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Wildlife and Countryside Link

Wildlife and Countryside Link

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Wildlife and Countryside Link (Link) brings together voluntary organisations in the UK to protect and enhance wildlife, landscape and the marine environment and to further the quiet enjoyment and appreciation of the countryside. Link currently has over 30 members who collectively employ 9,600 full-time staff, have the help of 170,000 volunteers and the support of over 8 million people in the UK. Members are united by their common interest in the conservation and enjoyment of the natural and historic environment.


Link aims to maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of the environmental voluntary sector through collaboration. By bringing members together on policy areas of interest to them, it provides a forum to develop a collective view on national and international issues affecting wildlife and the countryside, to exchange information, and to work together to develop policies to influence domestic and relevant EU and international policies. By working together, Link can provide its members with a stronger single voice to effect policy change.


Information Management

Link provides an information management service helping members to share resources and intelligence. By acting as a hub through which information can be exchanged, Link enables members to network with other organisations with similar interests and keeps them informed of developments across a range of topics.

Coalition Building

Link facilitates collaborative work between members by helping to distil a clear common message on important issues and communicate it effectively to key decision makers. As an independent forum, priorities can be agreed and joint positions on environmental issues can be developed. Link acts as an 'honest broker' where members may have different views about particular issues and it helps members to synchronise public campaigns to achieve maximum impact.



Link is run by a small professional Secretariat that is overseen by a Management Committee of senior representatives elected from the membership. The Link Secretariat co-ordinates groups of experts in Working Groups and Task Forces, and facilitates coalition working through these groups with the help of elected Chairs and Vice-Chairs.

Link has three honorary Vice-Presidents appointed from the three main parliamentary parties, on whose support Link calls when engaging in parliamentary activity. The current Vice-President is Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer.

Link is a registered charity number 1107460 and a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales number 3889519.


The following organisations are currently members of Link:
  • Amphibian and Reptile Conservation
    Amphibian and Reptile Conservation
    Amphibian and Reptile Conservation is a British wildlife charity formed in July 2009 from two similar organisations Froglife and the Herpetological Conservation Trust...

  • Association of Rivers Trusts
    Association of Rivers Trusts
    The Rivers Trust is the new name for the Association of Rivers Trusts which is a waterway society and registered charity No. 1107144, and an umbrella organisation for trusts concerned with rivers in England and Wales...

  • Butterfly Conservation
    Butterfly Conservation
    Butterfly Conservation is an insect conservation organisation in the United Kingdom. It is one of the largest insect conservation organisations in the world.-History of the Organisation:...

  • The Bat Conservation Trust
    The Bat Conservation Trust
    The Bat Conservation Trust is a British charity dedicated to the conservation of bats and their habitats in the UK. BCT was formed in 1990 and is the only national organisation solely devoted to bats...

  • Badger Trust
  • British Ecological Society
    British Ecological Society
    The British Ecological Society is a learned society in the field of ecology that was founded in 1913. It was the first ecological society in the world. The society's original objective was "to promote and foster the study of Ecology in its widest sense" and this remains the central theme guiding...

  • British Mountaineering Council
    British Mountaineering Council
    The British Mountaineering Council is the national representative body for England and Wales that exists to protect the freedoms and promote the interests of climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers, including ski-mountaineers...

  • Buglife - The Invertebrate Conservation Trust
    Buglife - The Invertebrate Conservation Trust
    Buglife – The Invertebrate Conservation Trust is a British nature conservation charity based in Cambridgeshire, England. Its aim is to prevent invertebrate extinctions and to maintain sustainable populations of invertebrates in the United Kingdom...

  • ClientEarth
    ClientEarth is a non-profit environmental law organisation, founded in 2008, with offices in London, Brussels and Warsaw.-Access to Justice:ClientEarth is attempting to make it a legal right for European citizens and non-governmental organisations to bring environmental cases to court...

  • Council for British Archaeology
    Council for British Archaeology
    Established in 1944, the is an educational charity working throughout the UK to involve people in archaeology and to promote the appreciation and care of the historic environment for the benefit of present and future generations...

  • Campaign for National Parks
  • Campaign to Protect Rural England
  • Friends of the Earth
    Friends of the Earth
    Friends of the Earth International is an international network of environmental organizations in 76 countries.FOEI is assisted by a small secretariat which provides support for the network and its agreed major campaigns...

  • The Grasslands Trust
    The Grasslands Trust
    The Grasslands Trust was established in 2002 and is the only organisation in the UK which focuses solely on one of the most threatened native habitats; wildlife rich grasslands...

  • Greenpeace
    Greenpeace is a non-governmental environmental organization with offices in over forty countries and with an international coordinating body in Amsterdam, The Netherlands...

  • The Hawk and Owl Trust
  • International Fund for Animal Welfare
  • The Mammal Society
    The Mammal Society
    The Mammal Society is a British natural history organisation, which studies the wild mammals of the United Kingdom.It gives its mission statement as:...

  • Marine Conservation Society
    Marine Conservation Society
    The Marine Conservation Society a UK charity for the protection of the seas around the United Kingdom, and for the protection of their shores and wildlife.According to their website MCS's Vision is:Their website also states:...

  • National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty
    National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty
    The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty, usually known as the National Trust, is a conservation organisation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland...

  • Open Spaces Society
    Open Spaces Society
    The Open Spaces Society , a registered charity, is a UK campaign group to protect public rights of way and common land. It was founded in 1865 as the Commons Preservation Society. It is Britain’s oldest national conservation body. Its founders and early members included John Stuart Mill, Lord...

  • Plantlife
    Plantlife is a wild plant conservation charity. As of 2007, its membership was 10,500 and it owned 23 nature reserves around the UK.-History:It was founded in 1989 with its first President being Professor David Bellamy. By 1999 it had 22 nature reserves....

  • Pond Conservation
  • Ramblers
    The Ramblers, formerly known as the Ramblers' Association, is the largest walkers' rights organisation in Great Britain which aims to look after the interests of walkers...

  • Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
    Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
    Bird Notes and News was first published in April 1903.The title changed to 'Bird Notes' in 1947. In the 1950s, there were four copies per year . Each volume covered two years, spread over three calendar years...

  • Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
    Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
    The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a charity in England and Wales that promotes animal welfare. In 2009 the RSPCA investigated 141,280 cruelty complaints and collected and rescued 135,293 animals...

  • Salmon and Trout Association
  • Shark Trust
    Shark Trust
    Shark Trust is a charitable organization founded in the UK in 1997"dedicated to promoting the study, management, and conservation of sharks,skates and rays in the UK and internationally."....

  • UFAW
  • Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society
    Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society
    the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society is a wildlife charity that is dedicated solely to the worldwide conservation and welfare of all whales, dolphins and porpoises...

  • Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust
    Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust
    The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust is a wildfowl and wetland conservation charity in the United Kingdom. Its patron is Queen Elizabeth II.It was founded in 1946 by the ornithologist and artist Sir Peter Scott, initially as the Severn Wildfowl Trust...

  • The Wildlife Trusts
  • Woodland Trust
    Woodland Trust
    The Woodland Trust is a conservation charity in the United Kingdom concerned with the protection and sympathetic management of native woodland heritage.-History:...

  • World Wide Fund for Nature
    World Wide Fund for Nature
    The World Wide Fund for Nature is an international non-governmental organization working on issues regarding the conservation, research and restoration of the environment, formerly named the World Wildlife Fund, which remains its official name in Canada and the United States...

Joint Links

Wildlife and Countryside Link is based in London and focuses its efforts on influencing Westminster and Whitehall. There are other Links in each of the devolved administrations:
  • Northern Ireland Environment Link
  • Wales Environment Link
  • Scottish Environment Link


Link began life as Wildlife Link in 1980, taking over from two existing umbrella bodies, the Council for Nature and the Council for Environmental Conservation. The formation of Link was driven by Lord Peter Melchett whose position in the House of Lords convinced him that better co-ordination was needed between voluntary organisations with similar core objectives. In 1982 Countryside Link was formed to look after the interests of the countryside and in 1990 the two organisations merged creating the organisation of today, whose interests span the breadth of wildlife and countryside issues.


Link’s members provide the majority share of Link’s core income through an annual subscription and voluntary donations. Financial support is also gratefully received from Natural England
Natural England
Natural England is the non-departmental public body of the UK government responsible for ensuring that England's natural environment, including its land, flora and fauna, freshwater and marine environments, geology and soils, are protected and improved...

, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the Tubney Charitable Trust and Lisbet Rausing & Peter Baldwin.

External links