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Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 10th December 2009.

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Photo of Peter Ainsworth Peter Ainsworth Conservative, East Surrey

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of progress since February 2009 towards meeting the objectives set out in the EU's 2010 targets to halt biodiversity loss; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Huw Irranca-Davies Huw Irranca-Davies Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Marine and Natural Environment)

The European Commission and member states are currently compiling data to allow an assessment next year of progress against the targets in the EU Biodiversity Action Plan. We measure our progress towards the EU's 2010 target to halt biodiversity loss through the UK Biodiversity Indicators. This was reported in the National Statistics publication "Biodiversity Indicators in Your Pocket 2007", which was updated most recently in April 2009. Statistics for wild birds were updated in October 2009 and those for sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs) are updated monthly.

Overall, 23 (72 per cent.) of the 32 measures that comprise the UK Biodiversity Indicators are "improving" or show "little or no overall change" since the year 2000. In particular, 89 per cent. of SSSIs are in favourable or recovering condition, agri-environment schemes are leading to significant improvements, and we have made great strides with the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009.

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