Priority species and habitats

The following Environment practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Priority species and habitats
  • UK Biodiversity Action Plan
  • Environment Act 2021
  • Environmental targets
  • Environmental improvement plans
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Policy statement
  • Duty to conserve and enhance biodiversity
  • Biodiversity Reports
  • Local nature recovery strategies for England
  • More...

Priority species and habitats

UK Biodiversity Action Plan

The first UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) was drawn up in January 1994. It described the biological resources of the UK and provided detailed plans for conservation of these resources. It was published in response to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) which the UK signed up to in 1992 in Rio De Janeiro. The UK was the first country to produce a national biodiversity action plan. Action plans for the most threatened species and habitats were set out to aid recovery, and national reports, produced every three- to five-years, showed how the UK BAP was contributing to the UK’s progress towards the significant reduction of biodiversity loss called for by the CBD.

For more information on the CBD and its development and implementation, see Practice Note: 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity—snapshot.

The original lists of UK BAP priority species and habitats were created between 1995 and 1999. Species were assessed according to four criteria:

  1. threatened internationally

  2. international responsibility and a 25% decline in the UK

  3. more than 50% decline in the UK

  4. other important factors, where quantitative data on decline was lacking but there is other evidence of extreme threat

To support the work of the UK BAP, the UK BAP website was created by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee in 2001. All of the content from the

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