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Biodiversity

Volume 502: debated on Thursday 10 December 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when his Department (a) concluded and (b) expects to publish its most recent assessment of the status of the Biodiversity Action Plan, Priority Species and Priority Habitats. (305797)

The most recent assessment of the status of Biodiversity Action Plan Priority Species and Habitats was published in April 2009, as part of the update to the UK Biodiversity Indicators in Your Pocket. This can be found on the website of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures he has put in place to halt biodiversity loss beyond the expiry of the EU's 2010 targets; and if he will make a statement. (305798)

We are fully committed to identifying a new challenging ‘post 2010’ biodiversity target and we are playing a leading role in establishing it. For example, earlier this year, we hosted an international workshop in Reading which reviewed the 2010 indicators and considered implications for post 2010 indicator development. We have also been feeding into key discussions at EU and global level on the development of the post 2010 framework. Linked to this, we will co-host an international workshop with Brazil in January. This will be a key stepping stone on the path to agreeing a post 2010 target, or targets, in Japan next October.

Within the UK, we have published targets to increase the population and range of our priority species and restore and expand priority habitats by 2015.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of progress since February 2009 towards meeting the objectives set out in the EU's 2010 targets to halt biodiversity loss; and if he will make a statement. (305799)

The European Commission and member states are currently compiling data to allow an assessment next year of progress against the targets in the EU Biodiversity Action Plan. We measure our progress towards the EU's 2010 target to halt biodiversity loss through the UK Biodiversity Indicators. This was reported in the National Statistics publication “Biodiversity Indicators in Your Pocket 2007”, which was updated most recently in April 2009. Statistics for wild birds were updated in October 2009 and those for sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs) are updated monthly.

Overall, 23 (72 per cent.) of the 32 measures that comprise the UK Biodiversity Indicators are “improving” or show “little or no overall change” since the year 2000. In particular, 89 per cent. of SSSIs are in favourable or recovering condition, agri-environment schemes are leading to significant improvements, and we have made great strides with the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009.