News archive

March 2014

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Stop barn owls dying from rat poison

Stop barn owls dying from rat poison

When owls eat poisoned rodents, they ingest deadly toxins which cause internal bleeding and ultimately death. Although not all die as a direct result, experts believe the poisons affect their ability to hunt and breed. 8 in 10 barn owls have been found to have these poisons in their bloodstreams, but there is a glimmer of hope for this beautiful predator: the government is reviewing how such poisons are used.

The Barn Owl Trust is calling on members of the public to "flood the minister responsible for the review with demands to impose stricter controls on these powerful poisons, restricting where and how they are used and throwing a lifeline to our owls".

The trust has launched a petition that reads:
"To Mike Penning MP and the Health and Safety Executive: Britain's barn owls are in crisis. We call for the introduction of stronger controls on the use of powerful rodent poisons and clear labelling on packaging, as recommended by the Barn Owl Trust."

At this moment 124,453 people have signed the petition - well on the way to the Trust's target of 150,000 signatories. If you want to add your name to the petition go to:

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Marine Conservation Zones

Marine Conservation Zones

The Government announced that a further 37 Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) are being considered for designation in 2015, and provided details on the sites under consideration along with potential management measures.

27 MCZs were designated in the first tranche in November 2013 - one hundred shy of the 127 originally recommended as necessary to deliver England's contribution to an ecologically coherent network in UK seas.

It's good to know the 37 sites that the Government has prioritised for the 2nd tranche of MCZs. However, this is still a long way off what is needed for a full network of protection to reduce the considerable decline in marine biodiversity in English waters. Furthermore, the government is moving very slowly on this issue - the official consultation on the proposed second tranche of MCZs won't begin until early 2015.

Between now and then, it's likely that some interest groups will lobby the Government to whittle this list down. So this year, it's important that members of this RSPB group, along with thousands of other people, help to make the case for the designation of these and many more vital MCZs - watch this space!

Melissa Moore, Senior Policy Officer at the Marine Conservation Society said: "It's good to hear which sites Government has prioritised for the second tranche of MCZs, but this is still a long way off the full network. We hope this tranche, along with the promised third tranche are designated as soon as possible to prevent further damage."

For more information on this and other marine issues see Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's programme first shown on Channel 4 on Sunday 2nd March, 'Fish Fight: Hugh's Last Stand', and still available on 4oD at