Annual Report and Accounts for the year ending 31 March 2016
JNCC annual report and accounts for the year 2016

Annual Report and Accounts for year ending 31 March 2016


Chair’s and Chief Executive’s Foreword


JNCC’s annual report for 2015/16 describes the work we have undertaken during the year to fulfil our responsibilities for UK and international nature conservation. Utilising our high-quality scientific expertise, we have provided evidence, advice, coordination and standards to enable the UK Government and devolved administrations to meet their priorities for the natural environment. By helping to achieve a healthy environment we have also contributed to sustainable economic growth and societal well-being.


Our success is a testament to the dedication and enthusiasm of our staff, who have applied their skills and experience to deliver a demanding work programme over the course of the year. We also could not have been successful without the enduring partnerships we have forged with other organisations – with the country nature conservation bodies in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with UK and devolved government bodies, and with non-governmental organisations.


Many of our activities during 2015/16 were concerned with the provision of high-quality, cost-effective and accessible evidence for marine and terrestrial environments across the UK. The evidence we provide on the status of biodiversity and ecosystem services (and the pressures and activities affecting them) is fundamental to good decision making by governments, environmental bodies, developers and regulators.

  • We continued our longstanding role in providing up-to-date information on status and trends of terrestrial species (birds, butterflies, mammals and plants) through partnerships with non-governmental organisations. In this way we are able to harness the efforts of thousands of volunteer recorders whose contributions are conservatively valued in excess of £8.6 million.
  • We have led the way in testing the application of new technologies. We played a key role in establishing and coordinating a large suite of projects for the Defra network Earth Observation Centre of Excellence, demonstrating how remote-sensed information can be used to meet a wide range of policy needs.
  • In the marine environment we completed seabed habitat monitoring surveys in English and Scottish waters, visiting five offshore Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Through an online portal we provided updated habitat maps for UK waters, which provide essential information for a wide range of users.  
  • We provided open access to over 1,000 environmental data sets for use by industry, academic institutions and others.


JNCC facilitates joint working to provide solutions and standards that meet the diverse needs of a devolved UK. Collaboration provides opportunities for partners to boost resource efficiency by sharing learning, avoiding duplication and benefiting from economies of scale.

  • We published the 2015 annual update of the UK biodiversity indicators, a set of 24 indicators and 50 measures that illustrate progress towards international targets, for example under the Convention on Biological Diversity.
  • From 1 January 2016 we took on the role of UK National Contact Point for the EU LIFE programme on behalf of Defra and devolved administrations. In this role JNCC will support the preparation of robust funding bids from UK bodies, enabling the UK to make the best possible use of available funds.
  • We provided scientific advice to Governments to achieve sustainable management of the UK’s marine environment, including advising on the Programme of Measures under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and leading the development of marine biodiversity indicators.


JNCC is responsible for advising on nature conservation in the UK’s offshore waters (beyond 12 nautical miles from the shore). As in previous years, the focus of our work in 2015/16 was supporting UK Government and devolved administrations in achieving their obligations for establishing an ecologically coherent network of well-managed marine protected areas.

  • We provided scientific advice to UK and devolved ministers on proposed Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) for harbour porpoise in UK waters, and coordinated a consultation on proposed sites within the waters of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • We advised Defra on the identification of offshore sites within a second tranche of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs), leading to designation of 23 sites in January 2016 (including seven offshore sites).
  • We provided scientific advice in support of a public consultation on Special Protection Areas (SPAs) in English and Welsh territorial waters and UK offshore waters.
  • Following designation of offshore sites, we worked with governments to develop fisheries management measures, and continued to provide advice to developers and regulators on offshore industries.


JNCC has a crucial role to play in enabling UK governments to meet their international obligations effectively and efficiently.

  • Through participation in UK delegations and provision of scientific advice on a wide range of issues, we supported effective implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and its subsidiary agreements. Wildlife trade was a high priority, and we advised on approximately 17,000 CITES licence applications during the year.
  • We helped to protect the globally important biodiversity of the UK’s Overseas Territories Biodiversity Strategy, through targeted provision of technical advice and support for regional initiatives aiming to share knowledge and build capacity.


2015/16 was a year much concerned with the future of JNCC. The Joint Committee endorsed a new draft strategy for the organisation, as a basis for discussion with stakeholders. The strategy builds on JNCC’s track record as a highly cost-effective model for providing evidence-based advice, and sets out how we intent to extend the reach and utility of our work, using natural capital as a guiding principle. We will achieve this by being responsive to the changing nature of devolution in the UK, diversifying and increasing income generation, making use of scientific and technological innovations, and continuing to search for efficiencies in all aspects of our business.


In December 2015, Defra and devolved administrations launched a review of JNCC with the aim of establishing the most effective and efficient delivery model, across the UK, for the functions performed by the JNCC, now and in the future. The review is due to conclude in June 2016.


In April 2016 JNCC celebrated its 25th anniversary. JNCC has changed greatly during this period, and has remained relevant and influential by flexing in response to changing circumstances and taking on new priorities. During 2016/17 we look forward to leading JNCC through the changes arising from the review and setting a clear direction for the future through our refreshed strategy. We will continue to deliver an ambitious and wide-ranging programme of work on behalf of our sponsor administrations, as set out in our business plan for 2016/17.


Professor CA Gilligan (Chair)      Mr MJM Yeo (Chief Executive)
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ISBN 978-1-4741-2897-1
Please cite as: , (2016), Annual Report and Accounts for the year ending 31 March 2016, ISBN 978-1-4741-2897-1