Under Section 74 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, Ministers and Government Departments have a duty to have regard to the purpose of conserving biological diversity. This has been replaced by a similar provision under Section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act which comes into effect on 1 October 2006. There is no statutory duty to monitor compliance with this duty.
The Department for Transport has taken a number of steps to benefit biodiversity. The Highways Agency has in place a comprehensive biodiversity action plan (HABAP) that ensures all habitats and species likely to be affected by its roads or form part of the roads estate are restored or enhanced as appropriate.
The UK through the Maritime and Coastguard Agency has been very active in the development of the NW Europe Ballast Water Management Strategy and the International Maritime Organisation’s convention for the control management of ships ballast water and sediments, which aims to control non-indigenous species invading through the medium of ballast water and therefore protect maritime, coastal, and estuarine environments.
Under Section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006, all public bodies have a duty to have regard to the conservation of biodiversity in the exercising of their functions. There is no statutory obligation on Departments to monitor the extent to which public bodies comply with this duty. However, we understand the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is working with a wide range of partners to develop guidance for public bodies to support the implementation of this duty and will involve all relevant Departments on the development of guidance.