Sustrans' aim is to maximise the beneficial impacts of our routes for biodiversity conservation whilst still managing the National Cycle Network primarily as a sustainable transport resource. To support this goal we have published a Biodiversity Action Plan for the National Cycle Network. It will be reviewed and updated every five years.
The traffic-free sections of the Network in Sustrans' ownership are our obvious starting point and we are seeking to work in partnership with local councils and wildlife organisations to identify opportunities and possible funding sources for enhancing biodiversity along these stretches of our routes.
The wider context
The UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) was published in 1994 as part of the UK response to the Convention on Biological Diversity signed at Rio in 1992. The UK BAP drew together existing instruments and programmes for nature conservation throughout the UK, set out a series of activities for a 20 year period, and recognised the need for specific biological targets and plans for the recovery of species and habitats to help drive forward their conservation. The habitat and species action plans set out very clear objectives and targets. For this process to work effectively it has to be implemented at different levels. Therefore Local Biodiversity Action Plans have been developed, and more recently organisations are producing their own BAPs.
In addition, in October 2007, the UK Government published a new framework to conserving the UK's wildlife and habitats called Conserving Biodiversity - The UK Approach. It calls for joined up working across the public, voluntary and business sectors in the UK on a variety of agreed goals and priorities for the greater good of biodiversity.