Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Lynx in Kielder Forest- my thoughts

With a decision getting near, I would like to reiterate my opposition to the proposed reintroduction of lynx into Kielder Forest. 

Lynx UK Trust have put in an application to release six lynx into Kielder Forest as part of a five-year ‘trial’ with the aim of protecting and restoring biodiversity in the area. However, although the organisation has carried out a consultation process, it has been criticised by many in the Kielder area. 

I have had extensive discussions with the National Farmers Union, and I have not spoken to any farmer who is in favour of the proposal. Farmers are such an important part of life in Kielder, and they fear that lynx will stress and kill sheep and livestock, causing serious economic damage to their livelihood. The National Sheep Association are also strongly against the proposal, whilst the vast majority of Kielder residents I have spoken with about this issue are also opposed to the plans. 

Lynx UK Trust propose that this would be a trial reintroduction, however many people believe that once released the lynx would never be removed, meaning that the release of lynx into Kielder Forest would be permanent. The consultation process has been ineffective and has not taken into account the views of the majority of residents, and I find it unacceptable that such a big decision could be made despite so much opposition. 

I hope that the views of local residents will be seriously considered before this decision is made, and I urge anyone with concerns to contact Natural England with their views.