Chair’s Introduction

 

Peter Bridgewater, Chair, JNCC

Welcome to the 17th issue of Nature News, JNCC’s journal that informs the world about the work we do, and the partnerships we make to help further nature conservation around the globe.

 

There have been recent changes to our Committee.  We bid farewell to Bryan Riddleston, Lucinda Blakiston Houston and David Ingram.  I would like to thank all of them for their contributions to our work, and in particular David, who has been with us since 1999, initially as a representative of Scottish Natural Heritage, before becoming an independent member – and doing a fine job as Deputy Chair in the last years.

 

At this stage, I am able to welcome two new Committee members - Dr Ieuan Joyce from the Countryside Council for Wales, and Patrick Casement, Chairman of the Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside.  This issue, we are able to learn a lot more about Patrick via his Conservation Conversation article on the back page.  I know from feedback I have received that many of you find this regular feature of Nature News both useful and highly entertaining!

 

One area not touched upon this issue is that JNCC has been running a public consultation on seven marine sites that have been selected as draft Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) under the Habitats Directive. Although the consultation is open to anyone, around 400 organisations and individuals were specifically invited to take part. We have held meetings with key stakeholders, such as those in the oil and gas industry, fishermen’s organisations and government agencies, to explain how the consultation is being run and answer any questions they may have.

 

The closing date for responses was 14 March, and by June we expect to have incorporated the results into our site recommendations, before submitting them to Government. We will be running a similar consultation for the Dogger Bank draft SAC later this year, followed by further consultations in 2009.  The next issue of Nature News will have an in-depth feature on this significant piece of JNCC’s work.

 

This issue carries the latest update from the Tracking Mammals Partnership, and the background to the delivery of the second Habitats Directive Report to Europe.  You’ll also discover how JNCC is involved in the proposal of an international agreement to conserve endangered migratory birds of prey in Europe, Africa and Asia. 

 

We investigate the links between health and biodiversity – not a traditional area of work for JNCC, but we can assist the health community through many strands of our work, as demonstrated at COHAB 2008, the Second International Conference on Health and Biodiversity. There is no doubt that security for food and energy, and health issues, will become key themes in the next decade.  The challenge for the conservation community to grapple with is how to balance all this with advancing conservation.

 

I hope you enjoy the issue, and I welcome any feedback and input you may have.

 

Peter Bridgewater

Chair, JNCC