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 new '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 supercedes 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 respsonse to the

Aichi Biodiveristy 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 conservaton and enhancement of biodiversity in Scotland.  The two documents together comprise the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy.

Scotland's first Land Use Strategy was published  on 17 March 2011.

Further information about Scottish biodiversity is available on the Scottish Natural Heritage and Scottish Biodiversity Forum websites.  The Forum also produces a quarterly newsletter.


Northern Ireland

The 'Northern Ireland Biodiversity Strategy' (PDF, 1.6Mb) was published in August 2002.  In January 2014, the second State of the Environment report for Northern Ireland ('From Evidence to Opportunity') was published. Further information is available on the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) website.

The Biodiversity Unit in NIEA is responsible for implementing biodiversity conservation policies within Northern Ireland, supporting Local Biodiversity Officers, and working with Biodiversity Delivery Groups. 

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



The most recent Welsh Biodiversity Strategy, 'Environment Strategy for Wales', (PDF, 1.3Mb) was published in 2006, and explains how Wales will tackle the challenges it faces over the next 20 years. Further information is available on the Welsh Government website.

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


Updated 31 March 2014