Sunday, 11 January 2015

Rally For Nature - A Letter from my MP

On the 9th December there was an important Rally for Nature day in London. You can read more about it here on Mark Avery's blog. It was a school day and I had exams, so I couldn't go, but I did write to my local MP, Stephen O'Brien, inviting him to attend the day. In my invite to him, I told him how concerned I was about wildlife crime and in particular raptor persecution.

I am very grateful for the reply from Mr O'Brien that I received yesterday, and must say thank you to him for taking the time to respond. An image of the letter is below. If you click on the picture it does get bigger.

Whilst reading the letter I discovered a couple points that I'd like to pick up on. Mr O'Brien says that £7.5 million has been provided for 12 Nature Improvement Areas.  I will need to do more research to find out what all of these are, but 12 across the country  doesn't sound like many, especially with all the frightening declines we are seeing across our wildlife species. I would like to see more protection  now to help numbers increase in the future.

Another point I picked up on was the fact that a million trees are being planted in towns and cities, and 20,000 acres of woodland have been created.  But this doesn't mean anything unless you work out how much woodland has been lost (something else I will need to research a bit more).  And the new areas of woodland do not replace the lost ancient woodlands of established habitat. It will take years and years and years before any newly planted woodland establishes itself as real habitat for our wildlife. 

A final point and a big issue for me is that £500,000 of funding was announced for National Wildlife Crime Unit till March 2016. Firstly this amount (about the cost of a large house) will not go far, although it is a good start, however with the next general election coming up in May, how secure is this funding if the government changes.

I am really grateful to Mr O'Brien for his reply and it might be good that it actually makes me ask even more questions and doesn't make me think, oh well, that's okay then.  I know that politicians have a lot of decisions to make and that wildlife is just one of those decisions, but the natural world provides us with almost everything we need every day, so it has to be looked after and it should come first.


  1. Great piece of writing Findlay, I know someone might want you as leader of their party.

  2. I'm not sure about all 12 NIA's but one of them is in my neck of the woods. The Nene Valley. It's a large area and if the other 11 are near to equal in size it's an impressive start. As for the work they've done/achieved, hmm I know some are a bit negative but myself I don't think they've been given long enough time. Firstly along the River Nene I spent a lot of the summer walking and cycling my section in Northampton. They've improved access by making sure footpaths and right away haven't been blocked. Also I've submitted records along one patch of breeding birds to help identify locations that need attention/protection/monitoring. They've also work with wildlife NGO's in the area. As I've mentioned some aren't impressed but at the same time I know when they asked for help with breeding/monitoring not many rushed in to help. Personally since I walk/cycle along the Nene I'm happy with the better access they've done so far it was much needed. But it's early days.
    As for the rest of the letter it seems you got a better response then that from a government minister, on the wildlife crime unit you're right. Plus they almost scrapped that budget.

  3. Well done for inviting him in the first place and it was great ou got that reply. yes more questions to be asked but you are on the right track.

  4. Well done Findlay you put many adults to shame with your ability to pursue these issues which are so important to the future of our wildlife and countryside--and you clearly caught the attention of your M.P. keep challenging and asking questions and hopefully you will be able to make a positive impact. Wildlife needs champions as human numbers and the exploitation of wildlife they bring increases and increases. Keep at it !

  5. Nice one! Is your MP a Conservative, I think so cos I got exactly the same reply from mine when I asked if he would support 'Bob'
    Keep up the good work

  6. Well done Findlay, great that you got a response and certainly more questions to be asked