In much of Sussex we can still enjoy a great richness of wildlife.
Wealden bluebell woods, thyme scented turf, butterfly speckled downland,
bird adorned urban gardens, winding river valleys and rural farmland.
Wild animals and plants surrounding us in our countryside and gardens
enhance our qualify of life and, together with the habitats and
communities they form, help us define what we mean by Sussex. This
is the biodiversity of Sussex, we so easily take this for granted
but action is required if it is to be maintained or enhanced.
The variety of life.
Biodiversity is all living things, from the tiny garden ant to the
giant redwood tree. You will find biodiversity everywhere, in window
boxes and wild woods, roadsides and rain forests, snow fields and
Biodiversity: The UK Steering Group Report 1995
includes all living things: the rich variety of species, habitats
and whole ecological systems that make up the living earth. We share
this small planet with an uncounted number of other organisms living
in an incredible variety of places - we need to protect and conserve
the widest variety of them for our sake as well as theirs. Biodiversity
is fundamentally important to our well-being and to our very existence:
is everywhere and affects all of us.
Biological activity maintains the Earth as an environment fit for
Wildlife is a key indicator of the health of our environment.
Biodiversity provides us with resources, food, clothes, homes, medicines
and a source of inspiration.
We have a duty to sustain our biodiversity so that we can leave
the next generation a fair share.
We have a moral and ethical responsibility to protect the wildlife
that we also have the power to destroy.
and enhancing biodiversity is now recognised as being a local, national
and global responsibility. The United Kingdom was one of 150 countries
that signed the Convention on Biological Diversity after the Rio
Earth Summit in 1992. This requires each country to produce a national
Biodiversity Action Plan to spell out how it intends to conserve
its living heritage and protect biological resources for the future.
a national plan has now been produced. This sets out targets for
the conservation, enhancement and expansion of our biodiversity.
However, this alone is not sufficient, we now need to develop local
targets and actions by means of a Sussex Biodiversity Action Plan.
conservation of biodiversity lies at the heart of sustainable development.
Sustainability means passing on to the next generation an environment
which is at least as good as the one we inherited. We all rely on
a healthy, functioning environment for basic needs and this is reflected
in the way that people demand a high quality environment, one that
has local character and gives us a sense of place. The key measure
of the quality of the local environment is the wildlife that it
is crucial to the success of these plans.This will require voluntary
continued co-operation between organisations and importantly the
farmers and private landowners whose land management will have a
marked impact on the future biodiversity of Sussex. It should, however,
be stressed that the mention of a specific site in any action plan
does not indicate that the site is accessible to the public, or
that it is safe to visit. BAPs are not intended to force land managers
into compulsory management arrangements but rather to encourage
positive action and direct relevant funding to enable as many objectives
as possible to be undertaken.
- the story so far
Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro, Britain signs the convention on
1993: Non-government organisations produce Biodiversity Challenge
1994: Biodiversity: UK Action Plan written and the Biodiversity
Steering Group established. Non-government organisations produce
Biodiversity Challenge 1
1995: Biodiversity: the UK Steering Group Report produced
1996: Government response to Steering Group report, welcoming
1996: Sussex Biodiversity Partnership set up
1998: Launch of Biodiversity Action Planning in Sussex and
the production of the "From Rio to Sussex action for biodiversity"
leaflet by the Sussex Biodiversity Partnership
Local Biodiversity Action Plan for Sussex
purpose of a local Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) is "to focus
resources to conserve and enhance biodiversity by means of local
partnerships, taking account of both national and local priorities"
(Guidance for Local Biodiversity Action Plans, 1997). Local BAPs
will be key documents in guiding the work of everyone involved in
nature conservation to ensure that national concerns are met but
at the same time reflecting local conditions and concerns. These
BAPs are a new approach to conservation but they build upon the
hard work of the past. Working together individuals and organisations
can create a common agenda and maximise resources.
six basic steps to developing a local BAP are to:
Establish a network of local partnerships.
2. Carry out an audit to assess what resources exist.
3. Agree objectives, decide who does what and how
4. Set targets to identify what we want to improve, restore or increase.
5. Implement these ideas and carry out these actions.
6. Monitor and review the work to establish the effectiveness of
the BAP in achieving local and national targets.
of Local Biodiversity Action Plans:
To ensure that national targets for species and habitats, as specified
in the UK Action Plan, are translated into effective action at the
2. To identify targets for species and habitats appropriate to the
local area, and reflecting the values of people locally.
3. To develop effective local partnerships to ensure that programmes
for biodiversity conservation are maintained in the long-term.
4. To raise awareness of the need for biodiversity conservation
in the local context.
5. To ensure opportunities for conservation and enhancement of the
whole biodiversity resource are fully considered and if possible
6. To provide a basis for monitoring progress in biodiversity conservation,
at both local and national level.
Source: Guidance For Local Biodiversity Action Plans:
An Introduction. Guidance Note 1 UK Local Issues Advisory Group,
Partnership Approach: The Sussex Biodiversity Partnership
action is the foundation of the biodiversity initiative. The Sussex
BAP is a common cause, dependent upon the commitment and energy
of all with an interest in, or a responsibility for, the natural
environment. From the establishment of the Biodiversity Convention
in Rio to the local Sussex level, a partnership approach between
sectors has been the driving force for biodiversity action.
development of a strong working partnership between the voluntary
sector, local authorities, statutory agencies, business sector,
landowners and land managers is essential for the successful implementation
of the action plans.
Sussex Biodiversity Partnership.
process began in 1996 with the establishment of the Sussex Biodiversity
Partnership. This has seen the formalising of existing working relationships
and setting of common agendas between organisations and individuals.
Current partnership members include English Nature, the Environment
Agency, West Sussex County Council, East Sussex County Council,
Sussex Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group, Sussex Wildlife Trust
and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. Appendix
2 provides more details on each of the members of the Partnership.
of the Partnership:
To encourage voluntary participation, particularly from landowners,
businesses, community groups and local authorities, whilst making
sure that all interested groups can get involved.
2. To promote BAPs for Sussex priority habitats and species and
to encourage conservation action.
3. To ensure that biodiversity is central to the thinking of decision
makers from Parish Councils to Westminster
4. To act as a focus for the biological recording activities necessary
to monitor changes in biodiversity.
5. To promote understanding of the links between people and their
6. To promote action towards a common agenda.
The Country Landowners Association, Brighton and Hove Council, National
Farmers' Union representatives and Sussex Enterprise are affiliated
to the Partnership. All of these bodies have been involved with
the development and production of the Sussex Biodiversity initiative
and Action Plan. A wider partnership is also being developed and
promoted through the "From Rio to Sussex" launch held
in June 1997, contact with local naturalists, information dissemination
on a sectoral basis by the partnership members and the Biodiversity
Partnership has built up a 'sector-based' network to involve as
many individuals and organisations as possible in the biodiversity
initiative. The sector approach involves each of the Partnership
members acting as the key contact for a different sector. For example,
each County Council provides feedback to its District Councils and
the Sussex Wildlife Trust act as the link with the voluntary sector
including local naturalists.
is the Sussex Biodiversity Action Plan?
purpose of this document is to set out proposed biodiversity action
plans for the main habitats and species in Sussex. The structure
of each section is broadly the same. First comes a discussion on
the current extent of the particular habitat or species, the problems
it faces and the potential for positive change. Then, broad overall
objectives for the long term followed by more specific short term
targets which start to add detail on what may be achieved by when.
of the Sussex Biodiversity Action Plan
The overall aim of the Sussex BAP is to conserve and enhance the
biological diversity of Sussex and contribute to the conservation
and enhancement of both national and international biodiversity.
To maintain, and where practicable enhance, the wildlife and habitats
that give Sussex its character and natural diversity.
2. To identify priority habitats and species which are important
to us in Sussex and/or where we have a special responsibility to
care for something which is important on a national or international
3. To set realistic, but ambitious, targets and timescales for priority
habitats and species and to monitor progress of action plans against
4. To ensure that biodiversity action continues as a joint initiative,
evolving a dynamic framework for nature conservation.
5. To raise public awareness and encourage involvement in biodiversity
Rationale: the Sussex Biodiversity Action Plan process
The Partnership decided that rather than produce a single complete
plan for Sussex, a more structured approach would be desirable.
By initially taking a habitat approach and then a species approach,
it was felt there was likely to be more commitment and a wider interest.
In addition, it was agreed that a phased approach to the production
of plans would be adopted which would allow the production process
to operate more efficiently and quickly.
approach will ensure the conservation of over 90% of the species.
Species action plans will be produced where appropriate or necessary
for the remaining species (the approach
taken for species is outlined below). Each Habitat Action Plan
(HAP) and Species Action Plan (SAP) will stand as a document in
their own right within the context of the full Sussex biodiversity
Action Plan. This flexibility allows for individuals/organisations
to have plans only for their particular interest (habitat or species).
Steps in Producing Action Plans
Step 1 Review of species and habitats
Audit potential for re-introduction or re-creation
Determine further data requirements
Step 2 Evaluate and prioritise
Step 3 Set local targets
Guidance for Local Biodiversity Action Plans, Evaluating priorities
and setting targets for habitats and species,
Guidance Note 4, UK Local Issues Advisory Group, 1997)
Sussex BAP process:
targets and priorities
Setting habitat priorities/targets
Setting a Common Agenda
Setting species priorities/targets
diversity action plan
into the LBAP Process
Mechanisms to deliver BAP Targets
with other initiatives:
Local Environment Agency Plans
Environmentally Sensitive Areas
Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre
Structure & Local Plans etc.
Links with other initiatives
BAP process is not happening in isolation. There are several independent
initiatives/frameworks developing in parallel which also influence
nature conservation. Such initiatives include English Nature's Natural
Areas framework, Environment Agency Local Environment Agency Plans
(LEAPs), countryside management projects, agri-environment schemes
(Environmentally Sensitive Areas, Countryside Stewardship Scheme
etc.), urban nature conservation schemes and Local Agenda 21 groups.
Vision for the Wildlife of Sussex
In early 1996 the Sussex Wildlife Trust produced its "Vision
for the Wildlife of Sussex" a primary aim of which was to develop
a positive environmental agenda for the next 50 years. This is,
in effect, a fore-runner of a Sussex Biodiversity Action Plan; it
outlines the main environmental resources of the county - its key
habitats - and then discusses ambitious, but realistic, targets
for the future with some of the actions which may be required to
achieve them. It is a key document and one of the few published
works which sets out detailed conservation targets which are relevant
to Sussex. It underwent extensive consultation, and received widespread
support, but ultimately remains the vision of the Sussex Wildlife
Trust. The objective of the Sussex Biodiversity Partnership is to
produce action plans shared by all key partners.
Globally - Act Locally" is the saying now often used to stimulate
thought about our activities and how they affect the next generation.
The Earth Summit in Rio (1992) committed governments across the
globe to enable a more sustainable approach to our way of life.
Biodiversity action planning is part of that global goal, but equally
the success of biodiversity is a measure of effective sustainable
action for biodiversity is important as the local action for sustainable
living. Involvement in maintaining and enhancing biodiversity directly
can begin in the window box or on the local common. Indirect action
such as saving water or home compost bins save the use of precious
resources upon which all life depends. A decrease in water demands
may be heralded by an increase in dragonflies, less waste might
mean an ancient woodland saved from landfill. Connecting our every
day actions and demands on the environment and modifying them for
a more sustainable process is integral to Local Agenda 21 and has
a direct benefit on biodiversity.
Biodiversity Action Planning and Local Agenda 21:
'indicators' for Local Agenda 21 - the numbers of particular species,
the extent of a particular habitat, the amount of land managed with
conservation in mind, the amount of locally produced charcoal used
- the 'amount' of biodiversity indicates the extent to which we
are living in harmony with our environment.
Monitoring the local action plan will in itself provide a measure
of success and ideas for future action - the local plan may have
as a target a doubling of the habitat by the year 2005 - how much
has been achieved after two years? Will the target be reached? What
mechanisms have been used? Will they have to change?
How many partners are signed up to the plan? How many could achieve
action towards the targets?
Is there information readily available to the public and schools
about what is happening?
Has the membership of conservation organisations increased?
The success of Sussex Biodiversity Action Planning depends on agreeing
a common agenda and then working together to achieve the targets.
Communication is vital - shared information is the foundation and
joint action the key to implementation.
Natural Areas framework
Nature, as the Government's statutory advisor on nature conservation
in England, has a key role to play in delivering and stimulating
action under the Biodiversity Convention. The development of the
Natural Areas concept is an important part of that role. Natural
Areas are intended to provide a framework for an integrated approach
to nature conservation in England.
Areas are defined as "biogeographic zones which reflect the
geological foundation, the natural systems and processes and the
wildlife in different parts of England, and provide a framework
for setting objectives for nature conservation". They encapsulate
a unique combination of natural features, land-use and issues. They
are characterised by physical factors such as geology, soils and
topography which influence the vegetation, landscape features and
patterns of rural land use.
permit the identification of those habitats and species which are
important nationally, and also those which are distinctive locally.
The Natural Areas concept therefore provides a mechanism to translate
national targets for habitats and species into targets set at a
Areas will be a key mechanism for identifying the role of English
Nature at a local level, determining its contribution towards individual
habitat and species action plans. Natural Areas will also be used
to help identify local priorities for action plans and BAP will
in turn contribute to the delivery of English Nature's Natural Area
to Appendix 4: Natural Areas in Sussex.
Authorities: Statutory development plans and the planning process
planning authorities have a key role in conserving the wildlife
of the UK through the statutory planning process. Development plans
are required to take full account of nature conservation according
to national law and planning guidance. In addition, international
responsibilities need to be adhered to.
Policy Guidance Note 1 (PPG1) - General Policy and Principles, amongst
other matters, reaffirms the role of the planning system in protecting
the natural and built environment. In addition, PPG 1 emphasises
the contribution of the planning system to achieving sustainable
guidance suggests that a sustainable planning framework should:
Provide for the nation's needs for commercial and industrial development,
food production, minerals extraction, new homes and other buildings,while
respecting environmental objectives;
2. Use already developed areas in the most efficient way, while
making them more attractive places in which to live and work;
3. Conserve both the cultural heritage and natural resources (including
wildlife, landscape, water, soil and air quality) taking particular
care to safeguard designations of national and international importance;
4. Shape new development patterns in a way which minimises the need
This guidance is further supported through Planning Policy Guidance
Note 9 - Nature Conservation and Planning (PPG9) which:
Sets out the Government's objectives for nature conservation and
the framework for safeguarding our natural heritage under domestic
and international law;
2. Describes the key role of local planning authorities and English
3. Emphasises the importance of both designated sites and un-designated
areas for nature conservation;
4. Advises on the treatment of nature conservation issues in development
5. States the development control criteria, particularly for Sites
of Special Scientific Interest and sites with national and international
6. Contributes to the implementation of the EC Directive on the
conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (the
7. Elaborates on minerals development and nature conservation and
on the development control implications of species protection.
Planning authorities are thus in a strong position to both ensure
that biodiversity issues are covered in both the policy making and
development control stages of the process. In addition there is
often scope for voluntary projects relating to nature conservation
beyond the statutory planning framework.
addition, local authorities are also empowered to influence nature
conservation and biodiversity in other ways. Under the Countryside
Act 1968, local authorities "in the exercise of their functions
relating to land under any enactment every... public body shall
have regard to the desirability of conserving natural beauty and
amenity of the countryside." This can be achieved in a variety
of ways, from the formal declaration of Local Nature Reserves, to
the day to day management of land such as road verges. In addition,
under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended), local
authorities are encouraged to bring the provisions of that act to
the attention of the public and school children.
local authorities also support action on the ground for biodiversity
either directly, through the action of a countryside management
service or similar, and/or through advice on such matters and/or
through the provision of grant aid towards such activities undertaken
by other bodies or landowners and managers.
part of the Biodiversity Action Planning Process, the local authorities
have also formed their own networks to achieve communication and
maximise limited resources. In West Sussex, for example, following
the establishment of the Sussex Biodiversity Partnership, the West
Sussex local authorities and the three AONB organisations formed
an Officer Group to ensure that the communications network functions
effectively. The first meeting was held in October 1996 and since
then has met roughly every six months. The local authorities are
represented by officers from the Planning and Recreation departments
authorities and the AONB organisations have a key role to play in
the Biodiversity Action Planning Process
policy function can help set the framework for Biodiversity Action
with Environmental Capital
The implementation function can help achieve action on the ground;
The LA21 process can ensure there is wide participation and ownership
of the actions.
Partnership working to a common and shared agenda should ensure
time and money resources best spent and natural resources enhanced.
some time it has been recognised that, to achieve nature conservation,
it is important not only to focus on the special sites - those protected
in some way by designation - but to also consider the maintenance,
management and enhancement of the rest. PPG9 makes reference to
the value of boundary features and links. Whilst habitats can be
identified through various criteria and mapped with distinct boundaries,
the species associated with them often depend on areas outside those
boundaries. English Nature's approach to Natural Areas helps re-emphasise
the fact that nature is no respecter of artificial boundaries.
recognition that nature conservation/biodiversity efforts need to
extend beyond the protected sites is also reinforced by the concept
of Environmental Capital. The concept has been in existence for
some time, but new thinking is now developing to take its meaning
beyond the original concepts.
Capital: Relates to irreplaceable assets. For example, ancient
woodland, where destruction or damage to the woodland would reduce
its nature conservation value and would be impossible to replace.
Constant Capital: Relates to maintaining a pool of resources,
the total of which should not be reduced
The criteria relating to Environmental Capital now being considered
include attributes such as rarity and typicalness, representativeness,
distinctiveness, quality, historical continuity and ownership. These
additional attributes give a much more holistic value to the biodiversity
resource. The more holistic approach of assessing environmental
capital should help a greater number of people relate to and understand
the wider importance of our biodiversity resource and appreciate
that we can all do something positive towards its maintenance and
Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre (BRC)
existence of good information on the species and habitats of Sussex
is a fundamental need to the setting of biodiversity targets and
the monitoring of progress towards them. Servicing this requirement
is one of the key aims of the Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre.
The BRC is developing as a network of information with connections
between many of the major conservation organisations in the County
- the County Councils, English Nature, The Booth Museum and the
Sussex Wildlife Trust. Consequently this is a true partnership project,
although the lead agency at present is the Sussex Wildlife Trust.
The aim is to use modem technology, firstly to provide a directory
of all the information that is available, whatever the location,
and then to provide access (with reasonable precautions regarding
sensitivity) to key data sets. This work will also become part of
a wider network, the National Biodiversity Network, which will enable
Sussex to contribute to national data sets, and conversely to benefit
from the ability to make use of data from further afield. Good information
is vital to Biodiversity Action Planning, so the progress of the
BRC is intricately linked to the success of the Sussex Plan.
Sussex, farmers and land managers may voluntarily enter one or certain
combinations of three different agri-environment schemes. These
are the Countryside Stewardship (CS) Scheme, the Environmentally
Sensitive Area (ESA) Scheme, and the Organic Aid Scheme - all are
run by MAFF. They (and others available only in other parts of the
country), were introduced under European Agri-environment Regulation
2078/92 in the MacSharry Reform of the CAP in 1992. Farmers are
offered a menu of incentive payments for environmental protection,
the de-intensification of production, and the management, enhancement
and creation of wildlife habitats. All of these schemes already
encourage action to boost biodiversity in Sussex.
Stewardship (CS) Scheme
Originally introduced by the Countryside Commission, this discretionary
scheme makes annual and capital payments available to farmers and
land managers to enhance and improve the natural beauty and diversity
of the countryside. In Sussex there are a number of targeted areas
where the environmental improvements are regarded as most beneficial
and so the acceptance of applications in these areas are given priority.
year management agreement is drawn up by the farmers to manage a
part or all of the land in a more traditional and extensive manner
to maintain, diversify or create habitats, and benefit the species
associated with them. Examples include many priority Sussex habitats
- old meadows and pasture, grasslands and arable reversion by grass
to water, creation of grass margins around arable, reedbeds, heathland,
coastal areas and historic features such as old orchards, parklands
and water meadows. In addition a number of capital projects such
as hedge restoration/planting and pond and ditch restoration/creation
may be included. All applications are scored by MAFF using fixed
criteria which include proposed action for Sussex BAP species and
habitats and the strongest applications are converted into agreements.
Payments are available to aid conversion of land to organic production.
Entry into the scheme is voluntary and is open to any farmer or
grower in Sussex (and indeed England) and is fully compatible with
entering into a CS scheme or ESA agreement. The Organic Aid Scheme
usually operates for five years but may run to nine years depending
on the time taken for conversion. Payments decline over the period
of the scheme in line with increasing production and are designed
to encourage organic conversion by compensating for income foregone
in the early years. This is to allow conventional fertilisers and
pesticides to disappear from the soil before the land qualifies
for organic production under the standards set by the UK Register
of Organic Food Standards (UKROFS). Recent research has shown that
the diversity of birds and invertebrates, and the plants that they
depend on, is generally greater on organic farms compared with typical
(as opposed to sensitively managed) conventional farms.
Sensitive Area (ESA) Scheme
Similar in principle to the Countryside Stewardship Scheme, the
Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) Scheme operates in Sussex on
only one designated area - the 'Sussex Downs' chalk downland and
associated river valleys (which is excluded from the area covered
by the CS Scheme). It differs from the CS Scheme in that although
management agreements operate for 10 years, there is an opt out
available after 5 years. Also payments are not discretionary but
available to any farmer or land manager applying to enter land into
the scheme that is likely to meet the scheme objectives.
payments are available for traditional management or species-rich
downland turf and other permanent grassland, for the reversion of
arable land to chalk downland or permanent grassland and for establishing
'conservation headlands' (to encourage rare arable weeds, invertebrates
and farmland birds). Recently introduced options include under sowing
of cereals with grass and retention of arable crop stubble through
the winter. Like the CS Scheme, a similar range of capital projects
may also be included.
There are a number of private sector marketing schemes such as supermarket
protocols and farm assurance schemes which embrace positive management
for biodiversity on farmland. Designed principally to aid the marketing
of agricultural products, they promote consumer confidence through
for example, traceability, quality assurance and farming methods
which have a low or positive environmental impact. There are also
a number of advisory organisations helping farmers deliver action
for biodiversity. For example:
Main Advisory Service Offered
FWAG (Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group) Whole Farm Landwise
reports and plans tailored to individual farms, Farm BAPs
LEAF (Linking Environment & Farming) Whole Farm Environmental
Game Conservancy Trust Whole Farm Advice on management for game
and other organisations also promote and advise on Integrated Crop
Management (ICM) which combines the best of traditional production
methods with the very latest technological developments and applies
them to the farm business. This is achieved through a management
plan for wildlife and landscape enhancement and by reducing reliance
on inputs such as fertiliser and the use of fossil fuels.
Weald Land Management Initiative
Enhancement Scheme (WES)
This is one of a family of new pilot schemes in lowland England
embracing all aspects of the rural economy including agriculture,
forestry and wildlife which is currently being designed for the
future. This new integrated approach builds on the successes of
the existing agri-environment schemes, and aims to help not only
farmers and private landowners within the High Weald AONB, but all
those involved in land-based industries to improve the marginal
viability of their rural businesses. There are a number of components
to the Initiative in addition to environmental help (such as adding
value to products derived from the countryside). Components that
are designed to encompass and secure the future maintenance and
enhancement of the high quality landscape and biodiversity which
are so dependent on a long-term continuity of sympathetic management.
Funding for implementation has yet to be identified but it is likely
to be from a combination of national and European sources.
enhancement is a voluntary scheme for Sites of Special Scientific
Interest (SSSIs) which combines English Nature's knowledge of wildlife
management with the landowner/manager's knowledge of agricultural
management. Wildlife Enhancement offers funding to facilitate farming
in a wildlife-friendly way. WES is strictly speaking not an agri-environment
scheme as it is only targeted at managing SSSIs. There are two sorts
of payment, one based on the cost of managing the land, the other
is for capital works which improve the land for wildlife. For further
information contact the local English Nature office.
Environment Agency Plans (LEAPs)
holistic approach to environmental management is required to plan
for sustainability and improvement. LEAPs allow the full range of
management issues to be identified and considered within a geographical
area which is both relevant and meaningful. They are strategic in
nature, since individual LEAPs cover large areas of land, often
straddling local authority boundaries.
are a key mechanism for identifying the actions the Agency needs
to take at a local level to deliver its contribution towards individual
species and habitat action plans. The LEAP planning process should
be used to identify:
species and habitats for which national biodiversity action plans
have been prepared that occur within the LEAP area;
those actions identified in the national plan that are relevant
to the LEAP area;
options for the Agency to deliver the relevant actions;
objectives for the delivery of the actions.
lack of space in the actual LEAP documents will probably prevent
a detailed description of the relevant issues, they will indicate
which species/habitats occur and relevant actions that the Agency
is going to undertake. The underlying detail will be held in a format
available for external interests to use, for example in the preparation
of county biodiversity action plans.
are seen as the key mechanism for prioritising actions arising from
biodiversity action plans against other demands on the Agency functional
action on the ground
Sussex Biodiversity Action Plan will facilitate the translation
of national action plans, fine tuned by local priorities, into action
on the ground. The partnership approach will help to build a common
agenda and consensus on biodiversity targets for Sussex and then
address how best to use the limited resources available to progress
key outcome of the BAP process is therefore to stimulate action
on the ground to achieve this progress. Consequently, each BAP will
outline the actions needed and what is required in order to achieve
is already happening in Sussex. Many of the actions recommended
to achieve BAP targets may already be taking place. The effect of
the BAP will therefore be to focus actions to produce deliverable
results. There will also be cases where the mechanisms are available
but are perhaps not being best used to achieve biodiversity targets.
In such cases the BAP will highlight the most valuable way in which
those mechanisms can be applied.
there will be instances where a BAP target cannot be achieved because
the ability to deliver the necessary action is not there (for example
where the action would be uneconomic and there are no resources
currently available to overcome this). In this case, the BAP will
expose shortfalls in our current system and can be used to lobby
for change in order to achieve our obligations under the Convention
Habitat Action Plan Programme
for selecting habitats
aim was to identify the characteristic habitats - or the 'biodiversity'
of Sussex - which fitted in with nationally set priorities. To select
habitats which should have action plans, the national habitat list
(Broad Habitats and Key Habitats) and a list of habitats which occur
in Sussex were used for guidance. In addition, habitats not on the
national list, but of particular significance in the Sussex context
(e.g. road verges and minerals sites) were identified. Existing
initiatives such as Natural Areas, LEAPs and the "Vision"
were used to help identify such locally significant habitats. As
a result of this process the following criteria were established:
Identified in national plan
2. Existence of a costed national habitat action plan
3. A national habitat statement
4. High significance in a Sussex context
5. Existing partnership working on the habitat type
6. Existing mechanisms to achieve actions
7. Identified National and Sussex lead agency
of a habitat programme
the establishment of the criteria for selecting habitats, the next
step was to produce a programme which would outline the production
of Habitat Action Plans. The full Sussex Habitat Action Plan Programme
is in Appendix 5. (Sussex HAP Programme list .pdf
were established in order to create a phased approach. The priorities
have been set on the basis of need and where an existing partnership/group
is in place to facilitate consultation and liaison over the plan.
The timetable for the production of all Habitat Action Plans was
set for three years, aiming at completion in 2000.
l: 1997 - 1998
Priority 2: 1998 - 1999
Priority 3: 1999 - 2000
first tranche (Priority 1) of habitat action plans are for:- reedbeds,
lowland heathland, ancient and/or species-rich hedgerows, saline
lagoons, lowland wood pastures and parkland, lowland hay meadows,
lowland dry acid grassland, and lowland calcareous grassland.
Sussex habitat is allocated a Sussex Lead Agency. The role of the
lead is to ensure that the plan is written, but not necessarily
to write it. This function also involves developing contact with
existing pan-Sussex, or more local, groups or partnerships dealing
with the habitat or to establish new partnerships as appropriate.
process of drafting an action plan:
Identify lead agency
for producing Habitat Action Plans
2. Establish partnership (Habitat Consultation Group)
3. Agree broad objectives
4. Review the resource
5. Evaluate the existing resource within the national and local
6. Develop specific targets and proposals for action
7. Define areas for action on a proposals map
8. Identify delivery mechanisms and sources of finance and advice
9. Establish a long term monitoring programme to measure the effectiveness
of the plan in achieving national and local targets
Consultation is a vital part of the action plan production process.
In the first instance, the Habitat Consultation Group is consulted.
Wider consultation is then undertaken through the Network of the
Partnership. A final version is then produced and those organisations
identified for specific actions invited to work together to implement
the plan. For local authorities and indeed other organisations,
this may result in the production of a Biodiversity Action Plan
for that particular organisation.
aid the Sussex Lead Agencies and to ensure consistency of plans
the Partnership has produced Sussex Habitat Action Plan Guidelines.
These are based on the advice set out in the "Guidance for
Local Biodiversity Action Plans"produced by the UK Local Issues
Advisory Group and tailored for the Sussex context. The full Sussex
Habitat Action Plan Guidelines can be found in Appendix
Habitat Action Plans are to include a list of key species (short
and middle lists species relevant to Sussex) associated with the
habitat. These lists were established through merging the Sussex
Wildlife Trust database of Species of Conservation Concern in Sussex
with English Nature's database of Key Species with associated Key
Habitats1. This provides the link between habitat conservation and
Species Action Plan Programme
for selecting species for action plans
species for action plans has proven to be a more difficult exercise
as there are over 1000 on the national list of threatened or declining
species. Compiling an action plan and proposing deliverable action
would be unwieldy unless such plans focused on a very small number
of species. Proposing actions for one highly localised plant or
animal may have small benefit in terms of overall environmental
much of the action required for species will be intimately linked
to a relevant Habitat Action Plan (HAP). Indeed many species action
plans have already been compiled, at a national level, and these
will now be used to inform the Sussex HAPs. Nevertheless, a few
species will remain which will not be adequately covered in a HAP
- perhaps they have a particular specific problem/requirement, or
perhaps they are too wide-ranging to be catered for in a habitat
based approach. Appendix 7 lists the species of conservation concern
relevant to Sussex ( the Key List species). (Appendix 7 .pdf
consultation at the Sussex Biological Recorders Seminar in February
1998, some general guidance by the Sussex Wildlife Trust, and the
advice given in "Guidance for local BAPs", the Partnership
has devised the following criteria (some positive; some negative)
for selecting species:
In national decline
2. In decline in Sussex
3. Has a stronghold in Sussex
4. Existing national action plan
5. Not covered by a local Habitat Action Plan
6. Action already underway (existing schemes/initiatives)
7. Very specific requirements
8. An indicator of wider environmental benefit
9. Popular appeal
10. Ease of monitoring
The initial short-list of species selected for local species action
plans includes emotive species to capture public interest, for example,
barn owls. It also includes the most endangered species which need
urgent action. The matrix in Appendix
8 sets out the species selected for local Species Action Plans
along with the criteria.
for producing Species Action Plans
aid the Sussex Lead Agencies and to ensure consistency of plans
the Partnership has produced Sussex Species Action Plan Guidelines.
These are based on the advice set out in the "Guidance for
Local Biodiversity Action Plans"produced by the UK Local Issues
Advisory Group and tailored for the Sussex context. The full Sussex
Species Action Plan Guidelines can be found in Appendix
Example: The Water Vole
Water Vole is found throughout Britain but is confined mainly to
lowland areas near water. The species was once common and widespread,
but has suffered a significant decline in both numbers and distribution.
It has been chosen as a species which will have its own Species
Action Plan in Sussex. It was selected against the above criteria
on account of the following:-
Water Vole is typical of slow flowing watercourses such as ditches,
rivers, stream, but also frequents ponds and lakes. They generally
require lush riparian vegetation and stable water levels As such,
it does not fit neatly within one single Habitat Action Plan and
justifies its own Species Action Plan.
a national context, the Water Vole continues to decline significantly.
Recent surveys have suggested that by the year 2000 around 94% of
sites which were previously inhabited, will show no signs of activity.
Such is the concern, the Water Vole has been added to the list of
protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981).
Sussex, the situation is typical of the national picture, with particularly
rapid decline in numbers. Indeed, the Water Vole appears to be on
the verge of extinction in Sussex. The decline has been due to a
number of factors, particularly the loss and fragmentation of suitable
habitat. However, predation by Mink has also had a significant effect
in reducing numbers. This factor is unlikely to be addressed by
any of the HAPs and must therefore be considered a specific requirement
of the action plan for the species alone.
Voles are listed on the Biodiversity priority list in the UK Steering
Group Report and has a national action plan already prepared. It
is crucial that in the preparation of a local SAP, it fits within
any existing national plans.
general public have a genuine affection for the Water Vole, arousing
memories of 'Ratty' in the famous children's book "Wind in
the Willows": They are often active during the day and can
sometimes be watched at close quarters as they feed or swim. In
addition to being able to be spotted during the day, they also leave
tell-tale signs of their presence. Such things as nibbled 'lawns'
of short grass outside their bankside burrows and their easily identifiable
droppings left on prominent sites along the river bank allow surveyors
to quickly establish their presence at a particular site. This is
important if we are to be able to report accurately on the species'
progress in the future.
the Water Vole is generally indicative of wider environmental health.
They indicate that the water quality and general habitat is in good
condition and as such could be used to indicate the broad success
(or failure) of various habitat action plans
production of a Sussex Biodiversity Action Plan is not an end in
itself, all plans will have targets and success will require a separate
procedure to monitor and review progress against these targets.
Sussex Biodiversity Partnership will continue to oversee the production
of the Sussex BAP and will act as a focus for reporting on progress
against targets. Preparation of each Habitat Action Plan and Species
Action Plan will have been the responsibility of a particular local
lead organisation. The lead organisation in each case will take
on responsibility for reporting on its progress. (Refer to Appendix
3: Diagram of Partnership working and Appendix 5: The Sussex Habitat
Action Plan Programme).
element of this process will be the need for the Sussex Partnership
to feed information back into other systems. This could include
reports made to County Councils, the Environment Agency and Regional
Government for 'State of the Environment' reporting, and reports
to the England Country Group (the national co-ordinating body).
through English Nature's Natural Area framework will also provide
a local to national feedback mechanism. National targets for habitats
and species are divided up locally on a natural area basis. These
'Natural Area level' biodiversity targets will then go to compile
a national or Sussex picture by Natural Area.
progress of Biodiversity Action Planning will need monitoring at
several levels. These could include the uptake of schemes which
aim to achieve BAP targets (for example, the implementation of an
agricultural incentive scheme) the monitoring of the emergence of
schemes where none existed before, monitoring the extent and quality
of a habitat (for a Habitat Action Plan) as the result of actions
taken, or monitoring the range and size of species populations.
success or failure of a BAP will ultimately be tested against its
real effects on biodiversity. For example, did a Habitat or Species
Action Plan actually result in the delivery of the expansion and
enhancement of habitat or species. Thus the ability to test the
progress of the BAP is intimately linked to the efficient functioning
of the Biodiversity Record Centre.
the information on the progress of the action plans against their
targets, it will be valuable to review those targets and proposed
actions from time to time. For example, the "Guidance for producing
Habitat Action Plans" drawn up by the Sussex Biodiversity Partnership,
recommends a review five years on from the launch date of a particular
may be that experience will show that particular targets were either
too low or high. It is more likely, however, that the available
mechanisms or actions will change and that these may need to be
re-evaluated so that a BAP remains relevant to the context of the
Sussex Biodiversity Action Plan is intended as a dynamic working
document that is constantly developing. Hence, review will also
need to link to changes in both national and international policy.
For example, changes to the Annex I Habitats or Annex II Species
listed in the EU Habitats Directive or changes to national priorities
set out in the Biodiversity: UK Steering Group Report 1995. With
time, changes in environmental concerns may also change priorities.
An example of this is the effects of global climate change on the
range of habitats and species.
The UK Action Plan. (1994) HMSO
The UK Steering Group Report. (1995) HMSO
Response to the UK Steering Group Report on Biodiversity (1996)
Development: The UK Strategy. (1994) HMSO
Rio to Sussex Action for biodiversity. (1997) Sussex Biodiversity
Area Profiles. (1998) English Nature
in Practice. (1994) English Nature
for the Wildlife of Sussex. (1996) Sussex Wildlife Trust
for Local Biodiversity Action Plans, Guidance Notes 1 to 5. (1997)
UK Local Issues Advisory Group. HMSO
for Habitat Conservation in England. EN Research Report No. 97.
(1994) English Nature
Rare Species Inventory (held by the Sussex Wildlife Trust)
Biodiversity Action Plan
Glossary (Relates to Habitats in
CLA Country Land and BusinessAssociation
CMP(s) Countryside Management Projects
CS Countryside Stewardship
EA Environment Agency
EH English Heritage
EN English Nature
ESA Environmentally Sensitive Area
EU European Union
FA Forestry Authority
FE Forest Enterprise
FRCA Farming and Rural Conservation Agency
FWAG Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group
GOSE Government Office for the South East
ITE Institute of Terrestrial Ecology
LA(s) Local Authorities
LA21 Local Agenda 21
LEAP Local Environment Agency Plan
LNR Local Nature Reserve
MAFF Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food (now Defra)
NFU National Farmers' Union
NNR National Nature Reserve
NT National Trust
PPG Planning Policy Guidance
RDB Red Data Book
RES Reserves Enhancement Scheme
RSPB Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
SAC Special Area of Conservation (cSAC denotes candidate)
SNCI Site of Nature Conservation Importance
SPA Special Protection Area (pSPA denotes potential)
SSSI Site of Special Scientific Interest
WES Wildlife Enhancement Scheme
WGS Woodland Grant Scheme
WIG Woodland Improvement Grant
WT Woodland Trust
(CAPITALS = National Broad Habitat; Lower case = Sussex Habitat)
CARR, MARSH, SWAMP AND REEDBED
Reedbeds - wetlands dominated by stands of the common reed Phragmites
australis, where the water table is at or above ground level for
most of the year. They tend to incorporate areas of open water and
ditches, and small areas of wet grassland and carr woodland may
be associated with them.
Coastal and flood plain grazing marsh - periodically inundated pasture,
or meadow with ditches which maintain the water levels, containing
standing brackish or fresh water. The ditches are especially rich
in plants and invertebrates. Almost all areas are grazed and some
are cut for hay or silage. Sites may contain seasonal water-filled
hollows and permanent ponds with emergent swamp communities, but
not extensive areas of tall fen species like reeds, although they
may abut with fen and reed.
Improved grassland - are species poor grass dominated swards, often
sown for agricultural or recreational use, or created by modification
of unimproved grasslands by fertilisers and selective herbicides.
They are particularly characterised by the abundance of rye grass
Lolium spp. and white clover Trifolium repens. Sometimes such grasslands
are temporary and sown as part of the rotation of arable crops.
Where not managed as pasture, improved grasslands are often mown
regularly either for silage production or in non-agricultural contexts
for recreational and amenity purposes.
Arable - regularly cultivated ground.
field margins - strips of land lying between cereal crops and the
field boundary, and extending for a limited distance into the crop,
which are deliberately managed to create conditions which benefit
key farmland species.
Lowland heathland - is characterised by the presence of plants such
as heather, dwarf gorse, and cross leaved heath and is generally
found below 300 metres in altitude. Areas of good quality heathland
should consist of an ericaceous layer of varying heights and structures,
some areas of scattered trees and scrub, areas of bare ground, gorse,
wet heaths, bogs and open water. Habitat quality is indicated by
the presence and numbers of characteristic heathland species.
Ancient and/or species rich hedgerows - ancient hedgerows are those
which tend to support the greatest diversity of plants and animals,
and in existence before the Enclosure acts, passed mainly between
1720 and 1840 in Britain. Species rich hedgerows are those which
contain five or more native woody species on average in a 30 metre
length. Hedges which contain fewer woody species but a rich basal
flora of herbaceous plants should be included (precise criteria
need to be established). Many of the thin straight hawthorn hedges
which characterise later parliamentary enclosures, as well as most
hedges which consist mainly of beech, privet or yew or non-native
trees, are excluded. Recently planted native species rich hedges
Saline Lagoons - saline water bodies either natural or artificial,
partially separated from the adjacent sea. They retain a proportion
of their sea water at low tide and may develop as brackish, full
saline or hyper-saline water bodies.
AND ENCLOSED BAYS
Seagrass beds - develop in intertidal and shallow sub-tidal areas
on sands and muds. They may be found in marine inlets and bays but
also in other areas, such as lagoons and channels, which are sheltered
from significant wave action.
Ancient semi-natural woodlands, ancient plantations, recent semi-natural
woodland and recent plantations, according to their origins. The
plantations and recent plantations, according to their origins.
The plantations and much recent woodland tend to have a high forest
structure. That of ancient semi-natural woodland is more varied
depending on its past treatment includes high forest, coppice, wood
pasture and parkland (wood pasture and parkland are defined below).
In the Sussex context, these woodlands can be further sub-divided
into the following sub types: wet woodland, hanger woodlands, hazel
coppice, gill woodlands and sand-rocks, yew woodland, lime woodland,
lowland oak woodland, shaws. Precise definitions are not yet readily
WOOD PASTURES AND PARKLAND
Working lowland wood pastures and parks are those where grazing
is still practised at a level that sustains the special features
associated with open ground. Relict wood pastures and parkland existing
either in an un-managed state or as scattered trees with arable
or improved pasture around them. In the Sussex context lowland wood
pastures and Parkland will be treated separately.
Woods composed wholly or mainly of conifer species, both native and
introduced. Commercial woodlands, in the Sussex context. Planted Coniferous
Woodland and Commercial Woodland will be treated separately.
Unimproved Neutral grassland - managed mainly as traditional hay
meadows or pastures and are colourful because they contain a high
proportion of broad-leaved herbaceous species relative to grasses.
Some characteristic species such as green winged orchid Orchis morio
and adder's tongue fern Ophioglossum vulgatum are now scarce.
Acid grassland - occurs on acid rocks such as sandstone, and on
superficial deposits such as sands and gravel. Although the habitat
is typically species poor, a wide range of communities occur in
Calcarious grassland - developed on shallow lime rich soils most
often derived from chalk. They contain an exceptional variety of
plants, but are particularly characterised by a series of widespread
grasslands plants which are mainly restricted to lime rich soils.
Species include upright brome Bromus erectus and common rock rose
Helianthemum rummularium. Scrub is a dominant feature of many sites.
Certain types of calcarious scrub such as Juniper communis have
a high intrinsic conservation value and are rare.
Include natural systems such as lakes and pools, as well as man-made
waters such as reservoirs and ponds. The open water zone lies beyond
the limits of swamp vegetation, but may contain submerged, free
floating or floating leaved vegetation. In the Sussex context, this
open water category can be further sub-divided into the following
sub types - Village ponds, dew ponds, hammer ponds, farm ponds,
lakes (other than hammer ponds), precise definitions not yet available.
Canals - man-made linear waterways.
Rivers and streams - semi-natural free flowing water ways. In the
Sussex context, this open water category can be further sub-divided
into the following sub type - Winterbourne streams, precise definition
not yet available.
CLIFF AND SLOPE
Maritime cliff and slope - sea cliffs are formed at the junction
between the land and the sea where a break in slope is formed by
slippage and/or erosion by the sea.
ABOVE HIGH TIDE MARK
Shingle above high tide mark - shingle is applied to any sediment
ranging in grain size between 2mm (large sand) and 200mm. Shingle
beaches form in high energy environments where the sea can move
and pile up pebbles on the shore, above the tideline.
Saltmarsh - is a highly productive habitat which develops along
sheltered coasts with soft shallow shores which provide protection
from strong wave action, mostly found in estuaries. It represents
a transition from sand to mudflat areas on the lower marsh, where
the vegetation is frequently flooded by the tide, through to the
upper saltmarsh where creek sides and depressions or pans occur.
Estuaries - a partially enclosed area of water and soft tidal shore,
open to saline water from the sea and receiving fresh water from
rivers, land run-off or seepage. The core parts of an estuary are
the intertidal and sub-tidal areas. These core areas are associated
with a number of important related habitats such as saltmarsh, sand
dunes, shingle, lagoons and coastal grazing marsh defined elsewhere.
AND ENCLOSED BAYS
Inlets and enclosed bays - marine inlets, including sounds, straits
and narrows. In Sussex Pagham Harbour is a good example of an enclosed
bay and harbour. Sea grass beds - develop in intertidal and shallow
sub-tidal areas on sands and muds. They may be found in marine inlets
and bays, but also in other areas, such as lagoons and channels
which are sheltered from significant wave action.
Coastal sand dune - on coastlines where there is an adequate supply
of sediment within the size range 0.2 to 2.0 mm. The critical factor
is the presence of a sufficiently large beach which dries out a
low tide and where the sand grains are blown onto the land by the
action of the wind.Vegetation prevents the sand from further dispersal.
The coast itself and waters out to six miles from the baseline,
subject to fully saline conditions and often strong wave action.
In Sussex this will include the littoral and sub littoral.
Urban habitats - green spaces and associated ecological niches found
within built up areas, including builings and hard surfaces.
the area between the edge of a road and adjacent boundary, usually
a fence, hedge, ditch or woodland. The verge is characterised by
a habitat type which is the product of the underlying geology, soils
sites for which planning permission is extant or has been applied
for relating to sand, gravel, clays, stone and chalk.