Birds: Conservation

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 26th June 2018.

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Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Labour, Bristol East

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will add swifts to (a) Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and the (b) UK Biodiversity Action Plan list of priority species.

Photo of David Rutley David Rutley Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), Government Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

All wild birds, including swifts, are protected through the provisions of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which provides a powerful framework for the conservation of wild birds, their eggs, nests and habitats. There is no clear evidence that swift populations would benefit from the additional special penalties Schedule 1 birds are protected by, therefore the Government has no plans to add the swift to the Schedule at the current time.

Biodiversity is a devolved issue. The list of priority species in England is kept under review by Natural England and there are no plans to amend it to include the swift. The list consists of ‘species of principal conservation importance’ under the 2006 Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act; the UK Biodiversity Action Plan is no longer in place.

The priority species list is not the only means of informing action for species conservation in England. The swift has now been identified as an amber listed species in the UK Birds of Conservation Concern, which we would take into account in planning conservation action.

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