Michael Gove, Defra’s Secretary of State has written to the Lynx UK Trust in response to their application to release 6 Eurasian Lynx into Kielder Forest, Northumberland. There has been significant public interest in these proposals and the Secretary of State called the application in for his personal consideration.
Natural England was asked to provide advice to Defra on the application and to undertake a full assessment of this, including how the proposals met international guidelines for reintroductions and translocations.
Based on Natural England’s advice, the Secretary of State has decided to refuse the application as it was determined, through scientific advice, that it did not meet the necessary standards set out in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) guidelines. An additional consideration found that the application did not comprehensively provide the necessary information required for Defra to be confident in the success of this proposal.
Given the significant public interest in this proposal, we have chosen to publish the advice provided by Natural England. This decision emphasises the government’s desire to ensure project proposals are comprehensive, meet international guidelines and are sufficiently supported by stakeholders.
The government remains committed to providing opportunities for the reintroduction of species where there are clear environmental and socio-economic benefits.