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Birdfair will not return to Rutland Water after the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust announces the event has been axed

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One of the biggest event's in Rutland's calendar and a huge attraction for tourists has been axed.

The Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust has announced that the Birdfair will not be returning to Rutland Water.

The event has attracted thousands of visitors from across the world for more than 30 years, but a combination of financial worries and concerns about climate change have forced organisers to make their difficult decision.

Tim Appleton set up the event.
Tim Appleton set up the event.

Wildlife trust spokesman Jamie Perry said: "The global pandemic has had a significant effect on our day-to-day operations as a charity. Like many institutions, we have seen income streams lost or reduced, with a resultant impact on our financial reserves and the delivery of our charitable work.

“Birdfair proceeds have always been donated in full to Birdlife International. The wildlife trust has never received any part of this, but we have nevertheless borne 100 per cent of the risks and liabilities. This is a significant burden for any organisation, let alone a small, local charity such as ourselves."

The Birdfair was cancelled for the last two years because of the pandemic, resulting in a financial loss for the charity.

Chris Packham at the 2019 event.
Chris Packham at the 2019 event.

Concerns were also raised about the fair attracting visitors from 80 countries and the impact this has on the environment.

The trust said: "The carbon footprint generated both by the event itself and the activities it promotes does not now fit well with our own strategy towards tackling the climate crisis. The event would need considerable redesign to resolve this."

Mr Perry said: “We must now turn all of our attention and efforts to our core mission of saving, restoring and connecting people with wildlife and habitats across Leicestershire and Rutland with the aim of aiding nature’s recovery.”

Birdfair, originally known as the British Birdwatching Fair, has been held at Rutland Water Nature Reserve since 1989. It was created by Tim Appleton of the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, and Martin Davies of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

The event attracts thousands of international visitors
The event attracts thousands of international visitors

It has raised more than £5m for wildlife projects around the world.

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