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Volume 470: debated on Monday 7 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of his Department's ability to meet its target under the EU commitment to halt biodiversity loss by 2010; and if he will make a statement. (170430)

It is important to stress that this commitment is not for my Department to achieve alone. DEFRA continues to work in partnership with the devolved administrations, other Government Departments, country agencies and non-Government agencies to meet this important target.

It is too early to say whether the target will be met, but some very significant progress has been made. For example, 77 per cent. of England's Sites of Special Scientific Interest are in favourable or recovering condition compared with 50 per cent. in 2000. In June this year, assessments against a suite of 18 indicators were published on behalf of the UK Biodiversity Partnership. The publication ‘Biodiversity Indicators in Your Pocket’ showed that in all 12 areas where data were available, the situation was either stable or improving.

We have been active in shaping the European and global frameworks for assessing the 2010 targets, and have developed our own reporting framework to fit with these.