UK Biodiversity Protection Policy
Biodiversity or the variety of life is declining throughout the world and Britain is no exception. According to the recent reports, as many as one third of all animal species are at the brink of extinction. The main threat is of course climate change as an increase of global temperature for only 1 degree Celsius is endangering as many as 10 percent of the world’s species.
Protecting Wildlife Habitat
Pressure on the land, leading to destruction of wildlife habitats is another serious threat to biodiversity in the UK and its overseas territories. The UK Government is therefore also taking measures to protect wildlife via protection of wildlife habitat by enforcing laws that protect areas of land which are identified as an important wildlife habitat and ensuring that they are properly managed. Examples include:
- The Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. It forces all public organisations and bodies to consider protection and conservation of biodiversity in carrying out their activities.
- The National Planning Policy Framework. It requires from local planning authorities to consider biodiversity when developing planning policies.
- Habitats Directive and Birds Directive. These directives protects hundreds of animal and plant species, and a number of habitat types such as meadows, forests, etc. of European importance.
Protection of Wildlife and Biodiversity in the UK Overseas Territories and Abroad
The UK Government is also active in biodiversity protection in overseas territories and abroad. Among other, the Government:
- financially and scientifically supports biodiversity protection programmes and projects through the Darwin Initiative
- provides assistance in tackling deforestation and illegal logging
- works closely with other countries in developing, adopting and enforcing agreements on prevention of biodiversity loss
Prevention of Wildlife Crime
Killing, disturbing and trading with protected and endangered species remain a major concern and seriously threaten biodiversity both on the national and international level. The UK Government fights against wildlife crime as a member of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the Coalition Against Wildlife Trafficking as well as by enforcing laws such as:
- the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010
- the Animal Welfare Act 2006
- Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
The UK Government develops its biodiversity protection policy by working closely with a wide range of organisations ranging from charities to land managers and individuals who advocate wildlife-friendly gardening. In order to enforce biodiversity protection laws, the UK Government of course also closely cooperates with the UK Border Force, the National Wildlife Crime Unit and the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime. An important role in biodiversity and wildlife habitat protection strategy also play The Wildlife Trusts and the National Trust, and the Kew Gardens which offers expert advice on issues concerning biodiversity on an international level.