Chair's Introduction


Welcome to the spring 2013 edition of Nature News. I say spring edition, althoughJNCC Chair, Peter Bridgewater it would seem still be winter over much of the country, but hopefully everyone, including wildlife, can look forward to warmer days.


As highlighted in the previous issues introduction, JNCC is currently being formally reviewed under the Triennial Review process. The next edition of Nature News should contain the key findings from the report, and how we are responding to them. I must say the Joint Committee has been heartened by the largely positive and useful response to the review from stakeholders, and we look forward to continuing and deepening our stakeholder relationships following the review.


At the March Committee meeting we welcomed Helen Anderson from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and said farewell to Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) member Ieuan Joyce, as well as Roger Thomas, Chief Executive of CCW, and thanked them for their excellent service. From 1 April, Natural Resources Wales/Cyfoeth Naturiol have taken over the work done by CCW and we look forward to welcoming the new Board members from NRW at the June meeting.


Consultation on the draft 3rd UK report on implementation of the Habitats Directive, containing assessments of the conservation status of 77 habitats and 123 species, was completed in May and we are now reviewing the comments. JNCC intends to publish the final version of the assessments by autumn 2013.


In March, JNCC was part of the UK delegation to the Conference of Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Bangkok at which landmark decisions on sharks were made. Other global work has been progressing in the Overseas Territories, with a workshop in Anguilla, part of a process to encourage Anguilla and other Overseas Territories to formulate plans to manage the invasive lionfish, now common in Caribbean waters, as well as address other environmental issues relevant to the Caribbean Territories.


On the marine front, staff were out on survey again, this time in the English Channel to gather additional evidence which will shape management advice for two marine protected areas.


Other marine staff attended a workshop in January, looking at novel methods to identify important marine areas for the five tern species breeding in the UK.  Working with other statutory nature conservation bodies to identify important foraging areas at sea, the aim is to propose suitable areas as possible marine Special Protection Areas by December 2013.


Peter Bridgewater, Chair, JNCC



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