Untitled for webBASC has launched a “White Paper” at this year’s CLA Game Fair, calling on national regulators to broaden their horizons when assessing the conservation status of specially protected sites.

Currently regulators, such as Natural England, have to make an assessment of the conservation status of specially designated land such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and Special Areas of Conservation (SAC). These sites are among the most valued for the habitats and wildlife they support. Many of these sites have traditionally been used for bird watching, fishing, wildfowling and other activities.

BASC is calling on all regulators to broaden the criteria they use for determining if the conservation status is favourable or not.

Chairman of BASC, Alan Jarrett said: “It’s not enough to limit yourself only to plants and birdlife when reaching a decision on conservation status. Across Europe regulators are turning to “ecosystem services” – the benefits that people as well as wildlife gain from these sites – when deciding their status. This is critical to determining their sustainable management.”

“For example Article 2 of the Birds Directive states that “Member States shall ….maintain the population of species ….at a level which corresponds in particular to ecological, scientific and cultural requirements, while taking account of economic and recreational requirements…”

“We will be seeking meetings with Natural England, other regulators and stakeholders to discuss our proposals as set out in the White Paper.”

To view a copy of the White Paper click here

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