* Update expected soon on Cormorant licence reform plan
* New head of licensing at Natural England ready to engage with our campaign
Hope you have all enjoyed a good summer!
As I write, the swallows are gathering ahead of their epic journey to Africa. migratory geese are arriving from distant lands, there's a chill in the air and we find ourselves suddenly in Autumn...
"Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love—that makes life and nature harmonize." George Eliot
I know I've been silent for a little while but that doesn't mean I haven't been busy!
From trying to stop councils and landowners decimating hedgerows, to calling for nature education to be at the core of primary school teaching, I've been pushing for increased awareness of our environment on various fronts.
But, as many of you will know from your own experience, it often seems like a hopeless task - the vast majority of those who might have influence simply do not understand the importance of nature, or perhaps they do not want to understand because they are too heavily invested (often literally) in destroying it.
Anyway, on to birds and licensing.
And it's looking good.
New faces at Natural England
My helpful contact at Natural England (the then Head of Wildlife Licensing) left the post at the end of July and two people were subsequently appointed in his place.
I've made contact with these two people who are now responsible for wildlife licensing across England - and so far so good.
I've been told to expect an update on the plan I put forward to stop the reckless Cormorant culls, potentially saving thousands of these majestic birds from being shot.
As you may recall, Natural England told me in July that they were considering our suggestions to reform the Cormorant control licences and hinted that they might be introducing some of the ideas we discussed.
I'll bring you the latest on that as soon as I have it.
There may also be a meeting set up to explore reforms to the licensing system more generally.
Teaching nature as a core subject in schools
That's the extent of the update as far as licences go, but in other matters, I had some interesting correspondence with the member of the Welsh Senedd for North Wales, in which we discussed a range of matters relating to the state of the natural environment in the region. I shared with her my belief that education from an early age was key to a life-long appreciation of nature and probably the only long term hope we have to secure what precious little of the natural environment we have left.
She agreed and has vowed to press the Welsh government to introduce nature lessons as a core subject in primary schools across the country.
If this did happen it would be a huge step forward.
I believe it is essential to instill a love of nature in the next generation.
I remember being taught from a very early age, (as many of us were), to delight in the discovery of the natural world. It's still a constant and wonder-filled journey for me even fifty years on! And that's why I see it as vitally important to educate our young people as they are the ones who will ultimately be responsible for preserving the remnant of the natural world that survives.
This step would be for Wales only, but of course it would be of huge benefit if England, Scotland and Northern Ireland were to consider a similar scheme of putting nature at the core of children's education, and when I get time I will contact the relevant authorities in each region with the same proposal.
In the meantime, to sum up, there are hopeful signs of further co-operation with Natural England and their continuing engagement with our campaign.
We've made huge progress that has already saved the lives of countless wild birds, and there's lots to build on.
Let's keep going strong. For the birds.
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