Rationale and criteria for the identification of nationally important marine nature conservation features and areas in the UK. Version 02.11.
(2002)
Prepared for the Review of Marine Nature Conservation by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, the statutory nature conservation agencies and Wildlife and Countryside Link
Connor, D.W., Breen, J., Champion, A., Gilliland, P.M., Huggett, D., Johnston, C., Laffoley, D. D'a., Lieberknecht, L., Lumb, C., Ramsey, K., & Shardlow, M.

Background

 
This paper has been prepared to contribute to the work of Defra's Review of Marine Nature Conservation (RMNC). At the 11th meeting of the RMNC Working Group in June 2002 it was agreed that the JNCC would take forward the work identified in the RMNC work programme on nationally important sites, habitats and species. This was to be undertaken, in the first instance, as follows:
 
  • Preparation, through a sub-group of the RMNC, of a 'criteria' paper for the identification of nationally important sites, habitats and species, based on the paper submitted to the RMNC by Laffoley et al. (2000a). The paper should include guidance on applying the criteria and should be presented to the RMNC working group at its 12th meeting in November 2002.

 

  • The refined criteria would be applied to the Irish Sea as part of the Irish Sea Pilot Scheme, with the aim of mapping nationally important sites, species and habitats for that area by March 2003.

 

  • The Pilot would test the effectiveness of the draft criteria and further refinement would be made to them in the light of lessons learned.

 

This paper builds upon the approaches given in Laffoley et al. (2000a, b), reports for the RMNC that outlined the nature and role of nationally important seascapes, habitats and species in the context of developing a framework for marine nature conservation and outlined criteria for identifying them.
 

Scope of the paper

 

This paper further elaborates on the purpose of identifying marine features (see section 4.2 regarding use of the term 'feature') and areas of national importance as outlined in Laffoley et al. (2000a), providing more detailed criteria and offering an approach to the application of these criteria.
 
The paper is offered as an outline rationale and suite of criteria, together with indicative threshold values for using these criteria. It has drawn extensively upon existing work in other fora, notably OSPAR, IUCN, SSSI guidelines and the EC Habitats Directive, applying their approaches in a manner considered most suitable for use at national level. Drawing from a variety of sources (both for overarching principles and aims and in the detail of the criteria), aiming to cover the entire range and scale of marine features in the UK, and the need to use assessments at national, regional (i.e. north-east Atlantic) and even global level, mean there inevitably remains some need for further refinement. The approach requires testing to ensure it is appropriate for use at a UK level and across the wide range of marine features it is intended to encompass.
 
 
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This is a working paper : The criteria, particularly the threshold values, and the method of their application remain to be tested and will be adjusted in the light of these tests.

 

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For further information please contact:
Marine Habitats, Monkstone House, City Road, Peterborough PE1 1JY

 

 
Please cite as: This report should be quoted as: Connor, D.W., Breen, J., Champion, A., Gilliland, P.M., Huggett, D., Johnston, C., Laffoley, D. d'A.., Lieberknecht, L., Lumb, C., Ramsay, K., and Shardlow, M. 2002. Rationale and criteria for the identification of nationally important marine nature conservation features and areas in the UK. Version 02.11. Peterborough, Joint Nature Conservation Committee.(on behalf of the statutory nature conservation agencies and Wildlife and Countryside Link) for the Defra Working Group on the Review of Marine Nature Conservation.