Conservation action plan 'will lead the world'
Thursday 16 November 1995
Britain will next month launch an action plan for saving its own threatened species and habitats. Drawn up by government and voluntary conservation groups, the draft strategy will be presented as a model for the rest of the world.
There will be individual plans for safeguarding 114 plant and animal species and 14 different types of habitat, all declining or at dangerously low levels.
For each species and habitat the plan will set out its present status, how it can be maintained or increased and what it will cost. Funding the total programme would require at least pounds 100m a year but some of this money is already being spent,and about half of its comes from voluntary conservation groups.
Graham Wynne, director of conservation at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, said: "It's a draft strategy which John Gummer [the Secretary of State of the Environment] deserves credit for supporting. Now we'll have to see if the entire Government can deliver."
The action plans cover popular threatened species found across continents, like the European otter, but there are several obscure ones unique to Britain. On the islet of Lundy, in the Bristol Channel, is a species of wild cabbage which only grows there. On it lives a beetle species which is in turn unique to that cabbage.
Including both makes the point that humanity should at least try to avoid wiping out any species through its own population growth and economic development, rather than devoting all efforts to charismatic species like the tiger.
The UK list includes 10 mammal species, nine birds, three reptiles and amphibians, four fish, 30 insects, 15 other invertebrates, 20 flowering plants and 25 lower plants including ferns and mosses. Many are unique to Britain.
Among the birds is the skylark, which still numbers hundreds of thousands but has undergone a precipitous decline due to the spread of modern farming methods.
The shorter habitats list includes the Caledonian pine woods of Scotland, lowland heaths of the kind which once covered much of southern England, and fens. There is a target to increase heathland area by 23 square miles.
Drawing up the strategy has taken nearly two years, and involved the RSPB, the network of county wildlife trusts and the World Wide Fund for Nature. Also taking part are small voluntary groups like Plantlife and Butterfly Conservation.
The UK is one of more than 100 nations which have ratified the UN Biodiversity treaty, signed at the Earth Summit in Brazil three years ago. The strategy is Britain's way of implementing the treaty. "It's important that rich countries should give a lead to the developing nations on conservation," Mr Wynne said. "If the Government acts on this the UK will be giving very positive signals for others to follow."
Most developing countries have much greater biodiversity - variety and numbers of species - but face greater problems in conserving it. A combination of poverty and rapid population growth mean natural habitats are rapidly being destroyed along with tens of thousands of species.
The only way of saving them is to protect large areas of habitat and it is now recognised people living around them must be given an incentive to join the protection effort.
- 1 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 2 Dog thinks owner is drowning in lake, dives in and tries to pull him out
- 3 Thank heavens for Louise Mensch and her foul-mouthed tweets to world leaders
- 4 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 5 Phil Neville backtracks on Tomas Rosicky 'I'd smash him' comments from Match of the Day 2
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Greece elections: Greek PM Alexis Tsipras takes aim at 'neo-liberal' Europe as country gears up for prolonged austerity battle
Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary: Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
Prince Philip set to be knighted by Australia: Celebrate by reading his greatest gaffes
New York snow: Winter Storm Juno downgraded as 'one of the largest snowstorms in history' fails to show
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
Leaked documents show Ukip leaders approve NHS privatisation once it becomes more 'acceptable to the electorate'
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Product Owner/Business Analyst is required t...
£28800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is going through a period o...
£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...
£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity for an ...