Introduction

From Rio to Sussex

 

Action

Sussex Biodiversity Partnership

   
Foreword
Introduction
The Sussex Biodiversity Partnership
Links With Other Initiatives
Downloadable Appendices
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

A Biodiversity Action Plan for Sussex

Prepared by:
Sussex Biodiversity Partnership

English Nature
Environment Agency
East Sussex County Council
West Sussex County Council
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Sussex Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group
Sussex Wildlife Trust
Sussex Downs Conservation Board
Defra
Brighton & Hove City Council

Funded by:
The Sussex Biodiversity Partnership and Sussex Enterprise

Designed by:
Lucy Williams, The Landscape Group, East Sussex County Council

Illustrations by:
Tessa Lovatt-Smith, Neil Smith, Lucy Williams, Lee Kemp

Contact for information:
Sussex Biodiversity Partnership
Woods Mill, Henfield, West Sussex BG5 8SD
Telephone: 01483 442620 Fax: 01475 484710

diodiversitioffucere@sussexwt.org.uk

© Sussex Biodiversity Partnership

 

Foreword

Sussex is a beautiful county of great scenic value. It has a high quality environment which is very much determined by the plants and animals found here and the communities or habitats that they form. These have a familiar feel which helps us define what we mean by Sussex. Biodiversity in Sussex is not a remote concept. Look out of the window on a clear day and you may see open downland grassland, old meadows, heaths, hedges and woodland. Even in towns we are never far from the sound of birdsong or from butterflies and bees. This is the biodiversity of Sussex.

However, the wish to conserve and enhance this special quality is no longer the preserve of rural romantics. The desire, in fact the need, to make the environment a better place to live in is now a central theme in the whole debate on sustainability - meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Our natural environment has been through catastrophic change over the past few decades. It is clear that, by allowing continual damage, we are indeed compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. We are left with the stark reality that we have now gone past the limits of acceptable environmental change.

This is why biodiversity action planning has become a major issue. Biodiversity Action Plans present a positive and optimistic route forward. They provide positive targets and definite actions in order to work towards a positive environmental agenda. There are national plans, but it is at the local level that biodiversity and hence sustainability, will or will not be achieved. This is a key document creating a common agenda not just for conservationists but in guiding the work of all who have an impact on the environment. And that, of course, means all of us.

A common agenda for a better future environment is therefore being put forward by the Sussex Biodiversity Partnership. It demands changes in attitude and approach that will encourage the promotion of the positive and ensure that progress is achieved in the short term. With determination, co-operation and vision we can realise the opportunities before us and make sure that the Sussex of the future is better than the Sussex of the recent past.

Janet Barber
English Nature Council Member
July 1998

Biodiversity

Introduction


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.

What is Biodiversity?

"Biodiversity: 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 sea shore."
Biodiversity: The UK Steering Group Report 1995

Biodiversity 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:

It is everywhere and affects all of us.
Biological activity maintains the Earth as an environment fit for life.
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.

Conserving Biodiversity

Conserving 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.

Such 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.

The 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 supports.

Implementation 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.

Biodiversity - the story so far

1992: Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro, Britain signs the convention on Biological Diversity
1993: Non-government organisations produce Biodiversity Challenge 1
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 its recommendations
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

A Local Biodiversity Action Plan for Sussex

The 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.

The six basic steps to developing a local BAP are to:

1. 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.

Functions of Local Biodiversity Action Plans:

1. To ensure that national targets for species and habitats, as specified in the UK Action Plan, are translated into effective action at the local level.
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 enacted.
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, 1997.

A Partnership Approach: The Sussex Biodiversity Partnership

Joint 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.

The 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.

The Sussex Biodiversity Partnership.

The 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.

Aims of the Partnership:

1. 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 environment.
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 Update newsletter.

The 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.

What is the Sussex Biodiversity Action Plan?

The 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.

Objectives 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.

Objectives:

1. 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 scale.
3. To set realistic, but ambitious, targets and timescales for priority habitats and species and to monitor progress of action plans against those targets.
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 action.


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.

A Habitat 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

(Reference: Guidance for Local Biodiversity Action Plans, Evaluating priorities and setting targets for habitats and species,
Guidance Note 4, UK Local Issues Advisory Group, 1997)

The Sussex BAP process:

National biodiversity
targets and priorities

Partnership working:
Setting habitat priorities/targets

Setting a Common Agenda
Setting species priorities/targets

Local diversity action plan

Feeding into the LBAP Process
Mechanisms to deliver BAP Targets

Links with other initiatives:
Local Environment Agency Plans
Environmentally Sensitive Areas
Countryside Stewardship
Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre
Natural Areas
Structure & Local Plans etc.

Links with other initiatives

The 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.

A 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.

Local Agenda 21

"Think 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 living.

Local 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.

Linking Biodiversity Action Planning and Local Agenda 21:

Biodiversity '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.

The Natural Areas framework

English 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.

Natural 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.

They 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 local level.

Natural 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 objectives.

Refer to Appendix 4: Natural Areas in Sussex.

Local Authorities: Statutory development plans and the planning process

Local 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.

Planning 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 development.

The guidance suggests that a sustainable planning framework should:

1. 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 to travel.

This guidance is further supported through Planning Policy Guidance Note 9 - Nature Conservation and Planning (PPG9) which:

1. 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 Nature;
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 plans;
5. States the development control criteria, particularly for Sites of Special Scientific Interest and sites with national and international designations;
6. Contributes to the implementation of the EC Directive on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (the Habitats Directive);
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.

In 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.

Many 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.

As 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 (or equivalent).

Local authorities and the AONB organisations have a key role to play in the Biodiversity Action Planning Process

The policy function can help set the framework for Biodiversity Action Planning;
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.

Link with Environmental Capital

For 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.

This 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.

Critical 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 enhancement.

The Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre (BRC)

The 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.

Agri-Environment Schemes

In 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.

Countryside 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.

A 10 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.

Organic Aid Scheme

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.

Environmentally 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.

Annual 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.

Other Agricultural Initiatives

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:

Organisation 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 Audits
Game Conservancy Trust Whole Farm Advice on management for game and wildlife

These 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.

High Weald Land Management Initiative

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.

Wildlife Enhancement Scheme (WES)

Wildlife 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.

Local Environment Agency Plans (LEAPs)

An 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.

LEAPs 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:

those 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.

Although 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.

LEAPS are seen as the key mechanism for prioritising actions arising from biodiversity action plans against other demands on the Agency functional resources.

Implementation: action on the ground

The 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 towards them.

The 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 them.

Much 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.

However, 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 on Biodiversity.

Sussex Habitat Action Plan Programme

Criteria for selecting habitats

The 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:

1. 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

Development of a habitat programme

With 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 . Table .pdf )

Priorities 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.

Priority l: 1997 - 1998
Priority 2: 1998 - 1999
Priority 3: 1999 - 2000

The 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.

Each 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.

The process of drafting an action plan:

1. Identify lead agency
2. Establish partnership (Habitat Consultation Group)
3. Agree broad objectives
4. Review the resource
5. Evaluate the existing resource within the national and local context
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.

Guidance for producing Habitat Action Plans

To 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 6.

Habitat species lists

All 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 conservation.

Sussex Species Action Plan Programme

Criteria for selecting species for action plans

Prioritising 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 gain.

Fortunately, 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 )

Following 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:

1. 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.

Guidance for producing Species Action Plans

To 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 9

An Example: The Water Vole

The 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:-

The 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.

In 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).

In 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.

Water 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.

The 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.

Lastly, 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

The Way Forward

The 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.

Reporting

The 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).

A main 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).

Reporting 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.

Monitoring

The 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.

The 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.

Review

Given 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 HAP.

It 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 time.

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.

Sources

Biodiversity: The UK Action Plan. (1994) HMSO
Biodiversity: The UK Steering Group Report. (1995) HMSO
Government Response to the UK Steering Group Report on Biodiversity (1996) HMSO
Biodiversity Challenge 1.(1993)
Sustainability Development: The UK Strategy. (1994) HMSO
From Rio to Sussex Action for biodiversity. (1997) Sussex Biodiversity Partnership
Natural Area Profiles. (1998) English Nature
Sustainability in Practice. (1994) English Nature
Vision for the Wildlife of Sussex. (1996) Sussex Wildlife Trust
Guidance for Local Biodiversity Action Plans, Guidance Notes 1 to 5. (1997) UK Local Issues Advisory Group. HMSO
Priorities for Habitat Conservation in England. EN Research Report No. 97. (1994) English Nature
Sussex Rare Species Inventory (held by the Sussex Wildlife Trust)

Abbreviations

BAP Biodiversity Action Plan
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

Habitat Glossary (Relates to Habitats in Sussex)
(CAPITALS = National Broad Habitat; Lower case = Sussex Habitat)

FENS, 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.

GRAZING MARSH
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
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
Arable - regularly cultivated ground.

Cereal 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
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.

BOUNDARY FEATURES
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 are included.

SALINE LAGOONS
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.

INLETS 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.

BROAD-LEAVED AND YEW
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 available.

LOWLAND 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.

PLANTED CONIFEROUS WOODLAND
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
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
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 the UK.

CALCARIOUS GRASSLAND
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.

STANDING OPEN WATER
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
Canals - man-made linear waterways.

RIVERS AND STREAMS
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.

MARITIME 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.

SHINGLE 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
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
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.

INLETS 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.

SAND DUNE
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.

OPEN COAST
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
Urban habitats - green spaces and associated ecological niches found within built up areas, including builings and hard surfaces.

Road verges
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 and management.

Mineral sites
sites for which planning permission is extant or has been applied for relating to sand, gravel, clays, stone and chalk.

Appendix 1: What is new about BAP?

The protection of biodiversity is not a new concern in the UK. For many years we have been striving to protect and enhance our native flora and fauna.

The Biodiversity Action Plan however, is new. For the first time, there is commitment across society to joint action, nationwide, towards agreed targets, through the securing and better use of resources.

Joint Action
The BAP is a common cause, dependent upon the commitment and energy of all with responsibility for the natural environment. These include the Government and its agencies for nature conservation, agriculture and forestry, the voluntary conservation organisations, academics, museums, businesses, farmers and landowners. The setting of targets for species and habitats is the result of continuing partnership at a national level and Local Biodiversity Action Plans are the result of partnerships at a local level. In these ways, the BAP has been highly successful in getting different sectors to work together towards shared goals.

Nationwide
The BAP is a national framework for nature conservation. Never before has a plan been developed that includes action for on- and off-site conservation, priority species and habitats, the wider countryside, sustainable use of resources, data and information and education. This package gives the Plan an unsurpassed profile and momentum.

Agreed Targets
The BAP provides the specific objectives and targets against which progress will be measured. These are particularly challenging, seeking to reverse decline wherever possible. They are long-term, looking ahead to 2010 and beyond; and realistic, because, being costed, the resource commitments are clear from the outset. Such targets will mean that we are not just counting how much we spend, but also measuring the benefits to wildlife.

Reference: Biodiversity Action Plan Information, English Nature (internal document), 1997

Appendix 6

Guidelines for the production of Local Habitat Action Plans (available as .pdf file)

Standard Format

In order that there is consistency between the Habitat Action Plans (HAPs) it is suggested that the following format is used as a standard template. Whilst there will obviously be different emphases depending on the habitat under consideration it is important to address all the sections to some degree. Any elaboration which requires a separate heading should be as a sub-heading of an existing heading. Wherever possible though, the use of such sub-headings should be avoided.

1. Habitat Definition
2. Current Status and Distribution
3. Importance of the habitat
4. Importance for people, Local Community and Cultural Significance
5. Benefits to Local Business
6. Trends and Threats
7. Potential
8. Current Action
9. Existing Incentive schemes
10. Objectives
11. Targets and Costs
12. Action Plan
13. Monitoring/Review
14. References
15. Appendices
16. Consultation

Conventions and rules to be followed by authors and editors of BAP documents can be found in Appendix 10


DETAILED GUIDANCE

1. Habitat Definition
Define the habitat clearly. What are the physical and biological characteristics of the habitat? For the majority, if not all, of the habitats this will have been already done. Relevant literature should provide clear definitions, most notably the National Vegetation Classification (NVC), published as a series of 5 volumes (Rodwell)

2. Current Status and distribution
Audit the current habitat resource both nationally and in a county context based on Natural Areas or catchments as appropriate. If possible also place the habitat resource in an international context. Collate existing data and opinion on extent, quality and significance. Highlight gaps in knowledge and/or information and seek professional advice where there is a lack of complete information.

Liaise widely - seek information, opinions and comments of all relevant organisations and individuals. Involve a wide range of interests in the process, initially by questionnaire and thereafter by meeting relevant parties as necessary.

3. Importance of the Habitat
Detail the inherent interest within the habitat (i.e. its Biodiversity). This should refer to the key species which use the habitat, particularly those species placed on the short list of endangered species as set out in the UK Biodiversity Steering Group Report.

Mention should also be made of those species of local significance (i.e. of local conservation concern, that are locally threatened, locally rare, locally distinctive/characteristic or locally popular). Identify the specific habitat requirements of each of these species.
This should be set out in table form.

4. Importance for People, Local Community and Cultural Significance
Highlight the importance of the habitat both to local people and visitors. Identify uses of the habitat other than for conservation. Reedbeds for example are of value for informal recreation, thatching material and shooting interests.

5. Benefits to Local Business
All of the actions arising as a result of the HAP will be intended to be of direct benefit to the habitat and the species which it supports. There are, however, indirect benefits to local communities, tourism and to local businesses and traders. For example, the tourist sector benefits from naturalists' holidays to areas of wildlife value and natural beauty, whilst the re-creation of habitats may employ local engineering companies, manual labour and volunteers. There may also be opportunities for training during the course of the actions.

These knock-on effects are not insignificant and the HAP must identify them wherever possible. Not only will the identification of these benefits be useful in justifying the action, but also can be used to secure funding in the future.

6. Trends and Threats
Detail the loss of the habitat over time and pinpoint the significant locations where the habitat has been lost. A map of historical and current status may be appropriate.

Highlight the existing and future threats to the habitat. For example: development, mineral extraction, sea-level rise, inappropriate management ( including neglect ) and pollution. This may include the degree of fragmentation of the habitat and the viability of the remaining fragments.

7. Potential
Evaluate the scale of opportunity and potential for the habitat in Sussex. Detail any limiting factors which will restrict the extent of the habitat in the future.

8. Current Action
Detail what is currently being done, by whom and to what degree is it successful. Current action will be determined largely from the initial liaison with identified key organisations. Current action will include:-

i. site protection - through designation, ownership and planning policies
ii. site management - through pro-active management and projects
iii. information exchange

9. Existing Incentive Schemes
Detail relevant agri-environment schemes which may be used as a way of achieving the aims and objectives of the HAP such as Environmentally Sensitive Area ( ESA ), Countryside Stewardship and the Wildlife Enhancement Scheme (WES). Outline how they apply to the habitat, how successful/effective have they been to date and what their potential effectiveness is. Put forward suggestions for improvements to the schemes to account for local conditions.

10. Objectives
Objectives will be general in nature, but will set out broadly what the HAP aims to achieve. They should be set out in a text box for clarity. National objectives as detailed in the UK Habitat Action Plans should be referred to. It is important that the local objectives for the habitat are compatible with the National objectives wherever possible.

11. Targets and Costs
Targets should be set out in table form below the objectives and should be specific in their nature. They should not refer to particular sites other than those that are covered by a designation (e.g. SSSI). It is important to establish "short-term", "10 year" and "50 year" targets.

Targets should be Specific; Measurable; Achievable; Relevant and Time bound. Authors of HAPs should aim to make the targets realistic but ambitious. They should be set so as to be appropriate to the habitat and its features, not solely on the basis of current resource availability as HAPs may be used in the future to bid for necessary funding.

Guidance for Local Biodiversity Action Plans - Guidance Note 4 states that targets should be:

1. realistic but ambitious; setting targets that are appropriate to maintain or restore the natural character of an area, and contribute an appropriate proportion of the national target for each given feature;
2. set to the same measurable parameters used in the national targets. Targets must be measurable to enable progress to be evaluated subsequently and success or failure recorded;
3. set against clear timescales, which should reflect timescales set in national action plans where possible. Milestones should be included towards long-term objectives;
4. performance against the targets will need to be monitored. It is likely that there will be a formal line of reporting through regions in order to establish national progress. Targets should therefore set out what monitoring should be carried out.

12. Action Plan

Ultimately it is the actions section of the HAP that is the most important as this will be the section that drives change on the ground.

The Action Plan should detail ongoing action and action proposed for 5, 10 and 50 years in the future.

It should be set out as a spreadsheet toward the rear of the HAP in order to facilitate easy reference. A template spreadsheet is available from the Sussex Biodiversity Patnership Officer and should be used to compile the action plan table.

The section headings in the action plan table conform to the BARS online reporting system and are as follows:

Action plan process / links to other plans
Communication - Advisory
Communication - Publicity
Funding / Resources
Habitat and site management
Habitat creation / Restoration
Information and databases
Policy and Legislation
Research

Site protection and Designation
Survey and Monitoring

Numbered actions are generic, will appear in all the Sussex HAPs and the wording should not be changed by HAP writers.

Lettered actions (a, b, c etc) may be added, under the numbered actions, and be specific to the Habitat.

Any deliverers included in the template are only suggestions and should be amended to be appropriate to the specific HAP. The list of deliverers at the end of the template should also be amended accordingly.

Actions will focus on:

Those necessary in the short-term to help rectify immediate concerns, covering areas of policy and legislation, site safeguard, land management, monitoring and research, communications and publicity.

Those required for the long-term viability of the habitat and its associated species, covering areas of policy and legislation, site safeguard, land management, monitoring and research, communications and publicity.

Actions will indicate clearly and agree which organisations are to be the lead agency (or agencies) in the delivery of the action. Those organisations identified should be the best placed to deliver the necessary action, whether this be with regard to expertise or resources. The key organisations and their most appropriate level of involvement in the HAP process will have been established earlier.

The Actions of the HAP will also set out clearly who the key partners will be in progressing the respective actions and will set out an appropriate timetable for action for up to 50 years

The majority of action generated as a consequence of the HAP will have associated with it a cost. The HAP should attempt to establish the likely scale of these costs. Whilst some of these costs will already be being spent (e.g. funding of River Valley Projects) there will be many new initiatives. Where these are identified as incurring an extra cost, some thought should be given as to potential sources for funding.

13. Monitoring/Review
In order to monitor the changes, it is necessary to monitor closely the progress of the action plan and of the real achievements on the ground. Periodically, the HAP will be reviewed by the local lead organisation for that Habitat type in conjunction with the Sussex Biodiversity Partnership.

Set out a framework to enable the monitoring and review of the relevance and effectiveness of objectives, targets and actions. Detail the ongoing monitoring and provide examples.
Assess achievements and where necessary, adjust the focus of the actions.
At a minimum, a review of each HAP should be undertaken 5 years on from its launch/ publication.

14. References
All references made in the text should be detailed.

15. Appendices
All material considered important but which does not fit neatly in the main text may be included as appendices.

16. Consultation
The production of the HAP and the subsequent consultation will be as follows:-

1. Liaise with interested parties in order to seek initial information and opinions
2. Produce 'rough' draft following guidance
3. Circulate to the Habitat Consultation Group (made up of those interested parties as identified in 1. above and outlined in the HAP Programme)
4. Incorporate comments
5. Circulate 2nd Draft to the following:-Sussex Biodiversity Partnership; Habitat Consultation Group; any other interested parties identified during the course of production of the HAP
6. Incorporate comments
7. Submit final HAP to the Sussex Biodiversity Partnership for publishing
All consultation undertaken must be outlined in an Appendix of the final version of the HAP.

 

Appendix 9:

Guidelines for the production of Local Species Action Plans (available as .pdf file)

STANDARD FORMAT

In order that there is consistency between the Species Action Plans (SAPs) it is suggested that the following format is used as a standard template. Whilst there will obviously be different emphases depending on the species under consideration it is important to address all the sections to some degree. Any elaboration which requires a separate heading should be as a sub-heading of an existing heading. Wherever possible though, the use of such sub-headings should be avoided.

1. Introduction/ Current Status
2. Current Factors causing loss or decline
3. National Species Action Plan
4. Current Action
5. Objectives
6. Targets and Costs
7. Potential
8. Action Plan
9. Monitoring/Review
10. References
11. Consultation
12. Appendices

Conventions and rules to be followed by authors and editors of BAP documents can be found in Appendix 10

DETAILED GUIDANCE

1. Introduction/ Current Status

The introduction should describe the habitat requirements of the species. Current Status should outline the distribution of the species in Europe and the UK and should detail its distribution in Sussex by Natural Area. The
legislation relevant to the protection of the species should be outlined.

2. Current factors causing loss or decline

Factors should be listed. These should have been detailed in the National Species Action Plans where they exist. Where National Action Plans do not exist, factors will need to be identified through consultation with specialists and through existing literature.

3. National Species Action Plans

The key points of the National Action Plan should be summarised, particularly the objectives, targets and proposed actions. Where a National Action Plan does not yet exist, this should be clearly stated, and through liaison with the national lead agency the proposed timetable for production outlined.

For species which will not have a National Action Plan, this should simply be stated.

4. Current Action

This section should summarise current conservation work being undertaken for this species. Reference should be made to existing initiatives such as Plantlife's "Back From the Brink", English Nature's Species Recovery Programme, or local initiatives such as The Otter Project.

Current action will also include:

1. site protection - through designation, ownership and planning policies
2. site management - through pro-active management and projects
3. information exchange

5. Objectives

Objectives will be general in nature, but will set out broadly what the SAP aims to achieve. They should be set out in a text box for clarity. National objectives as detailed in the UK Species Action Plans should be referred to. It is important that the local objectives for the habitat are compatible with the National objectives wherever possible. Clear objectives should be set for the local action plan for the short, medium and long-term. These objectives should have definite targets associated to them.

6. Targets and Costs

Targets should be set out in table form below the objectives and should be specific in their nature. It is important
to establish "short-term", "10 year" and "50 year" targets.

Targets should be Specific; Measurable; Achievable; Relevant and Time bound. Authors of SAPs should aim to make the targets realistic but ambitious. They should be set so as to be appropriate to the species and its requirements, not solely on the basis of current resource availability as SAPs may be used in the future to bid for necessary funding.
The Guidance for Local Biodiversity Action Plans - Guidance Note 4 states that targets should be:

1. Realistic but ambitious; setting targets that are appropriate to maintain or restore the natural character of an area, and contribute an appropriate proportion of the national target for each given feature.
2. Set to the same measurable parameters used in the national targets. Targets must be measurable to enable progress to be evaluated subsequently and success or failure recorded.
3. Set against clear timescales, which should reflect timescales set in national action plans where possible. Milestones should be included towards long-term objectives.
4. Performance against the targets will need to be monitored. It is likely that there will be a formal line of reporting through regions in order to establish national progress. Targets should therefore set out what monitoring should be carried out.

7. Potential

Evaluate the scale of opportunity and potential for the species in Sussex. Detail any limiting factors which will restrict the range of the species in the future.

8. Action Plan

Ultimately it is the actions section of the SAP that is the most important as this will be the section that drives change on the ground.

The Action Plan Should detail current action and action proposed for 5, 10 and 50 years in the future.
It should be set out as a spreadsheet toward the rear of the SAP in order to facilitate easy reference. A template spreadsheet is available from the Sussex Biodiversity Partnership Officer and should be used to compile the action plan table.

The section headings in the action plan table conform to the BARS online reporting system and are as follows:

Action plan process / links to other plans
Communication - Advisory
Communication - Publicity
Funding / Resources
Habitat and site management
Habitat creation / Restoration
Information and databases
Policy and Legislation
Research
Site protection and Designation
Species management
Survey and Monitoring

Numbered actions are generic, will appear in all the Sussex SAPs and the wording should not be changed by SAP writers.

Lettered actions (a, b, c etc) may be added, under the numbered actions, and be specific to the Habitat / Species.

Any deliverers included in the template are only suggestions and should be amended to be appropriate to the specific SAP. The list of deliverers at the end of the template should also be amended accordingly.

Actions will indicate clearly and agree which organisations are to be the lead agency (or agencies) in the delivery of the action. Those organisations identified should be the best placed to deliver the necessary action, whether this be with regard to expertise or resources. The key organisations and their most appropriate level of involvement in the HAP process will have been established earlier.

The Actions of the SAP will also set out clearly who the key partners will be in progressing the respective actions and will set out an appropriate timetable for action for up to 50 years.

The majority of action generated as a consequence of the SAP will have associated with it a cost. The SAP should attempt to establish the likely scale of these costs. Whilst some of these costs will already be being spent (e.g. funding of Species Projects such as the Otter) there will be many new initiatives. Where these are identified as incurring an extra cost, some thought should be given as to potential sources for funding.

9. Monitoring / Review

In order to monitor the changes, it is necessary to monitor closely the progress of the action plan and of the real achievements on the ground. Periodically, the SAP will be reviewed by the Sussex Lead Agency for that Species in conjunction with the Sussex Biodiversity Partnership.

1. Set out a framework to enable the monitoring and review of the relevance and effectiveness of objectives, targets and actions. Detail the ongoing monitoring and provide examples.
2. Assess achievements and where necessary, adjust the focus of the actions.
Where possible, existing monitoring schemes should provide the basis of SAP monitoring and review.

At a minimum, a review of each SAP should be undertaken 5 years on from its launch/ publication.

10. References

All references made in the text should be detailed.

11. Consultation

The production of the SAP and the subsequent consultation will be as follows:

1. Liaise with specialists/ recorders/ interested parties in order to seek initial information and opinions
2. Produce 'rough' draft following guidance
3. Circulate to the Species Group (made up of those interested parties as identified in l. above)
4. Incorporate comments
5. Circulate 2nd Draft to the following: Sussex Biodiversity Partnership; Species Group; any other interested parties identified during the course of production of the SAP
6. Incorporate comments
7. Submit final SAP to the Sussex Biodiversity Partnership for publishing
All consultation undertaken must be outlined in an Appendix of the final version of the SAP.

12. Appendices
All material considered important but which does not fit neatly in the main text may be included as appendices.

June 1999


Appendix 10: Information Sheet 1:


The responsibilities of Sussex Lead Agency

The development of the Biodiversity Action Plan for Sussex is a partnership initiative. The responsibility of overseeing the production of individual action plans .has been given to a range of participating organisations and groups.

This information sheet aims to clarify the role of a "Sussex Lead Agency" (it does not include the lead deliverers identified in individual HAP and SAP action tables).

1. Sussex Lead Agency for a Habitat Action Plan

All of the Sussex Habitats identified on The Sussex Habitat Action Plan Programme have a Sussex Lead Agency.

The role of this Lead Agency is to ensure the habitat action plan is produced through the development of local partnerships and consultation according to the production timetable. Plan drafting is not necessarily the job of the Sussex Lead Agency and may be delegated by agreement.

In most cases development of the plan through local partnerships and consultation will use existing groups/ networks (eg Sussex Heathland Forum). Where such groups do not currently exist the establishment of Habitat Groups is encouraged.

Plan production should then follow the Sussex Guidance for producing Habitat Action Plans (Appendix 6, Biodiversity Action Plan for Sussex, 1998).

Monitoring and Reporting for individual Habitat Action Plans will be the responsibility of each Habitat Group - to be co-ordinated by the Sussex Lead Agency*.

At present a two tier approach to measure progress of HAPs has been proposed:

Monitor against the Actions
Each Habitat Action Plan has an Action Table. The progress of each of the actions
will be monitored by a simple `yes' or `no' on an annual basis.

Monitoring of Associated Biodiversity
i. Habitat extent (by broad definition using existing mechanisms, where appropriate)
ii. Associated species (indicator species of that habitat, possibly taken from the "Sussex Key Biodiversity species associated with the habitat")

*More detailed guidance on monitoring and reporting will be produced by the Sussex Biodiversity
Partnership in due course.

2. Sussex Lead Agency for a Species Action Plan

All of the Tranche 1 Species identified on The Sussex Species Action Plan Programme have a Sussex Lead Agency.

The role of this Lead Agency is to ensure the habitat action plan is produced through the development of local partnerships and consultation according to the production timetable. Plan drafting is not necessarily the job of the Sussex Lead Agency and may be delegated by agreement. In many cases, it is likely that the relevant Sussex Recorder/ Recorder Group will play a significant part in the production of Species Action Plans.

Plan production should then follow the Sussex Guidance for producing Species Action Plans.

Monitoring and Reporting for individual Species Action Plans will be the responsibility of the Sussex Lead Agency. **

** Guidance on the monitoring and reporting of Species Action Plans has not yet be drawn up by the Sussex Biodiversity Partnership


Appendix 10: Information Sheet 2:


Conventions and rules to be followed by authors or editors of BAP documents

common names of species all in lower case unless the relevant word is a proper name

forward slashes (/) or hyphens (-) between alternative terms or in lists no space before or after, line breaks will be added in the correct places during final composition

brackets no space inside brackets: (correct) ( wrong )

Hectares, hectares, Ha, etc. always use: ha

units in general normally in lower case with a space between number and unit (except for percentages)

eg, e.g. avoid if possible, otherwise use: e g or for example

ie., i.e. avoid if possible, otherwise use: i e or that is

numbers in text in words if ten or less, in numerals for 11 and above

abbreviations term written in full followed by the abbreviation in brackets for the first appearance in any document or appendix which might be distributed on its own, all subsequent appearances in the same document to be as abbreviation full stops not used in abbreviated names: UK not U.K.

title capitalisation all words with initial capital except prepositions and conjunctions, etc.

title format bold, not underlined, not all upper case

title numbering format 1. and 1.1 etc., not 1 or 1.1.

title indent hanging indent by one tab stop after number

bullets use plain (dot) bullets unless a number is required to indicate a sequence or to link with a reference in the accompanying text (I suggest using Arabic numerals for the former and Roman numerals for the latter)

bullet indents indent bullet by one tab, hanging indent following text by one tab stop (not vital if difficult to achieve on your WP, can be done at final composition)

year ranges 1998/99 or 98/99 not 98/9


Downloadable .pdf files:

Appendix 5: Sussex HAP Programme

Appendix 5: Sussex HAP Programme Table

Appendix 6: Guidelines for the production of local Habitat Action Plans

Appendix 7: Species of Conservation Concern in Sussex

Appendix 8: Sussex Species Matrix

Appendix 9: Guidelines for the production of local Species Action Plans

Publicity ideas for BAP writer and implementors