Annual Report and Accounts for the year ending 31 March 2018

 

Chair's and Chief Executive's Foreword 

 

During 2017/18, JNCC utilised our unique blend of skills and cost-effective working arrangements to fulfil our role as an impartial scientific authority on UK and international nature conservation. We provided evidence and advice on a wide range of topics to enable the four government administrations in the UK to meet their environmental priorities.

 

Change was a constant theme throughout the year, as we responded to emerging challenges and opportunities, guided by our new strategy. Preparations for the UK’s exit from the EU in 2019 loomed large in our thinking. We also looked to the future in other respects, for example by continuing to embed a natural capital approach in our work and diversifying our funding.

 

A selection of highlights from the year is summarised below.

 

  • JNCC continued to lead ground-breaking work on the use of Earth Observation data through the Defra Centre of Excellence, utilising data from the Sentinel satellites operated by the European Space Agency. We delivered an alpha platform to provide users in government and beyond with cost-effective access to analysis-ready satellite data. JNCC’s work in this area is demonstrating the enormous potential for Earth Observation to transform environmental monitoring and assessment.

 

  • JNCC made substantial progress towards developing a marine biodiversity monitoring programme for the UK. We completed the development of options for monitoring key components of biodiversity, and then worked with partners in the Healthy and Biologically Diverse Seas Evidence Group to review proposed levels of monitoring for the full range of marine biodiversity (seabirds, cetaceans, benthic, pelagic, seals and fish). The review will inform advice to ministers on an integrated and cost-effective marine monitoring programme for UK waters.

 

  • Using specialist analytical skills, JNCC related various physical and land cover/type parameters with biodiversity to produce models of biodiversity occurrence. These models have been developed into a module that is being used in tools that support decision-making based on natural capital approaches.

 

  • August 2017 was the 10th anniversary of offshore marine conservation regulations. Over the past 10 years, JNCC has provided advice to enable governments in the UK to designate 54 offshore marine protected areas (MPAs) covering 21% of the UK’s exclusive economic zone.  This has made a major contribution to protecting marine biodiversity and delivering the UK’s commitment to put in place a well-managed network of MPAs in UK waters. During 2017/18 we provided advice to Defra to support designation of a third tranche of Marine Conservation Zones in English waters and supported all administrations in the development of management measures for offshore MPAs.

 

  • In June 2017, the OSPAR Commission published its Intermediate Assessment for the North-East Atlantic detailing human pressures on the marine environment, their effects and the implications for biodiversity. The assessment is the culmination of a six-year research and development process to produce new indicators of the state of the marine ecosystem. JNCC has provided strong scientific leadership within OSPAR by helping to develop a suite of marine biodiversity indicators.

 

  • Using funds from the FCO Conflict, Stability and Security Fund, JNCC is implementing a suite of natural capital projects across four Caribbean and all South Atlantic Overseas Territories, working in close collaboration with the Territories. The projects are due to be completed in 2018. Substantial progress was made during the year, in particular linking JNCC’s expertise in use of Earth Observation data for spatial mapping and analysis to economic techniques for valuing ecosystem goods and services. In response to the severe 2017 hurricanes, JNCC is prioritising work in Caribbean Territories that demonstrates the value of the natural environment in mitigating the impacts of storm surge and flooding.

 

  • JNCC supported Defra at the 12th Conference of the Parties (CoP) to the Convention on Migratory Species in October 2017 and contributed to the development of EU positions beforehand. JNCC took high profile roles in both the terrestrial and avian species working groups at the CoP, and led for the EU on national reporting and indicators. JNCC staff also contributed, on behalf of the EU, to negotiations on a resolution on migratory species and climate change.

 

  • JNCC continued to make good progress in diversifying and increasing income. In 2017/18 we received £1,410k additional income, an increase of 42% compared to the previous year. Sources of income included government departments, EU grants and wider markets. The additional income enables JNCC to maintain its critical mass of specialist expertise and to invest in developing the organisation.

 

  • The exemplary dedication and enthusiasm of JNCC’s staff have been at the heart of all that we achieved during the year. Success would also not have been possible without the contributions made by many partner organisations. We are very grateful to them all.

 

  • Looking forward to 2018/19, we will again deliver a wide-ranging programme of work to meet the requirements of government administrations and other customers. We will meet current priorities for UK and international nature conservation while working with governments to prepare for the future.

 

Professor CA Gilligan (Chair)                                                        Mr MJM Yeo (Chief Executive)

 

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