August, 2011

Our work

Our work
You might be surprised to read that our work is far broader than nature reserves and Big Garden Birdwatch. Read more about what else we do.

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
  • Save the BBC Wildlife Fund

    Here's a petition that's worth signing.

    You may have heard - or maybe you haven't - of the BBC Wildlife Fund. The purpose of the Fund is, according to the Beeb,  "To raise awareness and funds to save threatened wildlife and places. The fund offers the unique opportunity to capitalise on the creative skills of the BBC enabling wider audiences to engage in the plight of wildlife."   Unfortunately it seems that this Fund will now be shut down.

    You may remember the Wild Night In programme that aired just after Springwatch last year - a whole evening of programming that showcased some of the projects that the fund has previously supported. On that night alone, £1.2 million was raised.

    The RSPB has benefitted from the fund in the past. Our work with albatrosses received really generous support, and we have also had funding for a number of UK regional projects, including our work with cirl buntings in the South West.

    And anyway, even if we hadn't been a beneficiary of the fund, I'd still think it's a really good thing. BBC programmes have inspired many people to take an interest in the natural world, and using their work to generate much-needed funding for conservation work is a logical step.

    At a time when there the UK Government has, through its Natural Environment White Paper, pledged to restore biodiversity, but when is not a lot of money around, it feels a bit perverse of the BBC to pull the plug on another pot of much needed funds.

    So. let's all get behind the campaign to prevent the fund from closing. You can sign the online petition here.



  • The not-so-silly season

    The departure of MPs on their summer recess usually signals the start of the silly season, as far as the media is concerned. But, far from being silly, most of the headlines at the moment seem very serious indeed. And we've been rather serious ourselves this week.

    We think that aspects of the new National Planning Policy Framework are rather silly on a number of levels - but this means that it could have very serious consequences for our landscapes and wildlife.

    The Telegraph and Guardian reported our concerns on Tuesday that the overhaul of our planning system places too much emphasis on economic concerns at the expense of the environment.

    The story was followed up by the BBC News channel, who interviewed our planning expert Alice Hardiman live. Alice posed some uncomfortable questions for planning minister Greg Clark who was interviewed immediately afterwards and was forced to defend the Government’s plans.

    This week also saw the launch of the Forestry Commission’s Woodland Carbon Code, which aims to provide guidelines for people planting trees in order to tackle climate change. We’re torn on this issue – it’s great to see people trying to make a difference, but really we should be reducing our CO2 emissions rather than offsetting them.

    That, and other concerns about wildlife that rely on woodlands and heathland, were reported in a piece on the BBC News site.

    Culling animals is always a difficult decision for us, but sometimes it is the only way to save other, more endangered, species. The Guardian this week covered our project on the Scilly islands of St Agnes and Gugh to eradicate rats, which are threatening local populations of storm petrel and Manx shearwater.

    Let's hope the silly season lives up to its name and we can find a little light relief from all this seriousness in the week ahead.