Biodiversity

This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on biodiversity. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs. For material on genetic modification see agriculture.

Standard Notes

DateDescription
09.12.2013Marine Conservation Zones in England
Marine Conservation Zones are being introduced to protect nationally important marine environments. 127 sites were put forward by regional stakeholder groups, and the Government has indicated that it may designate 31 sites in 2013. The Government may designate more MCZ in following years depending on the resources available. A final decision will be taken in autumn 2013.
06.06.2013Septic tanks: new regulations
Septic tanks within groundwater source protection zone 1 had to be registered or have an environmental permit by 2012. All other septic tanks may have to be registered depending on the outcome of the consultation by DEFRA due to be announced in 2013.
05.06.2013Bees and Neonicotinoids
The European Commission is going ahead with proposals to restrict the use of three common neonicotinoids from December 2013 because of their impacts on bees. The UK Government does not support these plans, arguing that the scientific case has not yet been made and the impacts of such restrictions have not been fully assessed. However, the European Food Safety Agency has recently criticised UK field trials used to support the Government's position. This note outlines the policy developments in the context of the scientific evidence and stakeholder comment. It touches on bee health and the overall role of pollinators in the ecosystem and agriculture.
08.11.2012The Forestry Commission and the sale of public forests in England
This note sets out information on the sale of public forests managed by the Forestry Commission
20.04.2012The Chagos Islanders
This note provides brief background about the situation of the Chagos Islanders, paying particular attention to the legal dispute over whether they have the right of return and the recent establishment of a Marine Protection Area around the British Indian Ocean Territory (with the exception of Diego Garcia). The note is not comprehensive in its coverage and will not be automatically updated.

Research Papers

DateDescription
24.10.2001Marine Wildlife Conservation Bill (Bill 8 of 2001-02)
Marine Wildlife Conservation Bill (Bill 8 of 2001/02). House of Commons Library Research Paper 01/76.
24.06.1998Agriculture and the Environment
Agriculture and the Environment. House of Commons Library Research Paper 98/70.

Select Committee Reports

DateDescription
10.02.2009Halting biodiversity loss.
Government response. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Environmental Audit Select Committee report [Commons]

Early Day Motions

DateDescription
15.03.2011NATURAL ENVIRONMENT WHITE PAPER
That this House looks forward to the forthcoming publication of a Natural Environment White Paper; notes that this is the first White Paper of its kind in 20 years; recognises that ...
25.05.2010ENDANGERED BRITISH MAMMALS
That this House is dismayed that 18 species of Britain's mammals, almost a third of the total, are now listed as endangered; congratulates the People's Trust for Endangered Species ...
02.03.2010NATIONAL SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING WEEK
That this House welcomes and supports National Science and Engineering Week, 12 to 21 March 2010 and the What on Earth nature-spotting project to highlight biodiversity in the UK; calls ...
23.02.2009DEFORESTATION, CLIMATE CHANGE AND LIVESTOCK
That this House notes that global livestock and animal feed production contributes to 18 per cent. of global greenhouse gas emissions and is currently the most significant driver of ...
13.01.2009ENDANGERED BRITISH MAMMALS
That this House is dismayed that 18 species of Britain's mammals, almost a third of the total, are now listed as endangered; congratulates The People's Trust for Endangered Species ...

POST Papers

DateDescription
12.08.2014Environmental Citizen Science
Environmental citizen science traditionally involves members of the public submitting sightings of wildlife to NGOs or records centres, but emerging technologies have recently broadened its use to all kinds of environmental data. This POSTnote summarises different types of citizen science projects, policy-relevant applications and the benefits and challenges of volunteer collected data.
18.06.2014Ancient Woodland
Ancient woodlands are irreplaceable features of our landscapes that can be high in biodiversity or cultural value. This POSTnote summarises the challenges of conserving the biodiversity and cultural heritage of these sites to provide social and economic benefits, while still meeting the development needs of society.
15.11.2013Urban Green Infrastructure
Urban green infrastructure is a network of green spaces, water and other natural features within urban areas. A green infrastructure approach uses natural processes to deliver multiple functions, such as reducing the risk of flooding and cooling high urban temperatures. This POSTnote summarises research evidence of the effectiveness of green infrastructure, and challenges to its implementation.
25.10.2013Negative Emissions Technologies
If emissions of greenhouse gases are not sufficiently mitigated, it may become necessary to artificially accelerate the rate at which they are removed from the atmosphere in order to restrict global warming. This POSTnote provides an overview of some technologies that could remove atmospheric CO2 and summarises the environmental, social and economic issues they raise.
14.10.2013Antibiotic Resistance in the Environment
Disease causing bacteria are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotic drug treatment. Diseases once controlled by antibiotics are re-emerging as serious risks to human health. This POSTnote outlines the hazards posed by resistant bacteria, the sources of resistance in the environment and measures that may reduce these risks globally.
12.09.2013Reversing Insect Pollinator Decline
Pollination by insects enables the reproduction of flowering plants and is critical to UK agriculture. Insect pollinators have declined globally, with implications for food security and wild habitats. This POSTnote summarises the causes for the recent trends, gaps in knowledge and possible strategies for reversing pollinator decline.

Glossary

  • Research Papers (RP) - briefings produced by the House of Commons Library on Bills, topical issues and regular statistics
  • Standard Notes (SN) - shorter, topical briefings from the Commons Library
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POST Notes - short briefing notes produced by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - papers compiled by the House of Lords Library on Bills and for debates in the Lords
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses