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Nature Conservation

Question for Ministry of Defence

UIN 53864, tabled on 23 September 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department plans to take to help deliver the Government’s target to halt the decline in species by 2030.

Answered on

18 October 2021

The Ministry of Defence's (MOD) long established SSSI management programme supports the conservation of a wide a range of species that are either legally protected or a priority for conservation management. Our species conservation work also takes place outside of SSSIs with the majority of the activity funded from the DIO Conservation Stewardship Fund. Through this fund the MOD has directly invested in the conservation of habitats and species. Linked programmes and initiatives are run by our specialist natural environment teams and conservation volunteers and are also supported by MOD volunteers. These volunteers work as part of a network of site-level Conservation Groups which enable local naturalists and organisations to undertake surveys across defence sites and contribute to species conservation initiatives.

MOD also works closely with Statutory Bodies and Non-Governmental Organisations to identify opportunities for species conservation (e.g. Back From the Brink - Dorset Heathland Heart, Wildfowl and Wetland Trust Curlew Headstarting). Site level opportunities for species conservation are captured in an Integrated Rural Management Plan to ensure species conservation is integrated with military use and other land uses (e.g. public access, forestry and our agricultural tenanted estate).

There are numerous examples of targeted species conservation projects across the estate (e.g. Wessex Stone Curlew project). For more information and also a focus on conservation groups work I would refer the hon. Member to Sanctuary magazine which is available on the GOV.UK website.