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Wildlife: Environment Protection

Volume 472: debated on Monday 25 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will bring forward proposals for a statutory regime to govern the adaptation of wildlife habitats in response to climate change; and if he will make a statement. (187553)

The Government believe that the current regime adequately covers any adaptation of wildlife habitats that may be required in response to climate change.

Last year we published “Conserving biodiversity in a changing climate: guidance on building capacity to adapt”, which is directed at those who plan and deliver conservation of terrestrial biodiversity.

The UK was also the first country to produce a national Biodiversity Action Plan in response to the Convention on Biological Diversity signed in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The UK Biodiversity Action Plan comprises both species and habitats action plans. In 2007, the UK Biodiversity Partnership published a new list of priority habitats, containing 65 habitat types. These priority habitats are a focus for conservation during the next decade and the impacts of climate change will feature in conservation actions.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what species are to be removed from Schedule 4 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981; what mechanisms will be put in place to monitor the effect on wild populations of such species; and what the expected cost is of such monitoring. (187844)

The list of species to be removed from Schedule 4 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 has not been finalised and will be subject to further discussions with the devolved administrations. I hope the revised schedule will take effect from 1 October this year.

The Joint Nature Conservation Committee and the Statutory Nature Conservation Agencies support a range of bird surveillance and monitoring schemes in the United Kingdom, usually in partnership with specialist non-government organisations. Surveillance schemes may include annual or periodic assessment of population size and distribution and allow trends in both to be derived. Schemes are tailored to provide comprehensive coverage of common and rare species in both breeding and non-breeding seasons. Monitoring is undertaken as part of the JNCC’s and Statutory Nature Conservation Agencies’ statutory obligations and would not incur any additional costs.