Guidance and Policy


Statutory provisions

The nature conservation agencies have a duty under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, as amended, to notify any area of land which in their opinion is 'of special interest by reason of any of its flora, fauna, or geological or physiographical features'. Such areas are known as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs). The notification is made to owners and occupiers, local planning authority and the Secretary of State, who may make representations or objections to the nature conservation agencies regarding the notification. Any representation or objection made must be considered by the nature conservation agencies before a decision is made by them to confirm the notification.
In 1989 the then Nature Conservancy Council published guidelines for the selection of biological SSSIs. Since 1991 JNCC has been the focus for the production and revision of the guidelines.



Common Standards Monitoring

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (section 133(d)) one of the special functions to be undertaken through JNCC is the 'establishment of common standards throughout Great Britain for the monitoring of nature conservation...' In the context of protected sites, the development of common standards for monitoring provides two major benefits:

  • It provides country agency staff with a reliable method with which to assess the conservation status of key interest features on their sites. This enables assessments made by different people at different times to be compared with some confidence and enables staff to identify changes taking place on their sites.
  • Assessments from different sites can be aggregated to produce summary reports at a range of geographical scales. This can identify priorities for action at the local and national level. Such aggregation is essential if the UK is to report on the condition of designated sites across the UK, for example to meet the reporting requirements of EU Directives.




JNCC's Position Statements


JNCC’s Committee is in a unique position to be able to formulate and present a common voice for the UK’s country conservation agencies.  Nature conservation’s interests spread across a wide variety of topic areas, and the role of JNCC’s Position Statements are to represent the beliefs of our constituent organisations with one voice.

Environment Policy


The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) will aim to conduct its business and operations to reflect best environmental practice and implement the principles of sustainable development.   We recognise that all of our activities and operations impact on the environment and that we have an obligation to manage and minimise these impacts.

See JNCC Environment policy



Quinquennial Review of Schedules 5 and 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981


Every five years, the statutory nature conservation agencies (Natural England, Natural Resources Wales (formally Countryside Council for Wales) and Scottish Natural Heritage, working jointly through the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), are required to review Schedules 5 and 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, and to make recommendations to the Secretary of State and Ministers for the Environment. Schedule 5 lists animals (other than birds) which are specially protected, and Schedule 8 lists plants (vascular plants, bryophytes, lichens and fungi) which are specially protected.

See Information on Quinquennial Reviews

See Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981