Chairman's Introduction

JNCC Chairman Mr Adrian Darby, OBE © JNCCLast October, the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act came into force, modifying the constitution and functions of JNCC. Importantly, the Act incorporated the Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside (the Northern Ireland statutory advisory body) as a fourth constituent body of JNCC, alongside the Countryside Council for Wales, Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage. In parallel with this, the previous references to Great Britain in relation to our advisory, information and common standards functions were replaced by references to the United Kingdom.
The composition of the Joint Committee was also modified, with two members being appointed from each of the four constituent bodies, and the number of independent members being increased from three to five. These changes will improve the balance of the membership of the Committee and we very much welcome them. In line with Government policy, JNCC is now required to carry out its nature conservation functions having regard to the desirability of contributing to sustainable development, thus placing nature conservation in the wider context of society’s needs.
Indeed, JNCC has already been involved in more work with a socio-economic focus, for instance coordinating projects in partnership with the Caribbean Overseas Territories. Part of our new strategy addresses the need to relate nature conservation to social and economic considerations, such as providing an overview on the ecosystem approach as a means for achieving sustainable development, and developing the tools needed for its implementation. Environmental economics workshops for staff, enabling them to prioritise future work in this area, have been a recent fruitful development.
A major success has been the Mapping European Seabed Habitats (MESH) project which has now been extended. A large part of this work for JNCC will comprise a deep-water survey at the edge of the continental shelf in the south-west of the MESH project area, where JNCC’s offshore Natura 2000 programme has identified an area of potential cold-water coral reef habitat.
Adrian Darby OBE
Chairman, JNCC