Throughout March over 600 questionnaires have been sent out to residents in the Upper North Tyne area in Northumberland asking for local views about the Lynx UK Trust’s latest plan to release Lynx in to the Kielder Forest. Hexham MP Guy Opperman has today published the interim results of the survey. So far over one third have been returned, with over 4 of every 5 returns saying they do not want the reintroduction of the Lynx.* Surveys were sent to communities in Kielder, Falstone, Greenhaugh and Byrness.
The Devon-based Lynx UK Trust is in the process of finalising a new application to release three Swedish Lynx into the Kielder Forest. This will be the second application within 3 years, the previous one having been comprehensively rejected.
In response to his local survey Hexham MP Guy Opperman has issued the following statement:
‘These survey results show that here in the communities in and around the Kielder Forest - among both residents and farmers - there is clear opposition to any resurrected application from the Lynx Trust. Previously the application was comprehensively rejected on multiple grounds by both Natural England and the Environment Secretary. It is clear that the same issues and lack of support which characterised the previous doomed application remain. I would urge the Lynx Trust to listen to the local community here in Northumberland and not to submit a further application.’
John Riddle, County Councillor for Bellingham Division, said:
‘The results of this community survey demonstrate once again that there is overwhelming local opposition to the idea of reintroducing Lynx in to Kielder Forest. I urge the Lynx Trust to listen to the community in the upper North Tyne and drop this idea once and for all.’
Surveys continue to be returned, but as of 19 March 2021, the figures are as follows:
* Total surveys returned – 207
* Number of respondents saying they do not want Lynx introduced in to Kielder Forest – 179
* Number of respondents saying they support the introduction of the Lynx to Kielder Forest – 17
* Number of respondents saying they do not have a strong view either way - 11