Layout and terms used in Habitat Action Plans

Note: Numbers in brackets in the text indicate references used (which are listed at the end of the plan).

Habitat Description: The opening paragraphs describe the habitat for which the HAP is written. The HAP is related to Priority Habitats or Broad Habitat categories used in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP).

National Status: This section is meant to answer a number of questions concerning the status of the habitat in the United Kingdom (UK) For example, what are the trends in area in the UK? Are there any legal, UK BAP, European designations relevant to the habitat?

Regional status: This section assesses the importance of examples of this habitat in Lancashire compared with those in North West England as a whole. Where known, trends in area are given.

Local status: This section assesses the importance of the habitat in the county and trends if known. Information is given also about parts of the county or sites where the habitat is particularly well-represented or important.

Current factors affecting the Habitat: The main threats/issues are described that are thought to affect the habitat in Lancashire.

Current Action / Mechanisms: A brief description is given here of what conservation action is underway, which organisations are responsible and what mechanisms exist to take action. Examples of the type of action that is considered here include:

  • Policy (and legislation) - Documents/initiatives/laws that help to conserve the habitat.

  • Land Management – Practical land management aimed at conserving/ enhancing the habitat for wildlife.
  • Advisory - Steps being taken to advise relevant landowners/managers on appropriate management.
  • Research and Monitoring - Local research and monitoring underway.
  • Public Relations - Initiatives aimed at raising general awareness of the habitat and its conservation.


Indicators of Habitat Quality: Some factors are listed that may be taken into account in assessing whether the habitat is in a ‘favourable condition’. These are NOT management objectives or prescriptions.

NVC Communities: A table is provided for each HAP, that identifies those NVC communities that are associated with the habitat. The National Vegetation Classification (NVC) is a system that has become widely adopted in the UK for classifying types of vegetation for conservation and other purposes.

Species tables: Tables are appended to each HAP that list some of the characteristic and rare species associated with the habitat in Lancashire.

Having made an assessment of the threats and issues facing the habitat and of action that is currently being taken for its conservation, future actions are proposed. These are laid out in Action Tables as below:

Objectives, targets and proposed actions for in Lancashire

Broad Objective:


Operational Objective

Action Required (Priority)





Broad Objectives: These state what the Plan aims to achieve with regard to the habitat. An attempt is made here to set targets e.g. to maintain / restore / re-create a certain area (in hectares) by a certain date.

Operational Objectives: These outline goals to be attained towards fulfilling the overall, broad objective/aim.

Action required: The action points that contribute to each operational objective are listed with an assessment of their relative importance or priority. Generally, if action is needed to address an imminent threat or, if something needs to happen before the rest of the plan can be put into effect, this has accorded a ‘High’ priority. The other categories used to describe priority are ‘Medium’ and ‘Low’.

The purpose of assigning priorities is to direct attention to where action needs to be focussed initially. All actions suggested will contribute towards the conservation of the habitat and, therefore, the ‘High’ priority actions should NOT be seen collectively as some sort of minimum programme of action that, if implemented, will be totally effective in conserving the habitat’s biodiversity.

Partners: These are groups that it is envisaged will ensure the action is carried out. One organisation is highlighted in bold. This is the ‘lead partner’ proposed for this action. This does not necessarily mean the organisation is expected to carry out the action but it does mean that the body is being proposed as the one that should initiate the action and monitor whether it has been done. A key to the abbreviations used to identify partners is given in the Glossary.

Timescale: These are indications of the timescale over which certain actions are to be carried out.

  • Short Term (S) – To be completed within the first three years of the beginning of implementation.
  • Medium (M) – Ideally to have been initiated within the first three years but certainly to have been completed within five years of the start.
  • Long (L) – Ideally to be completed ten years from the start of the plan’s implementation but certainly within 15 years.
  • Ongoing – An action that by its nature, needs to be kept under constant periodic review.

Type: This relates the type of action proposed to the headings in the relevant national Species Action Plan. These are:

  • Advisory (A)
  • Land Management (LM)
  • Policy (P)
  • Public Relations (PR)
  • Research and Monitoring (RM)

Definitions of what type of actions might qualify under these headings have been given previously above.

Links with other Action Plans: This is a list of other HAPs or Species Action Plans that need to be considered in conjunction with this plan.

References and additional reading: This is a list of a few key documents and any references made in the text.

Date: This is the date when the Plan was last updated.