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Moorland: Environment Protection

Volume 506: debated on Thursday 4 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to protect wildlife in areas of heather moorland. (320338)

Natural England is taking action to protect and manage heather moorland habitats and is also taking additional steps to recover threatened species. A total of 354,000 hectares of heather moorland (comprising blanket bog and upland heathlands) have been designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs). On 1 March 2010, 91 per cent. of these SSSIs were in favourable or recovering condition (up from about 57 per cent. in September 2006). 95 per cent. of eligible heather moorland is under agri-environment agreement.

In addition, about 40 heather moorland species have been listed as species of principal importance for the conservation of biological diversity under section 41 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. Many of these species, including hen harrier, black grouse and juniper, benefit from targeted recovery plans.