Quinquennial review of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee
The Government response to the Quinquennial Review - Stage 2 report, which was published in November 2002 provides the framework for an action plan to address the recommendations.



The Joint Nature Conservation Committee is established under Section 128 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 as the forum through which the three country nature conservation bodies - English Nature (EN), Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) discharge their special statutory responsibilities for nature conservation across Great Britain as a whole and internationally. These responsibilities, known as the "special functions" of the bodies are, broadly: to advise ministers on the development of such wider nature conservation policies; to provide advice and knowledge to anyone on nature conservation issues affecting Great Britain and internationally; to establish common standards throughout Great Britain for the monitoring of nature conservation and for research into nature conservation and the analysis of results, and to commission or support related research.
The special functions, set out in Section 133 of the Act, are broadly drawn and, following devolution, it became difficult to disentangle which of these represented reserved, and which devolved matters. In the ten years since the establishment of JNCC, the focus of its work had shifted from the GB science base to representation of the UK position in European and wider international fora. There was also a need to consider whether Northern Ireland should be brought more fully into the picture. In July 2000 the Department embarked on a review of the JNCC under the supervision of a Steering Group including representatives of the country bodies, and devolved administrations including Northern Ireland, chaired by the Director of Wildlife and Countryside in the then Department for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (since mid-2001 Director of Wildlife, Countryside and Flood Management in Defra).
The Stage 1 report, published in March 2001, recommended that JNCC be abolished and replaced by an independent NDPB, the UK Nature Advisory Council, financed by DETR as was. However, following consultation, there was no clear consensus in favour of setting up a new, UK-wide, NDPB. Indeed, there was considerable opposition to it. The responses highlighted the need to adapt and build on existing arrangements to improve service delivery of advice to Government. The main areas were to improve the interpretation of the special functions in the light of devolution, staffing arrangements, funding arrangements, corporate planning and constitution of the joint committee.

Government Response

The Stage 2 report was published in January 2002 on Defra and JNCC Web-sites. The document attached sets out the recommendations of the report and the response of Government - including the devolved administrations - to them. As the recommendations in the report were scattered throughout, these have been grouped by theme.


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Please cite as: JNCC, Quinquennial review of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee