Europe

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has a long history of nature conservation in policy and practice, reflected in numerous pieces of legislation and in the high numbers of conservation organisations and their memberships totalling millions of UK citizens. In fact, Britain is widely accepted as "having the most comprehensive and the most advanced system of nature conservation in the world. In no other country is there so comprehensive a network and nowhere else is the cause of conservation so widespread, and indeed, so passionate, a measure of public support" (Vesey-Fitzgerald, 1969 from ‘A History of Nature Conservation in Britain’ 2nd ed. 1997 by David Evans, Published by Routledge).
Isle of Sky, Scotland

Although lacking in extremes—there are no high mountains, no true deserts and no major rivers—the UK is, in fact, remarkably variable biophysically, ecologically and socially, with complex underlying geology, a wide climatic range (from very wet to semi-arid), and large variations in the distribution of the human population, from extensive areas of near-wilderness (in Scotland) to one of the world’s largest metropolitan areas (Greater London). In the UK National Ecosystem Assessment, this diversity has been captured in eight Broad Habitat types: mountains, moorlands and heaths, semi-natural grasslands, enclosed farmland, woodlands, freshwaters (open waters, wetlands and floodplains), urban, coastal waters and marine.

IUCN National Committee UK has one of the largest memberships in the Union made up from 44 international organisations, NGOs, and a state member (Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, DEFRA) representing a number of government departments and state agencies (the United Kingdom comprises four countries: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, where biodiversity and the natural environment are ’devolved responsibilitiies’).

Latest news

  • PANORAMA: solutions to conservation problems PANORAMA: solutions to conservation problems Photo: Pixabay-lloorraa

    High Five! PANORAMA has reached 555 conservation answers, available to environmentalists around the world

    29.10.2019

    Conservationists have a community, an international space for the problems they have conquered, a way to find how others have solved their conservation conundrums, and the building blocks to answer their current and future issues. This is PANORAMA, and we celebrate reaching more than 555 comprehensive solutions stored within reach of your fingertips.

  • Guidelines for Protected Area Management and Governance - Spanish version Guidelines for Protected Area Management and Governance - Spanish version Photo: IUCN

    The world of protected areas in one book, now in Spanish

    23.10.2019

    The entirety of protected area management and governance has been available in one book since the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014, in Sydney. The Spanish version of this publication, 'Protected Area Governance and Management’, was launched in Lima, on 15 October 2019, at the third Latin American and the Caribbean Protected Areas Congress.

  • Honolulu, Hawaii Photo: Ken Lund

    Cities launch park-based programmes to reap health, biodiversity, and financial harvest

    05.09.2019

    Urban biodiversity and healthy natural ecosystems offer a range of benefits to human society, including providing cleaner water, reducing flood risk and storing carbon.

  • Lough Erne, Northern Ireland Lough Erne, Northern Ireland Photo: VideoDrone Ireland

    VIDEO: Using ecosystem-based management at Lough Erne, Northern Ireland

    19.10.2018

    The Aquacross project brought together researchers and stakeholders connected with Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, to investigate the problem of invasive species threatening biodiversity and restricting recreational uses of the lake. In this video, those involved share their knowledge of the lake system and discuss ecosystem-based management measures to reduce the abundance and impact of invasive species.

  • Stockholm Photo: Scanrail1/Shutterstock.com

    IUCN launches global alliance for greener cities

    24.09.2018

    Edinburgh, Scotland, 24 September 2018 (IUCN/Scottish Wildlife Trust) – IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has launched a global initiative which aims to create greener, more liveable cities that will improve the health, well-being and prosperity of people living in urban areas, with support from Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin.

  • Tony Whitten Photo: Elizabeth Bennett

    A Tribute to Tony Whitten

    18.12.2017

    Conservationist Tony Whitten, who was the Founding Chair of the IUCN SSC Specialist Group on cave invertebrates, was tragically killed in a cycling accident on November 29 2017. Friend and colleague, and member of the IUCN Species Survival Commision (SSC) Steering Committee, Elizabeth Bennett reflects on Tony's colourful life and extraordinary contributions to global conservation. 

  • NatCap17 Photo: World Forum on Natural Capital

    Taking nature into account can accelerate global Sustainable Development Goals, says IUCN

    21.11.2017

    As leaders from business, government and the conservation community prepare to demonstrate the latest advances to value and measure natural capital in their supply chains and national policies, greater action is needed to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, says IUCN.

  • Blanket bog of the Flow Country, Forsinard, UK Photo: RSPB

    New era for UK's peatlands

    26.09.2013

    United Kingdom’s Minister for the Environment Richard Benyon announced a new initiative for peatland conservation at the IUCN UK Peatland Programme’s conference in York on 10-12 September 2013. The Peatland Code will help companies contribute to peatland restoration.

  • Blanket bog in the Pennines Photo: Moors for the Future

    Peatlands given a major boost by UK Ministers

    04.03.2013

    UK Government Environment Ministers have announced clear and unequivocal support for the UK’s peatland habitats. IUCN National Committee of the United Kingdom has advocated and worked for the protection of peatlands for years. The message by the Ministers is a recognition of the work done by IUCN and its Committee in the country.  

  • Puffin in flight Photo: Chris Gomersall/2020VISION

    Innovation in nature conservation in the UK

    07.11.2012

    Britain is widely accepted as "having the most comprehensive and the most advanced system of nature conservation in the world” (Vesey-Fitzgerald, 1969). This month’s Country Focus explores the United Kingdom, its nature and its efforts for biodiversity conservation.  

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