It may have caught your attention on Monday that the UK Government has announced it's response to the fracking consultation we asked our supporters to take part in earlier this year. Waking up on a Monday morning to hear that National Parks and other sensitive areas would not be fracked, I wanted to punch the air. Experience, however, has taught me not to get carried away at announcements like that until I know for sure the reality of what is behind them!
I was right to be cautious, even those sites listed could be fracked in 'exceptional circumstances' and our most important protected sites for wildlife weren't mentioned at all. However, the tightening up of the guidance (which put special significance on National Parks, Areas of Natural Beauty, World Heritage Sites and the Broads) would not have come about at all if it wasn't for you bringing it to their attention how much we love and value our natural treasures.
For more about what this announcement really means, and the RSPB's response to it, check out Martin Harper's blog here and Harry Huyton's blog here.
Thanks again for all you have done and your continued support. This is a step in the right direction and it's all down to you.
We've had great news from Scotland for the Strathy South campaign to stop the inappropriate siting of a wind farm in the heart of the stunningly beautiful flow country, up in the far north of Scotland. The Highland council has voted (12 to 3) to object to the proposed wind farm. The campaign will continue as the final say rests with the Scottish Government, but we absolutely should celebrate this fantastic news. Rather than me attempting to wax lyrical about the area and why this is all so important, I'll point you in the direction of Conservation Officer Kenny Graham's blog...
Victory in Strathy South battle but the campaign continues
If you have been following Chris Packham’s endeavours in Malta to highlight the illegal spring hunting taking place you will have seen that migrant birds, in particular, illustrate the interconnectedness of our planet and that nature knows no borders. Chris has raised considerable awareness of the plight of many of our iconic species such as turtle doves, cuckoos, swallows and many birds of prey as they return to the UK for the summer. Following the upcoming European elections we will be working closely with the new Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to end spring hunting as soon as possible.
Much of our current environmental legislation emanates from the European Union including the Birds Directive and Habitats Directive, established in 1979 and 1992 respectively. They were designed not only to conserve European wildlife but also to prevent any one country gaining an unfair competitive advantage by damaging the environment. One of the key challenges will be making sure that the excellent nature legislation we have is safeguarded and, importantly, enforced across Europe.
If elected, MEPs will be uniquely placed to address cross-border issues like the conservation of migratory species. Our partners at Birdlife Europe have set out a clear vision for how the new European Parliament can tackle the big environmental challenges we face.
You can help by contacting your MEP candidates and sharing this vision with them. Take this opportunity to tell them why the environment is important to you and ask them to give nature a home.
Tell your MEP candidates what you want them to do for the environment in Europe
The MEPs who take office in 2014 will have a vitally important role in deciding whether or not the environment and nature remain a key priority. Let’s ensure they do.