Chair's Introduction


Welcome to the Summer 2012 edition of Nature News.  While membership of the JNCC Chair, Peter BridgewaterJoint Committee has been rather stable for the last year, in March we said vale to Deputy Chair Professor Lynda Warren and in June to David Crawley (who represented Scottish Natural Heritage).  Both have had long and distinguished periods of service on Committee and made very strong contributions. Lynda chaired the Marine Protected Area sub-group, a post now taken over by Bob Brown, and David sat on the Audit and Risk Management Committee, a most important part of JNCC‘s governance.  We are truly grateful for their valuable contributions.  However, as one door closes another opens; and stepping through it is Professor Michel Kaiser from Bangor University as a new independent member of the Committee – whose expertise in matters marine will go some way to stemming the loss of Lynda’s expertise.


While on the salty bits, this has been an incredibly busy time for our marine staff, who, in conjunction with Natural England have worked tirelessly to prepare formal advice on recommended Marine Conservation Zones (rMCZs) for Defra. This advice comprises over 1,000 pages and is the culmination of two years work.   Defra will initiate a three-month public consultation in December 2012, and ministers will then use the results of this consultation and other evidence to make decisions on site designations.


North of the border, JNCC have been working with SNH to prepare advice on Marine Protected Areas, to be submitted to Marine Scotland in November 2012. This follows a number of stakeholder workshops held recently. 


Work also continues on finalising recommendations for marine sites under the Birds and Habitat Directives, utilising the best available evidence.


All-in-all this flurry of work in the marine environment means that the UK is making good progress in developing a coherent network of marine protected areas that will make a key contribution to the Convention on Biological Diversity target to have 10% of marine habitat in protected area status by 2020.


In this issue we also report on the review of implementation of the EU Habitats and Birds Directives in England. JNCC has a key role in implementing some of the measures identified, especially in relation to the quantity and quality of evidence. Where there are implications for UK-wide nature conservation we will provide advice and information to the nature conservation bodies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. 


A really enjoyable part of my work is recognising the work done by groups such as The Midweek Muckers.  The Muckers are the 2011 winners of the Blue Turtle Award.  This dedicated volunteer group ‘muck-in’ regularly to help with the management of Manx Wildlife Trusts’ 255 acres of wildlife habitat – part of which is a component of the Ballaugh Curragh, the Isle of man’s Ramsar site.


Peter Bridgewater, Chair, JNCC



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