Nature is in crisis – species and their habitats are under increasing pressures and the UK remains one of the most nature depleted countries in the world.  But there is hope. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation (ARC) is one of many environmental NGOs that are actively working to conserve wildlife and to provide the voice it needs to survive into the future.  As a leading custodian of UK amphibians and reptiles and the habitats on which they depend, ARC is well positioned to make a positive difference towards conserving biodiversity, to challenge the threats to it and to help people gain access to nature. In a bid to outline the Trust’s roadmap to tackle these issues, ARC has published its manifesto for the new in coming administration.

The UK’s wildlife is in urgent need of support, and our amphibians and reptiles (frogs, toads, newts, lizards, snakes, and turtles) require particular attention. These animals play a crucial role in our ecosystems and hold significant cultural associations within the UK.

Amphibians and reptiles possess unique qualities that make them especially significant and vulnerable. Their reliance on specific habitats and ecological traits such as metamorphosis and regeneration abilities render them key bioindicators of the health of our natural environment. They serve as flagships for our threatened habitats and help foster understanding and appreciation of the natural world.

Currently, nearly a third of Britain’s reptiles and amphibians are under threat of extinction.  Although legal protection is in place, prosecutions are rare. ARC urges the next Government to take substantial action to conserve these animals as part of a broader plan to reverse species declines.

ARC recommends that the next Government:

1. Define Conservation Objectives

   Set conservation goals and actions at all appropriate spatial scales that fully address the needs of amphibians and reptiles.

2. Integrate Policies

   Ensure better integration between emerging and existing conservation and regulation policies, both within and across the devolved administrations.
 

3. Support National Monitoring

  Maintain a six-year reporting cycle for national monitoring efforts and ensure that the outputs of monitoring efforts inform conservation action.
 

4. Restore Landscapes

   Promote the restoration of landscapes and critical features for amphibians and reptiles, such as creating ponds and restoring open habitats like grasslands, heathlands, moorlands, and sand dunes.
 

5. Consider Needs in Protected Areas

   Ensure that amphibians and reptiles are properly considered in protected areas as the UK aims to protect 30% of its land, and recognize Key Herpetofauna Areas.
 

6. Revise Land Management Systems

   Update systems for regulating and financially supporting land management to contribute meaningfully to the recovery of amphibians and reptiles.
 

7. Implement Effective Land Use Policies

   Develop effective land use planning policies that conserve amphibians and reptiles while balancing society’s development needs.
 

8. Improve Evidence Base

   Support efforts to enhance the evidence base for amphibian and reptile conservation by encouraging funding bodies to target gaps in understanding of threats and interventions.
 

9. Coordinate and Facilitate Action for Species

   Prioritize statutory agency coordination and local facilitation of actions for species, particularly the adder, where there are recent steep declines and existing government programs are insufficient.
 

10. Support Civil Society and Volunteer Engagement

    Recognize the role of civil society and volunteer engagement by providing support and ensuring appropriate funding and capability for statutory nature conservation agencies.

11. Support a Conservation Alliance

    Help convene a meaningful alliance of government, agencies, charities, businesses, and civil society to lead in nature conservation and honour UK and international commitments.

Download ARC Manifesto