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The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) is the public body that advises the UK Government and devolved administrations on UK-wide and international nature conservation.
Originally established under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, JNCC was reconstituted by the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006.
JNCC is led by the Joint Committee, which brings together members from the nature conservation bodies for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and independent members appointed by the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs under an independent chair.
Support is provided to the committee by a company set up and controlled by the Committee solely for that purpose. The company employs around 130 people. They bring together scientific and technical expertise, extensive knowledge of policy at global, European and national levels and skills in working with other organisations. Staff are based in offices in Peterborough and Aberdeen.
The Joint Committee leads JNCC and has overall responsibility for its work. The Accountability Framework Document, Management Statement and Financial Memorandum provide the legal, administrative and financial framework within which the Joint Committee operates.
The membership of the committee is defined in schedule 4 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. Current members are as below.
The committee meets four times in March, June, September and November. Members discuss strategic nature conservation and organisational issues as well as making high-level advice, strategy, funding and planning decisions.
The committee is committed to the principle of open government and has been holding open meetings since 2001. Members of the public are welcome to attend meetings as observers except when confidential issues are being discussed. Agendas and committee papers are made available one week ahead of meetings and draft minutes six weeks later. Inter-sessional papers, provided between committee meetings, are also available. Meetings are run in accordance with a set of standing orders.
A Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in Great Britain or an Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI) in the Isle of Man and Northern Ireland is a conservation designation denoting a protected area in the United Kingdom and Isle of Man. SSSI/ASSIs are the basic building block of site-based nature conservation legislation and most other legal nature/geological conservation designations in the United Kingdom are based upon them, including national nature reserves, Ramsar sites, Special Protection Areas, and Special Areas of Conservation. The acronym "SSSI" is often pronounced "triple-S I".
A Special Area of Conservation (SAC) is defined in the European Union's Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC), also known as the Directive on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Fauna and Flora. They are to protect the 220 habitats and approximately 1,000 species listed in annex I and II of the directive which are considered to be of European interest following criteria given in the directive. They must be chosen from the Sites of Community Importance by the member states and designated SAC by an act assuring the conservation measures of the natural habitat.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature is an international organization working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. It is involved in data gathering and analysis, research, field projects, advocacy, and education. IUCN's mission is to "influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable".
English Nature was the United Kingdom government agency that promoted the conservation of wildlife, geology and wild places throughout England between 1990 and 2006. It was a non-departmental public body funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and gave statutory advice, grants and issued licences.
NatureScot, which was formerly known as Scottish Natural Heritage, is the public body responsible for Scotland's natural heritage, especially its natural, genetic and scenic diversity. It advises the Scottish Government and acts as a government agent in the delivery of conservation designations, i.e. national nature reserves, local nature reserves, national parks, Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), Special Areas of Conservation, Special Protection Areas and the national scenic areas. The protected areas in Scotland account for 20% of the total area, SSSIs alone 13%. NatureScot receives annual funding from the Government in the form of Grant in Aid to deliver Government priorities for the natural heritage.
The Countryside Council for Wales, a Welsh Government Sponsored Body, was, until 31 March 2013, the wildlife conservation, landscape and countryside access authority for Wales. It was merged with Forestry Commission Wales, and Environment Agency Wales to form Natural Resources Wales, a single body managing Wales's environment and natural resources, on 1 April 2013.
The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 is an Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom implemented to comply with European Council Directive 2009/147/EC on the conservation of wild birds. In short, the act gives protection to native species, controls the release of non-native species, enhances the protection of Sites of Special Scientific Interest and builds upon the rights of way rules in the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949. The Act is split into 4 parts covering 74 sections; it also includes 17 schedules.
The Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, also known as the Bern Convention, is a binding international legal instrument in the field of Nature Conservation, it covers the natural heritage in Europe, as well as in some African countries. The Convention was open for signature on 19 September 1979 and came into force on 1 June 1982. It is particularly concerned about protecting natural habitats and endangered species, including migratory species.
The Council for British Archaeology (CBA) was established in 1944 and is an educational charity working throughout the United Kingdom to involve people in archaeology and to promote the appreciation and care of the historic environment for the benefit of present and future generations. It achieves this by promoting research, conservation and education, and by widening access to archaeology through effective communication and participation.
The International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC) is a politically independent not-for-profit international organisation, aiming to preserve wildlife through the promotion of sustainable use of wildlife resources. The acronym CIC comes from the organisation’s original French name Conseil International de la Chasse.
Natural England is a non-departmental public body in the United Kingdom sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. It is responsible for ensuring that England's natural environment, including its land, flora and fauna, freshwater and marine environments, geology and soils, are protected and improved. It also has a responsibility to help people enjoy, understand and access the natural environment.
The Nature Conservancy Council (NCC) was a United Kingdom government agency responsible for designating and managing National Nature Reserves and other nature conservation areas in Great Britain between 1973 and 1991.
The United Kingdom Biodiversity Action Plan or (UK BAP) was the UK government's response to the Convention on Biological Diversity, opened for signature at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. The UK was the first country to produce a national Biodiversity Action Plan. It was published in 1994 and created action plans for priority species and habitats in the UK that were most under threat so as to support their recovery.
Wildlife and Countryside Link (Link) brings together voluntary organisations in the UK to protect and enhance wildlife, landscape and the marine environment and to further the quiet enjoyment and appreciation of the countryside. Link currently has 49 members who collectively employ 9,600 full-time staff, have the help of 170,000 volunteers and the support of over 8 million people in the UK. Members are united by their common interest in the conservation and enjoyment of the natural and historic environment.
The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is an executive non-departmental public body in the United Kingdom established under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009, with responsibility for English waters. The MMO exists to make a significant contribution to sustainable development in the marine area, and to promote the UK government's vision for clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas. The MMO aims to focus all of its activities and resources to meet its mission of enabling sustainable growth in the UK's marine area through 5 strategic outcomes:
The Natural Capital Committee (NCC) is an independent body set up in 2012, initially for a three-year period, to report to the UK Government and advise on how to value nature and to ensure England's ‘natural wealth’ is managed efficiently and sustainably. During its first term it produced three reports to government on the 'State of Natural Capital'. It has called on the Office for National Statistics to integrate the state of the country's natural assets into mainstream national accounting.
A Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) is a type of marine nature reserve in UK waters. They were established under the Marine and Coastal Access Act (2009) and are areas designated with the aim to protect nationally important, rare or threatened habitats and species. Approximately 20% of UK waters now have some protection although some conservation, fisherman and wildlife groups are concerned that there are no management plans for each zone.
The UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum (UKOTCF), also known as Overseas Territories Conservation, is a UK-based non-governmental organisation which promotes coordinated conservation in the UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies. It is a not-for-profit organisation supported by grants, donations and subscriptions, and a registered charity and company.
Many parts of Scotland are protected in accordance with a number of national and international designations because of their environmental, historical or cultural value. Protected areas can be divided according to the type of resource which each seeks to protect. NatureScot has various roles in the delivery of many environmental designations in Scotland, i.e. those aimed at protecting flora and fauna, scenic qualities and geological features. Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designations that protect sites of historic and cultural importance. Some international designations, such as World Heritage Sites, can cover both categories of site.
This article gives an overview of the structure of environmental and cultural conservation in Scotland, a constituent country of the United Kingdom.