UKBAP logoCountry Biodiversity Strategies


Following the establishment of devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in 1998, responsibility for the environment and biodiversity is primarily at the country level.  The distinctive elements of biodiversity in each of the four countries of the UK are able to be considered both independently and in collaboration with neighbouring countries. This allows for conservation approaches to be tailored to the varying conditions within different areas of the UK. Each country has its own biodiversity strategy.


The country strategies for biodiversity and the environment in each of the four countries of the UK underpin the 'UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework', published in July 2012. The country strategies include further priorities and are supported by additional measures and indicators, reflecting the countries’ different responsibilities, needs and views. Objectives of the strategies are generally to:

  • Halt the loss of biodiversity and continue to reverse previous losses through targeted actions for species and habitats.
  • Increase awareness, understanding and enjoyment of biodiversity, and engage more people in conservation and enhancement.
  • Restore and enhance biodiversity in urban, rural and marine environments through better planning, design and practice.
  • Develop an effective management framework that ensures biodiversity is taken into account in wider decision making.
  • Ensure knowledge on biodiversity is available to all policy makers and practitioners.



The most recent England biodiversity strategy, 'Biodiversity 2020: A strategy for England's wildlife and ecosystem services' was published by Defra on 19 August 2011, and a progress update was provided in July 2013.  This strategy supersedes the previous England biodiversity strategy 'Working with the grain of nature' (PDF, 2Mb), which was published by Defra in October 2002.

'Biodiversity 2020' builds on the Natural Environment White Paper for England – 'The Natural Choice', which was published on 7 June 2011, and provides a picture of how England is implementing its international and EU commitments. It sets out the strategic direction for biodiversity policy for the next decade on land and at sea, and builds on the successful work that has gone before.

The England Biodiversity Group oversees the development and delivery of the England Biodiversity Strategy, and is chaired by Defra.



The '2020 Challenge for Scotland's Biodiversity - a strategy for the conservation and enhancement of biodiversity in Scotland' was published on 19 June 2013.  This document is Scotland's response to the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, outlined in the CBD's 'Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020', and the European Union's Biodiversity Strategy for 2020.  It is a supplement to 'Scotland's Biodiversity: It's in Your Hands' which was published in 2004 and set out a 25-year strategy for the conservation and enhancement of biodiversity in Scotland.  The two documents together comprise the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy.

'Scotland’s Biodiversity – A Route Map to 2020' was published in June 2015. It sets out the priority work needed to meet the international Aichi Targets for biodiversity and improve the state of nature in Scotland. The first annual review of progress on the Route Map was published in 2016 by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).  In addition, SNH published an interim report on Scotland's progress towards meeting the CBD's Aichi Biodiversity Targets in 2016.

Scotland's second Land Use Strategy was published on 22 March 2016.  This builds on the foundations of the first Land Use Strategy, published in March 2011, retaining the Vision, Objectives and Principles for Sustainable Land Use, and the 'Land Use Strategy Progress Statement 2015', published in June 2015.

Further information about Scottish biodiversity is available on the Scottish Natural Heritage and 'Biodiversity Scotland' websites.  A quarterly newsletter is also available from Biodiversity Scotland.


Northern Ireland

'Valuing Nature - A Biodiversity Strategy for Northern Ireland to 2020' was published on 1 July 2015.  This strategy replaces the previous Northern Ireland Biodiversity Strategy, which was published in August 2002. 

On 8 May 2016, the Department of Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs (DAERA) became responsible for biodiversity. 

Additional information about biodiversity in Northern Ireland is also available from 'Biodiversity Northern Ireland'.



Natural Resources Wales published the State of Natural Resources Report (SoNaRR) in October 2016.  The report is the first of its kind in Wales, and the first statutory product coming out of the Environment (Wales) Act, and sets out the state of Wales' natural resources.

The Environment (Wales) Act received Royal Assent on 21 March 2016. The Act puts in place the legislation needed to plan and manage Wales’ natural resources in a more proactive, sustainable and joined-up way.

The Welsh Biodiversity Strategy, 'Environment Strategy for Wales', (PDF, 1.3Mb) was published in 2006, and explained how Wales would tackle the challenges it faced over the 20 years from 2006 to 2026. The Strategy is under review, to ensure that it reflects the relevant commitments in the Natural Resources Management Programme.  Further information is available on the Welsh Government website. 

The Wales Biodiversity Partnership – consisting of a steering group and a wider partnership – provides the leadership for biodiversity action priorities in Wales, with administration support from Natural Resources Wales (formerly Countryside Council for Wales), Welsh Government and the Wildlife Trusts Wales