Defra has decided not to grant Lynx UK Trust a licence to reintroduce lynx to the Kielder Forest; it has emerged in an official letter.
Rachael Hamilton MSP has campaigned tirelessly to stop the reintroduction and has written to the Secretary of State for the Environment Michael Gove MP on numerous occasions, highlighting the concerns of Borderers.
In a letter from Michael Gove MP to Dr Paul O’Donoghue of the Lynx UK Trust, he outlined that it was his own decision to reject the application given its significance.
He went onto explain that Natural England had particular concerns in a number of areas of the proposal namely funding, the reliance on volunteers, an insufficient project team contingency, and the lack of formal partnerships or collaborations with other relevant organisations that would normally be expected.
Based on Natural England’s scientific advice, the Secretary of State decided to refuse the application, as it did not meet the necessary standards set out in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) guidelines.
The letter also highlighted that there was a lack of adequate local support for the project and the benefits of the trial were vague.
Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP, Rachael Hamilton said:
“I have campaigned tirelessly to stop the reintroduction of lynx near the Border and I am glad that a strong evidence based approach has resulted in this decision.
“The reintroduction of lynx in the Kielder Forest could have been disastrous for many Borders’ farmers, who were rightly worried about their livelihoods.
“The lack of sound evidence and a weak implementation plan mean this application was not robust enough to stand up to scrutiny.
“Ultimately, it is a victory for common sense”