Welcome to the Summer 2012 edition of Nature
News. While membership of the Joint Committee has been rather stable for the
last year, in March we said vale to Deputy Chair Professor
Lynda Warren and in June to David Crawley (who represented
Scottish Natural Heritage). Both
have had long and distinguished periods of service on Committee and
made very strong contributions. Lynda chaired the Marine Protected
Area sub-group, a post now taken over by Bob Brown, and David sat
on the Audit and Risk Management Committee, a most important part
of JNCC‘s governance. We are truly grateful for their
valuable contributions. However, as one door closes another
opens; and stepping through it is Professor Michel Kaiser from
Bangor University as a new independent member of the Committee –
whose expertise in matters marine will go some way to stemming the
loss of Lynda’s expertise.
While on the salty bits, this has been an
incredibly busy time for our marine staff, who, in conjunction with
Natural England have worked
tirelessly to prepare formal advice on recommended Marine
Conservation Zones (rMCZs) for Defra. This advice comprises
over 1,000 pages and is the culmination of two years
work. Defra will initiate a three-month public
consultation in December 2012, and ministers will then use the
results of this consultation and other evidence to make decisions
on site designations.
North of the border, JNCC have been working
with SNH to prepare advice on Marine Protected
Areas, to be submitted to
Marine Scotland in November 2012. This follows a number of
stakeholder workshops held recently.
Work also continues on finalising
recommendations for marine sites under the Birds and Habitat
Directives, utilising the best available evidence.
All-in-all this flurry of work in the marine
environment means that the UK is making good progress in developing
a coherent network of marine protected areas that will make a key
contribution to the Convention on Biological Diversity target
to have 10% of marine habitat in protected area status by 2020.
In this issue we also report on the review of
implementation of the EU Habitats and Birds Directives in England.
JNCC has a key role in implementing some of the measures
identified, especially in relation to the quantity and quality of
evidence. Where there are implications for UK-wide nature
conservation we will provide advice and information to the nature
conservation bodies in Scotland, Wales and Northern
A really enjoyable part of my work is
recognising the work done by groups such as The Midweek
Muckers. The Muckers are the 2011 winners of the
Award. This dedicated volunteer group ‘muck-in’ regularly
to help with the management of Manx Wildlife Trusts’ 255 acres of
wildlife habitat – part of which is a component of the Ballaugh
Curragh, the Isle of man’s Ramsar site.
Peter Bridgewater, Chair, JNCC
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