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  • Print publication year: 2007
  • Online publication date: June 2012

16 - Nature conservation and biodiversity: beyond designation



The last chapter focussed on the ‘cores’ of nature conservation – the areas of land designated for their special characteristics, and protected (up to a point) by law and policy. Now of equal concern is the conservation state of the land in-between the protected sites. The main influence moving law and policy away from the demarcation of areas of land for protection because of their special features is the concept of biological diversity, or biodiversity. The value of biodiversity in general is now better understood than when the legal regime for the designation of land for special protection was first developed, and there is also greater recognition of the deterioration in biodiversity in undesignated areas, from agricultural intensification, house and road building, and other factors such as tourism. There is also a more general concern about the effects of climate change, in particular the ability of isolated areas to adapt, which has made the connections between designated areas more important.

‘Biodiversity Action Plans’ ((BAPs) – pp. 671–3) are now an important, proactive, feature of nature conservation, looking beyond protected areas. The trend of integrating previously separate land use controls, influenced by the general concern with biodiversity, has been directed by European Community (EC) law, particularly the Habitats Directive. The integration of planning and nature conservation decisions (pp. 673–80) parallels that seen in the context of pollution controls (Chapter 9) and in planning with the onset of an integrated form of spatial planning (Chapter 13, pp. 622–30).