UKBAP logoUK BAP priority species and habitats


UK BAP priority species and habitats were those that were identified as being the most threatened and requiring conservation action under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP).  The original lists of UK BAP priority species and habitats were created between 1995 and 1999, and were subsequently updated in 2007, following a 2-year review of UK BAP processes and priorities, which included a review of the UK priority species and habitats lists.  More information is available in the Species and Habitats Review Report (PDF, 1.3Mb).

The aim of the 'Species and Habitats Review' was to ensure that the UK BAP lists of priority species and habitats remained up-to-date and focussed on the correct priorities.  This was the first full review of the lists, generated over 10 years previously, and provided an opportunity to take into account emerging new priorities, conservation successes, and the huge amount of new information that had been gathered since the original lists were created.  Selection of priority species and habitats for the priority lists followed consideration by expert working groups against a set of selection criteria, based on international importance, rapid decline, high risk, and habitats of importance for key species.  Following the review, the number of priority species increased from less than 600 to 1,150, and the number of priority habitats increased from 49 to 65.

As a result of new drivers and requirements, the 'UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework', published in July 2012, has succeeded the UK BAP.  In particular, due to devolution and the creation of country-level biodiversity strategies, much of the work previously carried out under the UK BAP is now focussed at a country level.  Additionally, international priorities have changed: the framework particularly sets out the priorities for UK-level work to support the Convention on Biological Diversity's (CBD's) Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its five strategic goals and 20 'Aichi Targets', agreed at the CBD meeting in Nagoya, Japan, in October 2010; and the EU Biodiversity Strategy (EUBS), launched in May 2011.

The UK BAP lists of priority species and habitats remain, however, important and valuable reference sources.  Notably, they have been used to help draw up statutory lists of priority species and habitats in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (see NI species and NI habitats lists), as required under Section 41 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006 (England), Section 7 of the Environment Act (Wales), Section 2(4) of the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004, and Section 3(1) of the Wildlife and Natural Environment Act (Northern Ireland) 2011.

The following pages give further information about the lists of UK BAP priority species and habitats.