BARS is the UK's Biodiversity Action Plan reporting system. It includes national, local and company Biodiversity Action Plans (BAPs) and the Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans of all four countries.
What is BARS?
The Biodiversity Action Reporting System (BARS) is a web-based information system that supports the planning, monitoring and reporting requirements of national and local Biodiversity Action Plans (BAPs). From 2005, BARS became the system used for UK BAP reporting and will be used for subsequent reporting rounds.
BARS enables everyone involved in BAP implementation, including LBAP partnerships and Lead Partner organisations, to enter action plans and record progress towards targets and actions. BARS uses drop-down lists and quantitative fields to provide a standardised structure so that BAP information can be integrated across users. This information can be searched by members of the public to learn about BAP activities underway. A range of sophisticated reports is available to BAP users enabling them to generate summaries from their data and to set their work in the wider context.
BARS is available free of charge to all members of the wider BAP partnership.
History of Development
The UK BAP is being delivered by over 1500 organisations working on 436 priority species and habitat action plans at UK level, four country biodiversity strategies and programmes, and about 150 local BAPs. While this success in engaging partners into biodiversity conservation is a cause for celebration, it makes it difficult to assess both what is and is not being achieved at UK, country and local levels.
In 2001, it was recognised that this problem would be best addressed through a national system that met both the internal and external reporting needs of organisations. These needs were identified through an analysis of 10 existing or evolving reporting systems, which led to the development of a prototype database. This was tested with a number of LBAPs and Lead Partners, and a series of workshops was held to introduce the system and get on-the-spot feedback from potential users.
Having established users' needs, Netsquared Ltd was contracted in 2002 to develop a web-enabled version of the system. Initially, this led to the development of a desktop application, which can exchange data with a central server to enable integration and sharing of BAP information. This desktop application requires data to flow across corporate firewalls and, due to increasing security concerns leading to more stringent firewall rules, only some users have been able to use the desktop application since its launch in 2003.
The development of a fully web-based version of the application began in 2003 and the system was first released to users in September 2004. It is this system that you are using by accessing this website. This does not require access across corporate firewalls and so is available to all users. For the foreseeable future it has replaced the desktop application, which is no longer available.
BARS development is supported by a partnership led by Natural England working in association with the Countryside Council for Wales, Scottish Natural Heritage, Northern Ireland Environment Agency, the Wales Biodiversity Partnership, the Environment and Heritage Service, DEFRA and the Environment Agency. This partnership will continue to develop BARS to ensure that it meets the needs of its users.
How does BARS work?
At the heart of BARS is a database hosted on a web server. The BARS database stores the BAP planning and reporting information for all BARS users, who enter their data using a secure browser-based application (i.e. a fully web-based programme). To enter information into the database, users have to be registered. This registration process determines the level of access the user has, ensuring that only relevant data is added to the system and that unauthorised changes are not made.
Via the BARS website users and members of the public are able to search the BARS database for information about BAP implementation, for example to find out about activities underway in their local area. On the website you can also access information on species / habitat targets, status, trends, losses, and threats both at national and local levels. Security features ensure that confidential information (e.g. of the precise location of sites) is not available to unauthorised users or members of the public.
The BARS website also allows registered BARS users to generate a range of sophisticated reports specific to their organisation or LBAP partnership.
Who uses BARS?
BARS has three main user groups:
- Lead Partners and steering group members for UK priority habitat and species action plans. These organisations and individuals have ultimate responsibility for overseeing the delivery of the UK plans and reporting on their implementation.
- LBAP partnerships, especially LBAP co-ordinators. These often involve a diverse partnership of local authorities and organisations.
- Organisations who are delivering BAP, either through local and national plans or who are carrying out BAP work independently. In some cases these organisations may have their own company / organisation BAPs, which can also be entered onto BARS.
Last Modified on: 05-11-2015