Military Activities

 

The UK Ministry of Defence is responsible for protecting the security, independence and interests of the UK at home and abroad.  JNCC provides advice to the Ministry of Defence on the Ministry’s activities in the marine environment in order to help meet its environmental obligations as captured in the Secretary of State for Defence policy statement on health, safety and environmental protection.  JNCC provides advice on activities beyond 12nm, and also acts as the coordinating body on behalf of the Statutory Nature Conservation Bodies* for providing advice at the UK level on military activities in the marine environment. 

 

Marine Protected AreasInteractive layer in use

As part of its Marine Environment and Sustainability Assessment Tool (MESAT), the Royal Navy has produced an interactive military layer for use on its electronic charts to provide advice on the suitability of military activities in the vicinity of designated marine protected areas across the UK’s marine area.  These electronic charts are used by Navy Commanders and other operational planners to ensure that military activities in the marine environment minimise their environmental impact. Environmental Protection Guidelines (Maritime) (EPG(M)) have been developed over the past few years in consultation with JNCC on behalf of the UK SNCBs.   The process used to develop the EPG(M) has been endorsed by the SNCBs, and the Royal Navy and JNCC have signed a Statement of Intent committing to the new guidelines and endorsing the innovative approach taken in developing them.

 

The latest version of the EPG(M) offers guidance for the UK marine area only, but work is underway to expand the tool to cover EU waters, UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies, and MPAs in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction.

 

Sonar

The Royal Navy uses a computer decision tool (S2117) to guide ship commanders on the minimisation of the environmental impacts from use of sonar. JNCC provides (via the UK Hydrographic Office) some of the underlying data on the distribution of marine mammals as well as the information used in MESAT. JNCC participates in technical reviews of the tool, advising on upgrades and providing views on the degree to which the tool meets legislative requirements. JNCC also helps the Royal Navy keep abreast of relevant scientific research findings and wider policy developments.

 

Joint Warrior Exercises

Joint Warrior exercises are planned and conducted by the MOD Joint Tactical Exercise Planning Staff (JTEPS) and generally take place every spring and autumn. They provide a joint, multi-threat environment in which UK, NATO and Allied units and their staffs may undertake collective training and pre-deployment training in tactical formation for employment in a Combined Joint Task Force. These exercises can utilise the whole of the UK including the surrounding seas and airspace however the exercises have traditionally been concentrated around the NW of Scotland.  For each Joint Warrior exercise, an Environmental Statement is prepared which JNCC considers and provides advice on. The Environmental Statement summaries the environmental planning considerations which encompass the use of EPG(M), s2117 tool and other standard operating procedures in order to minimise the possible effects the exercise might have on the marine environment.

JNCC also provides advice on other military activity as and when it is requested by the MOD.

 

*The UK’s Statutory Nature Conservation Bodies include Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Natural England, Scottish Natural Heritage, Natural Resources Wales and Northern Ireland DOENI Marine Division.