The Section 42 list of habitats and species of principal importance in Wales is the definite list and is a key requirement of the NERC Biodiversity Duty. The list is a key reference for all statutory and non-statutory bodies involved in operations that affect biodiversity in Wales. The S42 list will be used to guide decision-makers such as public bodies, including local and regional authorities, in implementing their duty under section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 “to have regard” to the conservation of biodiversity in all their activities.
In 2007, the UK Biodiversity Partnership published an updated list of priority UK species and habitats covering terrestrial, freshwater and marine biodiversity to focus conservation action for rarer species and habitats in the UK. The UK priority list contains 1150 species and 65 habitats requiring special protection. The UK list has been used as a reference to draw up the species and habitats of principal importance in Wales under S42 of the NERC Act. 504 of the UK priority species occur in Wales and a further 53 species recognised as Welsh priorities go to make up a list of 557 species of principal importance in Wales with an additional 4 groups/assemblages of species.
Of the UK’s 65 priority habitats, 51 occur in Wales. An additional 3 marine habitats not on the UK list but identified as a priority in Wales are included on the Section 42 list, making a total of 54 priority habitats in Wales. The combined list of species and habitats is referred to as the Section 42 list for Wales.