UK Conservation

The environment provides a vital - and valuable - role in supporting the basic natural services we all depend on. For example, bees pollinate our crops and they in turn provide us with food. So, many bodies in the UK from the statutory, voluntary, academic and business sectors work together to conserve biodiversity.


The UK has signed up to European and International  conservation agreements. In 1994 the UK became the first country to produce a national biodiversity action plan, as part of its commitment to the Convention on Biological Diversity.


Since then devolution has led the four country conservation agencies in the UK, the Countryside Council for Wales, the Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside, Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage, to produce their own biodiversity conservation strategies. JNCC plays an important role by supporting the agencies through helping to co-ordinate conservation action and research.  


UKBAP - UK nature conservation needs us to work with partners to deliver more biodiversity.  In 1994, the UK became the first country to produce a national Biodiversity Action Plan or BAP, following the Convention on Biological Diversity signed in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.  The UK approach has been confirmed by the environment ministers of all the UK countries and is explained in "Conserving Biodiversity – the UK approach".


Most ‘hands on’ nature conservation happens locally and is organised within each UK country.  Each country has its own Biodiversity Group.  JNCC’s role is more technical.  It covers advice, data, communication and support to the UK BAP groups – see committee paper for more detail.


Amongst the data and information products JNCC supplies for UK BAP are:

  • Habitat Management on the Web is a search engine designed for people who want to find out how best to manage non-marine habitats in the UK for biodiversity and conservation. 
  • JNCC’s species pages show information about BAP priority species including why they are a priority, how they are protected and which actions they need.
  • Biodiversity Action Plan Reporting System or BARS is a web-based information system to record and share all BAP action.  We are developing it to make it even more useful for people working on or interested in biodiversity conservation.


UKGAP – (geodiversity action plan) Various regional groups (typically county councils) have been developing ‘Geodiversity Action Plans’(GAPs) to mirror their Local BAPs in an effort to ensure protection of important geological and geomorphological sites, as well as to promote educational and cultural activity based on geodiversity. 


Research priorities - the UK Biodiversity Research Advisory Group (UK BRAG) plays a key role in developing research needs at the UK level.


Reporting - The UK is required to report on the status and trends of species covered by various international Conventions and Directives. View assessments resulting from the last Habitats Directive reporting round.   


Phytophthora - Three species of the plant-damaging water mould, Phytophthora, have recently been discovered in Great Britain, with the potential to devastate heathland sites, along with their unique wildlife, and recreational value. Phytophthora ramorum, P. kernoviae and P. pseudosyringae are believed to be non-native species, and may have been introduced via international horticultural trade.


Review of SSSI guidelines - The decision has been taken to carry out a light touch review of Parts A (Rationale) and B (Operational Approach and Criteria) of the Guidelines, which goes beyond merely tidying up the text, in order to take on board important issues in relation to the purpose of the SSSI network, such as the ecosystem approach and climate change adaptation. It is the view of the Inter-Agency SSSI Review Group that any revision of Parts A and B is likely to have implications for some elements of Part C (detailed Guidelines for Habitats and Species Groups), and further consideration may need to be given to this.


Surveillance Strategy - JNCC has developed The UK Terrestrial Biodiversity Surveillance Strategy as a tool for analysing and assessing data needs and comparing these against current surveillance coverage.  The strategy identifies gaps and overlaps in the coverage of surveillance schemes in order to enable surveillance in the UK to become more useful and efficient in the future. We need surveillance and monitoring schemes to show us a clear picture of biodiversity in the UK and to answer policy questions such as what are the environmental pressures affecting species.


SPA review


Marine conservation in UK waters

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