The concept of Prime Biodiversity Areas (PBA) was first mentioned in a conservation context in “Biodiversity: the UK Action Plan”, where it formed one of the 59 targets or actions. Subsequently, it was decided to initiate a small project to: identify at Natural Area level what data might be useful for identifying PBAs and in what form; inform a discussion of the possible definition and uses of PBAs; provide some initial guidance for English Nature staff on the definition and uses of PBAs. The aim of the project was not to arrive at a definitive corporate position on PBAs or to develop every conceivable approach to PBA definition. The project team focused on the lowlands as it was considered that this was where the PBA approach would probably have most relevance. The report makes recommendations and concludes that it would seem that PBAs are primarily about targeting limited resources to those areas where they will deliver the greatest benefits for biodiversity conservation and enhancement. Once defined they should not be viewed as quasi-designations, but as useful targeting tools for conservation programmes. PBAs have, to date, been defined and applied at a local level within a particular framework such as a Natural Area, an area covered by a Local Biodiversity Action Plan or an administrative area. This was the original role for PBAs as outlined in the UK Steering Group (1995). In this way PBAs would be expected to contribute to the delivery of national Biodiversity Action Plan targets mediated through Natural Areas/Local Biodiversity Action Plan objectives and targets.
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