Annual Report and Accounts for Year Ending 31 March 2015
JNCC annual report and accounts for the year 2015

Annual Report and Accounts for year ending 31 March 2015


Chair’s and Chief Executive’s Foreword


During 2014/15 JNCC successfully implemented a diverse programme of work relating to UK and international nature conservation. Our evidence and advice enabled our funding and sponsoring bodies (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government, and the Northern Ireland Executive) to meet their legislative and policy priorities, and also generated significant economic value.

The provision of up-to-date UK biodiversity data remained at the heart of our activities in 2014/15. These data are used for a wide range of purposes, including meeting reporting obligations under EU Directives, informing policy development, and helping developers and regulators meet environmental requirements. JNCC’s approach is highly cost-effective, through economies of scale and the use of volunteer recorders (with an estimated annual added value of over £5 million).

  • Through partnerships with non-governmental organisations we provided updated information on status and trends of 288 terrestrial species (birds, butterflies and mammals) across the UK.
  • We evolved our approaches to meet changing policy requirements and to utilise technological advances. We finalised plans for the launch of a new UK-wide plant surveillance programme in 2015 and advised on the use of remote-sensed data for multi-purpose habitat maps.
  • In the marine environment, we undertook surveys to test monitoring options in English and Scottish waters. We completed a prioritised plan for monitoring offshore marine protected areas, and made substantial progress in developing advice to Governments on options for monitoring seabirds.


We continued to maintain and develop UK standards and solutions concerning biodiversity evidence and its application. Consistent, streamlined and cost-effective approaches enable a wide range of users to collect and use evidence in a standard way, provide certainty and clarity for government and industry, and inform regulation, management, use and protection of the environment.

  • We published revised guidelines for the selection of Sites of Special Scientific Interest in England, Scotland and Wales for lowland grasslands.
  • We published an annual update of the UK biodiversity indicators, containing information on progress towards meeting EU and international goals and providing an authoritative picture of the health of the environment in the UK.
  • To meet the requirements of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive and other legislation, we commissioned research to improve the UK’s ability to undertake marine biodiversity assessments, and provided technical advice on biodiversity indicators.
  • We provided strategic advice to address key nature conservation challenges associated with offshore industry (e.g. in relation to seabirds and windfarms) through development and leadership of collaborative research projects, and engagement in externally-led collaborative projects and fora.


During the year we continued to advise governments on the identification of marine protected areas to meet the requirements of UK legislation and the EU Habitats and Birds 2 Directives. As well as protecting vulnerable habitats and species, marine protected areas are incorporated into marine plans, which will manage demands for the use of the marine environment, and incorporate environmental protection into decision making.

  • We provided formal advice to Defra on a second tranche of Marine Conservation Zones (including seven offshore sites, and supported Defra in their public consultation.
  • Scottish Government designated 30 Nature Conservation Marine Protected Areas (including 13 sites in offshore waters), based on advice from JNCC and Scottish Natural Heritage.
  • We provided advice to governments on proposals for draft Special Areas of Conservation for harbour porpoise, to meet the requirements of the EU Habitats Directive.


JNCC provided advice to government to ensure cost-effective UK compliance with international and EU environmental obligations.

  • We participated in and supported the UK delegations to key meetings of two major multilateral environmental agreements (the 12th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity and the 11th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species).
  • We worked with partners to achieve environmental priorities in the UK’s Overseas Territories, for example by managing a “green economy” project in the Turks and Caicos and supporting the Anguillan Government in undertaking a National Ecosystem Assessment.


Our achievements reflect the hard work and enthusiasm of our staff throughout the year. Mutually supportive partnerships have also contributed to our successes: with the country nature conservation bodies in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with UK and devolved government bodies, and with non-governmental organisations. We thank all of them.


Looking forward, JNCC will deliver a demanding work programme for 2015/16, as described in our business plan. We will be flexible and responsive to reflect changing political circumstances and to meet the ongoing drive for increased efficiency and reduced costs.


In 2014/15 we initiated a revision of our long-term strategy that will be completed in the coming year, in consultation with Governments and partners. Our evolving strategy reflects the importance of framing nature conservation and environmental management within new approaches that take account of the wide range of benefits that nature provides for society. We will continue to build on our strengths: our UK remit, our strong technical expertise, our skills at partnership working, and our success in operating at the science-policy interface. We propose to develop our evidence activities to support a natural capital and ecosystems services approach. Associated with this, we intend to broaden our customer and resource base to include a wider range of decision-takers in the public and private sectors, and optimise partnership working.


Professor CA Gilligan (Chair)      Mr MJM Yeo (Chief Executive)
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ISBN 9781474117302
Please cite as: , (2015), Annual Report and Accounts for Year Ending 31 March 2015, ISBN 9781474117302