Common Standards Monitoring (CSM)


Common Standards Monitoring review (2018 onwards)

Common Standards Monitoring is under review by JNCC and an inter-agency working group comprising the four statutory nature conservation bodies (Natural England, Natural Resources Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Northern Ireland).

This group is revising the 1998 Statement to address site monitoring priorities and incorporate the large amount of information available through new monitoring methods such as satellite imagery and eDNA. These techniques will work alongside traditional field-based monitoring and the Common Standards Guidance to provide more options for monitoring the UK’s protected sites.


What is Common Standards Monitoring?

One of the key responsibilities of the statutory nature conservation agencies in the UK is the identification and protection of a series of sites intended to conserve important wildlife and earth science features. Such sites may be designated under:

  • National legislation (Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) in Britain and Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSIs) in Northern Ireland);
  • European Directives (Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs)); or
  • International Conventions (Ramsar sites).


Once sites have been designated, the country agencies work with owners, occupiers and others to secure their management and protection.

Common Standards Monitoring is intended to be:

  • A simple, quick, assessment of feature condition;
  • For protected sites (SAC, SPA, Ramsar, SSSI, ASSI);
  • Supported by limited, more detailed monitoring.


'Features' are the species, habitats and geological and geomorphological characteristics for which sites are protected.  For example, they might be:

  • seals, butterflies, breeding birds;
  • woodlands, lagoons, heathlands;
  • fossils, landforms.


The Common Standards Monitoring Report for designated sites was published in June 2006.


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