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UK Biodiversity Action Plan

In June 1992, the UK was among 150 countries to sign up to the Convention on Biological Diversity at the Earth Summit in Rio. Following up from this, the government produced a UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) which set out conservation measures necessary to protect our most important species and habitats. These were selected on the basis of their international rarity and /or their rarity or rate of decline in the UK. The UK Action Plan also concluded that biodiversity would only be effectively conserved if action was also taken at a local level. It recommended that local authorities should prepare BAPs for their own areas which included not only the national priorities identified by the UK Plan, but also species and habitats considered to be locally important.

The UK plan currently targets over 500 species (including mammals, birds, amphibians and plants) and 45 different habitats in the terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments. These species have been selected on the basis of their international importance, rate of decline and various other criteria. For each priority area the pan describes their current status, threats and sets out an action programme for achieving a range of objectives and targets over a 10 to 15 year period.

The species covered by the UK plan include amongst many more:

Water vole

Brown hare


Pipistrelle bat

Red squirrel


Stone curlew

Grey partridge

Great crested newt

Song thrush

Stag beetle

Tree sparrow



Wild asparagus

Shepherds needle

Red hemp-nettle

Greater water parsnip

Corn cleavers

Sea lavender

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