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Newts

Volume 494: debated on Friday 19 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his most recent estimate is of the UK population of (a) great crested newts, (b) each other endangered species of newt and (c) each endangered species of bat; from what baselines changes in the population of each such species is measured; and what criteria would have to be fulfilled for each such species to be removed from the endangered species list. (279198)

The following table provides the latest estimates of UK populations for the bats and newt on the UK list of priority species and habitats. Population estimates have been divided into three components: an actual number of individuals (or populations in the case of the newt), the range which the species occupies within the UK and the population trend.

Species

UK population1

Date

Range2

Date

Trend3

Date

Barbastelle bat

86 (10km sq.)

2008

80,939 km2

1980-2006

Unknown

2008

Bechstein’s bat

36 (10km sq.)

2008

31,850 km2

1980-2006

Unknown

2008

Noctule

450,000 (individuals)

1995

158,299 km2

1980-2006

No statistically significant change

1997-2007

Soprano pipistrelle

51,500,000 (individuals)

1995

227,090 km2

1990-2006

Stable

1997-2007

Brown long-eared bat

6245,000 (individuals)

1995

234,142 km2

1980-2006

Stable

1997-2007

Greater horseshoe bat

75,689 (individuals)

2005

50,543 km2

1990-2006

Increase

1997-2007

Lesser horseshoe bat

850,000 (individuals)

2002

58,483 km2

1990-2006

Increase

1997-2007

Great crested newt

971,000 (local populations)

2006

157,749 km2

1980-2006

Declining (slowing)

2008

1 Biodiversity Action Reporting System (2008)

2 Joint Nature Conservation Committee (2007). The report detailing the UK approach can be found here:

http://www.jncc.gov.uk/pdf/FCS2007_ukapproach.pdf

3 Biodiversity Action Reporting System (2008). Where available, bat trends are provided by the National Bat Monitoring Programme (Bat Conservation Trust, 2008)

4 Based on Harris (1995)

5 Based on Harris (1995)

6 Based on Harris (1995)

7 Population estimate is 5,689 (adults counted at 21 breeding sites) * 2.2 = 12518 (Biodiversity Action Reporting System 2008)

8 Pers. comm. Schofield (2008). The rationale for this figure is based on an approximate doubling of the latest statistically valid figure for Wales (28,000; Matthews & Halliwell, 2008) due to the fact that the total area of the range in England and Wales being roughly equal. (Biodiversity Action Reporting System 2008)

9 JNCC (2007)

The trends are not measured against a baseline. Baseline information is not relevant to de-listing as the viability of the population would be considered rather than a baseline value to which current population levels would be compared.

The criteria for delisting any species from the UK list of priority species is:

Long-term or underlying decline has been halted and sufficient recovery achieved. This represents compliance with the European 2010 target to halt the loss of biodiversity.

All criteria thresholds for selecting UK priority species have been exceeded.

Sufficient recovery has been undertaken to remove the risk of re-selection and immediate deterioration of state.

Some species are conservation dependant and will always require some conservation action even when desired state has been achieved. Where there is a realistic risk that removing a conservation dependant species from the UK list of priority species will result in the action or protection that the species is dependent upon coming to a halt, then the species will be identified as being ‘BAP dependent’ and will remain on the UK list of priority species until this is no longer the case, even if the other success criteria have been met.