Orkney Islands Council
Working together for a better Orkney

Biodiversity Action Planning

The National Process

The UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UKBAP) was launched in 1994 as a means of meeting the UK’s obligations under the Biodiversity Convention (signed by the UK and over a hundred other countries at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992) to “develop national strategies, plans or programmes for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity”. The stated goal of the UK BAP is to “conserve and enhance biological diversity within the UK, and to contribute to the conservation of global diversity through all appropriate mechanisms”.

UK BAP priority species were those that were identified as being the most threatened and requiring conservation action under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP).  As a result of devolution, and new country-level and international drivers and requirements, much of the work previously carried out by the UK BAP is now focused at a country-level rather than a UK-level, and in July 2012 the UK BAP was succeeded by the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework'.  The UK list of priority species, however, remains an important reference source and has been used to help draw up statutory lists of priorities in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The "2020 Challenge for Scotland's Biodiversity” - was launched on 19th June 2013 and aims to:

  • Protect and restore biodiversity on land and in our seas, and to support healthier ecosystems.
  • Connect people with the natural world, for their health and wellbeing and to involve them more in decisions about their environment.
  • Maximise the benefits for Scotland of a diverse natural environment and the services it provides, contributing a sustainable economic growth.

The 2020 Challenge for Scotland's Biodiversity is a supplement to Scotland's Biodiversity: It's in Your Hands (2004). Together, these documents constitute the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy.

The Strategy was revised in light of international agreements signed in Nagoya, Japan in 2010 and the publication of the European Union's Biodiversity Strategy   in May 2011.

The 2020 Challenge highlights the need to protect biodiversity for both its own sake but also because of the benefits the environment gives us such as:

  • Contributing over £21.5 billion to the Scottish economy.
  • Insect pollination services in Scotland valued at £43m per year.

The 2020 Challenge is clear that landscape scale (ecosystem approach) conservation is required, with many more organisations, government departments and businesses being involved. A focusing of effort on the drivers of biodiversity loss such as climate change, invasive non-native species, habitat fragmentation and diffuse pollution will enable Scotland to meet the 2020 challenge.

The Local Process

Local Biodiversity Action Plans (LBAPs) are seen as the means by which the UKBAP and the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy are implemented at the local level. Targets set nationally for species and habitats of conservation concern are translated into actions which are achievable in a local context. In addition, LBAPs are expected to provide a focus for the conservation of locally valued species and habitats.

The Orkney Local Biodiversity Action Plan, first published in 2003 then revised in 2008, 2013 and 2018, identifies actions which we can take locally, and which will contribute to the conservation of those species and habitats identified as being ‘at risk’ or ‘threatened’ in the UK.

The earlier versions of the LBAP are presented as a series of individual Habitat Action Plans and associated guiding principles which identify important sites for each habitat type. However, another key element of the LBAP is the importance of the wider terrestrial and marine environment outside these sites, which provides breeding or feeding habitat for many species and part of the range of others, and is essential for migration, dispersal and genetic exchange.

The 2018 LBAP has taken a different approach by focusing on biodiversity action planning across four themes: Greenspace, Farmland, Peatland and the Marine Environment. As well as including a number of updated Habitat Action Plans, this LBAP introduces two Species Action Plans and an Action Plan to address the issue of marine litter.

The process of producing individual Action Plans is carried out by the Orkney Local Biodiversity Action Plan Steering Group, a sub-group of the Orkney Environment Partnership. The Partnership comprises representatives of locally based organisations with an interest in, and influence over biodiversity.

The LBAP Steering Group is made up of representatives from:

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH)

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)

Orkney Islands Council (OIC)

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)

Heriot Watt University’s International Centre for island Technology (ICIT)

The Scottish Government Rural Payments and Inspections Directorate (SGRPID)

SAC Consulting

The Orkney Field Club

Further information on biodiversity action in Scotland is available from the SNH website at https://www.nature.scot/scotlands-biodiversity