Wildlife expert Chris Packham joined a group of around 100 school children who marched to the gates of Buckingham Palace to deliver a petition calling on the Royal Family to rewild their large landholdings across the UK.
The petition, organised by the Wild Card campaign, was signed by over 100,000 people including former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, author Michael Morpurgo, actors Sir Mark Rylance and Josh O’Connor and TV presenter Kate Humble.
The Royal Family is the largest landowner in the UK. They own 323,748 hectares (800,000 acres) which represents 1.4% of the total UK land area. Much of their land is of low ecological value. The Balmoral estate in Scotland, for example, is largely managed for deer stalking and grouse shooting which leads to low biodiversity.
Many landowners, particularly farmers, are not in favour of rewilding which involves reverting farmland back to a more natural wild state.
A Royal Estates spokesperson said…
“Members of the royal family have a longstanding commitment to conservation and biodiversity, and for over 50 years have championed the preservation and development of natural ecosystems.
“The royal estates are constantly evolving and looking for new ways to continue improving biodiversity, conservation and public access to green spaces, as well as being home to thriving communities and businesses which form part of the fabric of the local community”.
Chris Packham and the Wild Card campaigners are hoping the Royal Family will respond positively to the petition before COP26 in November.