Birds: Conservation

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered at on 26 November 2021.

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Photo of Layla Moran Layla Moran Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (International Development), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to migratory birds, what steps are the Government taking (a) nationally and (b) internationally to mitigate species decline.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The UK is a globally important territory for migratory birds, and that is why we continue to take steps nationally and internationally to mitigate species decline. This is underpinned by our new target under the Environment Act 2021, to halt species decline by 2030.

In England, the Countryside Stewardship scheme can help to mitigate species decline, including migratory birds, through a range of options which provide food, habitat and nesting sites. Migratory birds which can be supported through the scheme include lapwing, stone curlew, turtle dove, whitethroat, redshank and snipe.

The Government's 25 Year Environment Plan commits us to restoring 75% of our one million hectares of terrestrial and freshwater protected sites to favourable condition by 2042. Many of these sites, which in total cover over 1 million hectares, protect the habitats of migratory birds even if not specifically notified for those species. Defra and the Devolved Administrations commissioned a review of the terrestrial and coastal UK network of Special Protection Areas, some of which are designated to protect the habitats of regularly-occurring migratory birds, and we have developed an England implementation plan in liaison with Natural England.

The Government continues to support specific conservation action for species, such as the curlew, and as part of the Nature Recovery Network (NRN), we have funded a trial translocation and recovery project in the east of England. We have also supported a range of successful reintroductions for migratory raptors including the white-tailed eagle to southern England.

Internationally, the UK is a signatory to, and proactively engaged with, a number of international agreements which seek to conserve and protect migratory birds and their habitats, in particular the Convention on Migratory Species, the African Eurasian Waterbird Agreement and the International Task Force on Illegal Killing, Taking and Trade of Migratory Birds in the Mediterranean. In addition to domestic financial support, the UK provides targeted funding to support the conservation of threatened migratory birds and their habitats in developing countries, in particular in Africa.

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