Kent Wildlife Trust Update - Mike Bax

Thursday 27th July 2017

Over recent months, Mike Bax, the Trust’s Chairman has been the subject of an online petition criticising him for his association with field sports, in particular allowing a pheasant shoot on his land and his previous association with the Blean Beagles.

The Trust wishes to provide its members with an update on its position and give Mike the opportunity to comment.

Kent Wildlife Trust's position on field sports

“We recognise the level of concern reflected in the scale of the response to this petition,” said John Bennett, Chief Executive of Kent Wildlife Trust.

“In order to work with the widest possible community we remain neutral on the personal positions of our 30,000 members, 1,056 volunteers and Trustees with regards to hunting, fishing and field sports.

“We don’t allow hunting on our nature reserves where we have control of the shooting rights. Wildlife Trusts like ourselves do raise concerns and challenge aspects of field sports and hunting where they have a damaging impact on the conservation of the county’s populations of wild animals and plants.

“For the Trust to achieve our objective of protecting wildlife and wild habitats we must work closely with landowners, farmers and the wider rural community, many of whom participate in field sports as well as being active conservationists.

“Mike Bax’s commitment to the Trust over 30 years has proved invaluable in helping us to nurture these relations, which over the last five years has seen us manage and advise on nearly 31,000 acres of land across Kent for the benefit of wildlife and the public.”

About Mike Bax

Mike Bax, Chairman of Kent Wildlife Trust, said: “Having lived all my life in the Kent countryside I grew up with beagling, was actively involved until 1995 and one of seven joint Masters of the Blean Beagles until 2005.

“While hunting hares with beagles is now consigned to history, there are still many in the countryside who participate in managed field sports and hunt within the Act.

“I understand that it is an emotive issue. We need to work together if we are to reverse the crisis for wildlife in the countryside. The country’s Wildlife Trusts and other conservation organisations must engage with farmers, landowners and rural communities to protect our wildlife habitats, while at the same time ensuring we produce the food that people need. All of this contributes to a healthy environment and rural economy.

“As a Land Agent of 40 years, I have a daily involvement in countryside management. I recognised years ago that Kent Wildlife Trust was an organisation which was working well with all rural stakeholders, and I’m able to make a significant contribution in enabling that approach to continue.”

Mike's work for wildlife

Since purchasing Moat Farm in 1986 and adjoining land at later dates, Mike Bax’s work has resulted in 60 acres recognised as species rich and included in environmental stewardship.

A further 160 acres are semi-natural ancient woodland, now coppiced in rotation to provide positive benefits for wildlife and help sustain a renewable heating scheme.

An 11-acre site of special scientific interest (SSSI) adjacent to the farm, previously degraded, has now been improved by working closely with Kent Wildlife Trust.

Mike Bax has also facilitated the Trust’s work with the owners of many more sites, contributing significantly to the 31,000 acres of land over which the Trust has influence.