Secretary of State Michael Gove has refused permission for lynx to be released in the Kielder Forest, Northumberland – on the grounds that a review by Natural England has concluded the application from Lynx UK Trust does not meet the necessary standards.
The National Sheep association (NSA) chief executive Phil Stocker said: “NSA is delighted to hear the application has been rejected and that Mr Gove and his colleagues within Defra and Natural England have taken our comments on board. We strongly believe this is the right decision, on ecological, social and agricultural grounds. Today’s victory is not just for farmers, but for the ecology of the area, the rural community and the farming economy.
“NSA first raised its concerns with Natural England in March 2015, so nearly four years ago when the release was first suggested and has been leading the charge ever since. Today’s announcement shows the effectiveness of our working with local farmers and community groups that share our concerns. The community in Kielder has really come together and with the support of NSA has hosted meetings and discussions to raise their concerns. The threat of the lynx against sheep was very real and we could not be happier that this isn’t a risk our members will have to face.”