LONDON – Environmental campaigners urged Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and other royals on Saturday to commit to rewilding their vast estates – from planting more trees to going organic – as Scotland prepares to host the COP26 global climate conference.
Chris Packham, a well-known conservationist and broadcaster, along with several hundred schoolchildren and a jazz band marched through central London to Buckingham Palace to deliver a petition signed by 100,000 people.
“We are very politely … asking them to change their (estate management) practices and if they could announce that before COP it would send out a brilliant message across the world,” Packham told Sky News.
“This is not the time for talking about doing things anymore, this is the time to actually do them, so whilst they are saying the right things … what better place to do the right thing than in your very own, very large, back yard.”
Rewilding is a conservation effort aimed at restoring natural processes and wilderness areas, and Packham said a transition on royal estates would involve using only organic materials, more tree planting and a reduction in deer numbers to allow regeneration.
He added that practices like grouse shooting in which land is burned and drained and lead shot is used “are not compatible with some of the things that the royal family are saying about their genuine concerns when it comes to the environment and the bio-diversity crisis”.
The Royal Estates said it has a long history of conservation and biodiversity and was constantly looking for ways to make further improvements.
The Queen, her son Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, and the heir’s eldest son Prince William and wife Kate will attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) taking place in Glasgow in November, organisers said on Friday.
World leaders are due to meet at the summit to try to flesh out commitments made in Paris in 2015 aimed at stabilising the planet’s climate and to speed up action to limit climate change.