Wow, what a great day we all had at the CRSP and RSSW conference in Exeter on the 19th April 2013!
The event was introduced by the Minister for the Environment, Richard Benyon, who pledged his support for red squirrels, and offered his help in removing any legislation which squirrel conservation groups were finding restrictive.
Richard Benyon's key message from the conference was:
"The Natural Alliance and System for Central-Local Communications (SYCL) initiatives, which involve a range of landowners and NGOs, are a great way to build capacity for localism. I hope that in time they will encourage people to report changes in their local habitats and wildlife species. This will give local authorities and central Government more information about the changes to our natural environment.
"They also have the potential to spread British ideas about localism and democracy across Europe, while at the same time creating a platform to export software and other technologies used for outdoor recreation, jobs
and the environment."
Richard Benyom speaking at the CRSP and RSSW conference in April 2013
We have prepared a response to Richard Benyon laying out what we would like to see changed by the government. The list of requested changes was pulled together using suggestions made on the delegate response form, making sure every one at the conference had the opportunity to feed into the letter. As soon as we have a response we'll let you know via the website, so keep your eyes on this page!
Of particular interest to many delegates was the talk by Dr Colin McInnes on the development of a squirrel pox vaccine. Colin has kindly produced a one page summary update on the current situation, which you can download here.
Over 120 delegates booked to come and listen to our great aray of speakers, with representatives from the Forestry Commission, National Trust, RSPB, GWCT, ESI, RSST, and the People's Trust for Endangered Species, to name but a few. Also of course we were so pleased to welcome many delegates from other squirrel conservation groups and mammal groups.
Finally, we'd like to pass our thanks once again to our conference sponsors, without whom the event simply wouldn't have happened at the scale it did!