[holding answer 1 May 2008]: Species protection has both national and international facets to it, and recent steps to improve protection have included the following:
Following advice from the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, the water vole, short-snouted seahorse, spiny seahorse, roman snail and angel shark have now been given enhanced protection in England under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
On 28 August 2007, I announced a new UK list of priority species and habitats (containing 1,149 species), which 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.
In August last year, we brought into force regulations that increased the protection of species listed on annex IV of the habitats directive.
On the wider international stage, at the 2007 Conference of Parties to the convention on international trade in endangered species (CITES), the UK fully supported the increased protection of a range of species affected by international trade including the slow loris, the European eel and brazilwood. During 2007-08, DEFRA provided funding of around £1 million towards the operation of CITES and other major conventions, most notably the convention on biological diversity (CBD) including targeted funding for specific projects to protect and conserve albatrosses and petrels, migratory sharks, African elephants, Indian ocean marine turtles and tigers. In addition, DEFRA provided £75,000 for the Flagship Species Fund, which included projects on endangered sea turtles, primates and conifers.