Published in support of the UK Biodiversity Action Plan for black grouse

UK Biodiversity Action Plan

Black grouse is a priority species for action in the UK BAP because of its rapid decline during the 1990s. This means that the performance of the government in achieving sustainable development will, in part, be influenced by the fortunes of black grouse. It also means that there is now a real focus and impetus to save the species.

The UKBAP for black grouse was published in 1999. It sets out the problems facing black grouse in the UK, set targets for the species' recovery and proposed a series of actions to achieve these targets, giving responsibility for the delivery of these actions to various government departments, agencies and voluntary organisations.

Lead partners
The government asked the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust and the RSPB to be joint lead partners of the UK BAP, and nominated Scottish Natural Heritage as the government contact point. These organisations are jointly responsible for overseeing the co-ordination of action to meet the species' targets and reporting on these to the government. Click here for contact details.

UK BAP targets (revised 2006)
Link to national and local targets - revised for the plan published in 2006

1. Increase the population of black grouse to 4500 lekking males by 2010.

2. Restore the range of black grouse to 300 occupied 10km squares by 2010

In addition to the UK BAP targets a set of six priority actions to recover the species have been identified. These are:

  Action
E
S
W
NI
UK/Int
1 Determine efficacy of large scale trial management for black grouse and deliver successful measures through appropriate land and forest management, in particular through agri-environment and forestry grant schemes.
Y
Y
Y
   
2 Monitor the long-term effectiveness of agri-environment schemes and forestry scheme prescriptions for this species.
Y
Y
Y
   
3 In the vicinity of Black Grouse, regulate the erection of new deer fences from forestry grants, and pay for marking or removal of existing fences.
Y
Y
     
4 Add to annexe 1 of European Directive on the Conservation of Wild Birds        
Y
5 Ensure Black Grouse is added to Schedule 9 of Wildlife and Countryside Act so that any future reintroductions are properly regulated.
Y
Y
Y
   
6 Ensure conformity of legal protection between Game Act and Wildlife and Countryside Act (or equivalent legislation in the devolved administrations)
Y
Y
Y
Y
 

Click here for the Action Plan in full.

Progress so far...
In 2002, the UK steering group reviewed progress to date, as part of a report to the UK Biodiversity Partnership. The group considered that, principally through recovery projects in Wales and the North Pennines, considerable progress was being made, but that the outlook in Scotland was less positive, though a lack of recent monitoring makes it difficult to quantify this. Therefore, the group concluded, that some progress was being made towards preventing further losses, but at the current rate, it is unlikely that this will be sufficient to achieve recolonisation of formerly occupied areas by 2005 or to restore its range to levels of the early 1990s by 2011.

The group identified regional recovery partnerships as major successes, enabling funding and expertise to be targeted in priority areas of Britain. However, even here, the group considered that a lack of flexibility and insufficient funds in woodland and agricultural grant schemes to be major constraints to achieving restoration of the population, especially while there remains a focus on timber and livestock production. It also identified a lack of funds for monitoring as a constraint to assessing progress.

Click here for a copy of the UK BAP 2002 report in full (you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader).

Click here for details of the Biodiversity Action Reporting System (BARS), an information system that supports the planning, monitoring and reporting requirements of national, local and company BAPs. It also allows has details about the progress being made with local and national BAPs.

Country steering groups
Following the review, the UK steering group considered how best to deliver the UK BAP for black grouse. It is clear that restoring the black grouse population is complex, influenced by a range of factors and policies that affect different types of land-use. These tend to be different in Scotland, Wales and England, and the power to achieve the targets is in the hands of a range of organisations, many of which operate in only one of these countries.

So, responsibility for delivery of the black grouse BAP now rests with steering groups in each country. Matters that are best co-ordinated at a UK level - such as co-ordinating monitoring and good practice, sharing information (such as through this website) and reporting on progress to government – are managed by a smaller group, comprising the lead partners and the government contact point, in conjunction with the convenors/chairs of each country steering group.

Click here for a list of the key contacts in the UKBAP