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Nature Conservation: Wildlife

Volume 474: debated on Monday 21 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how many priority species have been (a) added and (b) removed from the UK Biodiversity Action Plan list in each year since the list was first issued; (198263)

(2) what criteria were used in determining priority species to be added to the UK Biodiversity Action Plan list;

(3) how often the UK Biodiversity Action Plan list of priority species is reviewed.

In 1995, the original UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) included a total of 427 priority species. In 1997-98, 20 of these species were removed and a further 169 were added, giving a total of 576. This was increased to 577 in 2005, due to recognition of two distinct sub-species of pipistrelle bat. On 28 August 2007, I announced a new UK list of priority species and habitats which contained 1,149 species. Of the former UK BAP species, 123 were removed while 695 species were added, partially because of new declines but primarily because our knowledge and understanding had increased. This was the first full review of the UK BAP list. The review criteria were:

1. International threat.

2. International importance of the UK population.

3. Marked decline in the UK.

4. Other important factor(s) such as very restricted geographic range or extreme threat.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much has been allocated to UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority species in each year since the action plan list was first issued. (198266)

This information is not available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, in 2007 consultants estimated a total UK Biodiversity Action Plan related expenditure of £388 million, of which £318 million related to Habitat Action Plans and £70 million to Species Action Plans. Many widespread species require the delivery of habitat management at the landscape scale, so in practice much of the spend on Habitat Action Plans also benefits species.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what actions accompany the designation of a priority species under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. (198277)

The UK list of priority species provides a focus for conservation action over the next decade and will be used to inform statutory lists under legislation in each of the countries of the UK. The list has been published with an indication of the most important types of action necessary for the conservation of each species. The UK Biodiversity Partnership is adopting the ecosystem approach and, in addition to legal protection and management for single species and sites, these actions include habitat expansion and restoration, wider action on cross-cutting issues such as climate change, and research. Biodiversity conservation is a devolved matter, and implementation is being taken forward under biodiversity and environment strategies in each of the four countries of the UK.