This summer a "rewilding" organisation called Lynx UK announced they wished to reintroduce the Lynx to the Kielder area. It has not been on these shores for many hundreds of years.
It is fair to say three things:
- their first attempt at consultation with locals did not go well: http://www.hexham-courant.co.uk/news/bellingham/Chaos-erupts-at-lynx-meeting-45677f1c-956b-414b-8cb0-8dd0e426a85b-ds
- I have yet to meet a single farmer who is in favour; and the NFU are very very clear in their stance. I have met delegations from both. The County Councillor John Riddle opposes the plan very robustly. This may be based on the fact that the lynx eats everything from deer to sheep; no one has been able to say whether it would take cats and dogs, but given its wild nature - if hungry - I suspect it would.
To my surprise the Northumberland National Park have not taken a view. That is their choice but I am surprised. Nor have the Northumberland County Council expressed a view although they are the local authority.
- as a result I have decided to survey the local people in a simple yes or no survey as to whether they want this to happen. The assertion is that this introduction would boost tourism. I will analyse and publish the results of the survey shortly, but several hundred Q+A have gone out specifically to kielder and surrounding residents to get a fair assessment of the situation. I will meet Lynx UK, and their London lawyers, when all the replies are in, and I have better answers to some of the unanswered questions. It is fair to say that around 90% oppose this plan so far, but not all results are in. The results are not North Korean in return but 90% is a very high degree of opposition.