our Leeds Local Group http://www.rspb.org.uk/groups/leeds.
I was one of many who wrote to their MPs as part of the campaign to get the best outcome for what became the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981). It wasn’t perfect but it was a good start. Thirty years on, I’m still in the thick of it campaigning for our protected areas and special places for wildlife. Are we winning? Read on and find out, and see how you can help.
As I'm a bit pressed for time, please excuse me just bunging out our press reaction to today's die-back summit
Follow me on twitter
Ash dieback is just the tip of the iceberg' RSPB reacts to Westminster Government summit on Chalara fraxinea
A summit on the tree disease Chalara fraxinea, also known as ash dieback, has taken place in London this afternoon [Wednesday 7 November].The meeting, chaired by Environment Secretary Owen Paterson and attended by Government officials, tree experts and conservation NGOs, considered the findings of a nationwide survey carried out by Forestry Commission staff and agreed a course of action.The Government revealed that the Forestry Commission’s survey data indicated the disease is present in 115 sites and a further six counties. Based on the new figures, experts including the RSPB, discussed what steps were now needed to minimise any further impact.The Secretary of State used the meeting to ask for advice, ideas and suggestions which he’ll take to the Cobra meeting on Friday.Nick Phillips, the RSPB’s forestry officer, attended the summit. He said: “As we realise the full extent of ash dieback, hopes of containing it are dwindling. This is devastating news, but the Government must avoid a knee-jerk reaction. It’s time for a carefully considered response to minimise any further collateral damage to our trees and wildlife. “While it’s true that spores of this disease can be airborne, this is not the whole story. Science indicates that human movement of plants and plant material has been a key way this disease has spread across Europe. It’s critical that messages from Government help maintain public vigilance on this and other wildlife diseases. Blaming the wind as the sole disperser will not help.“The introduction of invasive non-native species are a major threat to the UK’s animals and plants. Ash dieback is one example of this effect, but unfortunately it’s just the tip of the iceberg. The Government must use this opportunity to develop effective regulation on species trade and movements, and to implement rapid detection and response mechanisms. As a European island nation with strong international trading links, it’s imperative we, and our EU partners, act now.”The RSPB is a major landowner. Over 8,000 of its 140,000 hectares of nature reserves are wooded. The charity is being vigilant on all its sites and closely monitoring for signs of the disease.