THE UK BIODIVERSITY
(a) Development of the UK BAP can be tracked
from the original Biodiversity: the UK Action Plan 1994, through
the Steering Group Report 1995 and the Government Response 1996,
the Tranche 1 Species and Habitat Action Plans 1995 and the successive
volumes of Tranche 2 Species and Habitat Action Plans, 1996-99.
(b) Following the publication of the UK
BAP, a UK Steering Group was set up. It was chaired by the then
Department of the Environment (DOE), with members drawn from the
public, private and voluntary sectors. Sub-groups were set up
to look more closely at targets, data requirements, public awareness
and local action. Although chaired by DOE, the Steering Group
was an independent partnership.
(c) In December 1995 the Steering Group
published Biodiversity: the UK Steering Group Report. Volume 1:
Meeting the Rio Challenge and Volume 2: Action Plans. The first
volume established criteria for the selection of species and habitat
types of conservation concern and the second volume contained
costed Action Plans for 116 priority species and 14 priority habitats.
It recommended that Action Plans be prepared for further priority
species and habitats and that delivery should be co-ordinated
and monitored by a UK Group. The further plans were subsequently
published so that, by October 1999, a total of 391 Species and
45 Habitat Action Plans were in place.
(d) The Government published a response
to the Steering Group report in May 1996. It wholeheartedly welcomed
the Report and accepted its main recommendations. The UK Biodiversity
Group (UKBG) was established as a successor to the Steering Group,
serviced by a Biodiversity Secretariat based in DOE. The Government
asked the UKBG to produce a report every five years.
(e) Sustaining the variety of life: five
years of the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, DETR 2001 responds to
that request. It gives an account of the action the UKBG has identified
and overseen and co-ordinated input to the objectives established
for the biodiversity process in the UK. Significant achievements
over the first five years include:
A unique and highly successful public/voluntary/private
sector partnership established to take forward the UK BAP.
Drawing up of 391 individual Species
Action Plans (SAPs) and 45 individual Habitat Action Plans (HAPs)
for the species and habitats at most risk in the UK.
Despite the short period for implementation,
54 per cent of HAPs and SAPs show progress towards their targets.
Thirty-three priority species and five priority habitats are showing
signs of recovery; 58 species and one habitat are thought to be
Preparation and implementation of
around 160 Local Biodiversity Action Plans (LBAPs) covering 100
per cent of Scotland and Wales and the majority of England.
Major wildlife legislation in England
and Wales which incorporates the Biodiversity Convention into
domestic law (Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000).
A continuing increase in active national
and local biodiversity partnerships, for example, 243 separate
organisations involved in 191 HAP/SAP steering groups.
Establishment of the National Biodiversity
Network (NBN) Trust to provide a basis for the development of
a comprehensive web-based information source.
Public membership of 10 leading biodiversity
conservation organisations rose by 18 per cent from 1995-2000,
to a total of nearly five million.
(f) The UKBG and its sub-groups have drawn
on research, survey, analysis and other material to support its
findings and recommendations. These sources include:
358 Reports from the Lead Partners
and Agencies of the SAPs and HAPs made in September-October 1999.
An independent evaluation of progress
made by outside consultants, Entec UK Ltd, of the biodiversity
Research comparing the actual costs
of implementing the Action Plans compared with the predicted costs
based on a sample of Tranche 1 Action Plans undertaken by consultants
Baker, Shepherd, Gillespie.
Information gathered from co-ordinators
of Local Biodiversity Action Plans (LBAPs) including a survey
of LBAPs in England in autumn 2000.
(g) The biodiversity website (www.ukbap.org.uk)
has aimed to deliver guidance and information to those involved
in national and local implementation of the UK BAP process across
a wider public audience. In Spring 2001 an upgraded version of
the website was launched, giving improved access to information
and raising awareness of biodiversity and the UK BAP to a wider
(h) In the Rural White Paper Our Countryside:
the FutureA Fair Deal for Rural England the Government
announced it would prepare a biodiversity strategy for England
in consultation with the England Biodiversity Group. Sustaining
the variety of life: five years of the UK Biodiversity Action
Plan considered that a biodiversity strategy for England presented
a significant opportunity to establish a clear strategic direction,
priorities and monitoring framework for biodiversity in England.
The strategy is currently under development, with a view to presenting
a final version to Ministers by the end of July 2002.