Almost the whole of the complex network of policies relating to nature conservation and natural habitats is in a state of flux. This is most obviously true of conservation, which in the four years since the 1981 Act has enjoyed two Private Members’ Bills, one House of Commons Environment Committee Inquiry, and an inordinate number of headlines, editorials and leading articles. One might be pardoned for thinking that this reflected an unequivocal consensus, and that the official action needed was both well understood and widely accepted. Despite the effective work of Wildlife Link in co-ordinating the voluntary bodies, and signs of increasing dynamism from the n c c , this is unfortunately not the case. There are too many new ideas to make the road ahead for conservation completely clear. None the less the inadequacy of some routes is obvious. A great deal will depend on developments in related policy areas.