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Martin Harper's blog
I’ve been the RSPB’s Conservation Director since May 2011. As I settle into the job, I’ll be blogging on all the big conservation topics and providing an inside view of our conservation projects. I hope you enjoy reading it and feel inspired to join in t
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EU Budget 2014-2020
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A message to European Heads of State: don't cut the life from our countryside
Over the past 40 years Europe has lost 300 million birds and in just the past 15 years we have lost 70% of European grassland butterflies. Farmland wildlife remains in crisis. Following proposals released yesterday, the situation will get a lot worse unless leaders show an enlightened approach to EU...
15 Nov 2012
My badger nightmares
I have real worries about the badger cull. I’m not pretending that my anxiety can be as great as those farmers who are suffering when they lose their cattle to bovine TB, but I fear that the cull could make things worse. See previous comments here , here and here . We have made detailed considered...
19 Oct 2012
Proving it is possible to produce more food whilst improving our environment...
This week I have been focussing on the launch of the Green Food Project, and how we meet the challenges of producing more food whilst also improving our environment. There are no easy answers, but it is possible to achieve both. In the 12 years that we have owned Hope Farm , we have increased profitability...
12 Jul 2012
What state the UK's birds?
Today sees the publication of The state of the UK’s birds 2011 . As ever, this aims to serve as a one-stop shop for the latest news on our bird populations. This year’s report has a particular focus on our waterbirds and the sites they use, noting that this year is the 40th anniversary...
24 Nov 2011
Speaking up for nature
At times it’s felt like we’ve dominated the BBC this week! It’s been so ‘newsworthy’, today I’m going to reflect on some of our main stories from the past few days. We have been completely floored by the rumour circulating in Brussels that funding for wildlife-friendly...
24 Jun 2011
Rumours and speculation?
Yesterday I highlighted the threats to Pillar 2 of the Common Agricultural Policy. The rumours that Pillar 2 may be scrapped are continuing to circulate – you may have seen me on the BBC (about 22 mins in) yesterday talking about it. Some of the journalists we spoke to approached the EU Commission...
22 Jun 2011
Being Lord Voldemort
I spent yesterday at the Cereals Show near Sleaford. Yes, I know, you envy my glamorous lifestyle. I went along to the Oxford Farming Conference debate on CAP reform and market volatility. After a while, I felt a little strange. Something wasn't quite right. I heard three oblique references to...
16 Jun 2011
I like eating meat but not this week...
It’s probably a odd way to start a blog about National Vegetarian Week with the statement “I like eating meat” but I make no apologies, it’s true! So why have we pulled meat from the menu at the Lodge canteen today? The facts around meat production, and its effects on the natural...
23 May 2011
Hope springs eternal
One of the joys of starting a new job is to be able to inherit the success of others. Hope Farm is perhaps one of my predecessors' great legacies. Bought in 2001, thanks to the generosity of RSPB members, we have managed to demonstrate that it is possible to run a profitable arable farm and restore...
15 May 2011
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