Biosecurity for LIFE - Biosecurity for LIFE: Safeguarding the UK's globally important seabird island SPAs from invasive alien species

LIFE17 GIE/UK/000572

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Contact details:

Contact person: Nick Folkard
Tel: 441767693207
Email: nick.folkard@rspb.org.uk

Project description:


Invasive mammal predators represent one of the most serious threats worldwide to seabirds breeding on islands. Seabirds tend to be ground-nesting, colonial and unfamiliar with carnivorous mammals, and can therefore suffer very large and rapid declines if exposed to such predators.

In the UK (and much of the rest of Europe), the mammals that are highest-risk in terms of their invasion potential and likely impact on species of conservation concern are the brown rat (Rattus norvegicus), black rat (R. rattus), stoat (Mustela ermine) and American mink (Neovison vison). The project prioritises actions to target these key species as well as reducing the threat posed by other, lower risk species such as the house mouse (Mus musculus) and ferret (Mustela putorius furo) across 41 island special protection areas (SPAs) in the UK that are designated for breeding seabirds.


The Biosecurity for LIFE project aims to protect seabirds from invasive predators by producing biosecurity plans for all 41 SPAs in the UK, as well as establishing ‘rapid response hubs’ to deal with any incursions. Other actions include raising awareness about the need for improved biosecurity, promoting knowledge sharing, and encouraging the replication of the project throughout the EU.

Biosecurity for LIFE will contribute towards the implementation of EU nature policy, including the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020, EU Regulation on Invasive Alien Species, the Birds Directive and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

Expected results:

  • Comprehensive, up-to-date biosecurity plans in place for all 41 island SPAs in the UK, and managers of the SPAs provided with the skills and support needed to develop biosecurity plans;
  • Residents on 12 inhabited island SPAs equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to help ensure biosecurity. Training course on biosecurity developed for businesses, 400 sets of materials produced, eight trainers trained, and trial courses run for 20 fish farm operators, 15 boat operators, two fishing cooperatives and 10 harbour masters;
  • Eight ‘rapid response hubs’ established and 160 volunteers trained;
  • Activities implemented though the installation of detection devices on 25 SPAs, self-resetting traps trialled in one SPA, and one biosecurity trained dog in action;
  • Awareness of invasive alien species and their impact on seabirds raised in at least 10 000 people. Demonstration sites established in two SPAs visited by 150 schoolchildren, 30 teachers trained, reaching 1 500 children. Project displayed at 15 events visited by 1 500 people. Four articles published in national press, talks attended by 300 people, an event run for policy- and decision-makers, and liaison between UK officials and counterparts in New Zealand;
  • Establishment of an online forum and European Advisory Group for 25 island restoration professionals from across the EU, dissemination of project lessons to relevant teams in other Member States (France, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Malta, Greece, and potentially Germany, Netherlands, Scandinavia), one other team actively supported to develop a similar national level project.



Environmental issues addressed:


Biodiversity issues - Invasive species


management plan‚  environmental awareness‚  environmental training‚  island

Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Regulation 1143/2014 - Prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien ...
  • COM(2011) 244 final “Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020 ...
  • Directive 79/409 - Conservation of wild birds (02.04.1979)
  • Marine environment and Coasts
  • Directive 2008/56 - Framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy (M ...

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Type of organisation NGO-Foundation
Description The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a European wildlife conservation NGO with more than 2 000 staff and 17 000 active volunteers. It has expertise in all aspects of bird conservation and manages more than 200 nature reserves throughout the UK, covering almost 150 000 ha. In addition, it carries out a wide variety of research, as well as advisory, education and advocacy work and has been involved in a large number of LIFE projects.
Partners The National Trust for Scotland, United Kingdom The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty, United Kingdom


Project reference LIFE17 GIE/UK/000572
Duration 01-AUG-2018 to 31-JUL -2022
Total budget 1,350,145.00 €
EU contribution 810,087.00 €
Project location North(United Kingdom) South West (UK)(United Kingdom) Wales(United Kingdom) Scotland(United Kingdom) Northern Ireland(United Kingdom)


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Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version