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Why we need the Joint Nature Conservation Committee

While not everyone in the environment sector has heard of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee – known as the JNCC – they will definitely have benefited from it. The JNCC is the public body that advises the UK Government and devolved administrations on UK-wide and international nature conservation. At the same time, it provides a wide range of services that benefit NGOs across the UK in their collective efforts to secure the recovery and protection of the natural environment.

January 2016

So, why stress the need for this public body? The JNCC’s future is uncertain because the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is currently reviewing JNCC’s effectiveness and wants to know to what extent it provides value for money. 26 members of Link together with our sister Links – collectively known as Environment Links UK – believe JNCC provides excellent value for investment of taxpayer’s money for many reasons.

JNCC provides high quality knowledge, expertise and scientific evidence to underpin effective Government policymaking and bring benefits to the economy and to society. It ensures that the UK is well represented in Europe, particularly in delivering and reporting on its obligations under the EU Nature Directives. JNCC also provides impartial evidence-based advice, recognising and supporting the importance of consistent, long-term monitoring of the natural environment to ensure safeguarding of the natural capital and ecosystem services upon which the long-term sustainability of the UK economy depends. And, expertise within JNCC plays a very important role in driving up delivery standards to a number of Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) and Directives.

And, if the JNCC was to go? The answer’s simple - the cost of devolving JNCC activities to country agencies would be significantly higher than being carried out by the JNCC, with serious duplication of effort and a lack of consistency and highest quality data collection and analysis. JNCC is the only organisation to advise the UK Government and the devolved administrations while implementing the UK reporting responsibilities. It also provides data and evidence that is applicable and useful at both the country and UK level. For the UK to retain a leadership role when it comes to international environmental issues, we absolutely have to keep the JNCC.

Read our full response to the JNCC review here.

Dr Elaine King

Director, Wildlife and Countryside Link

Find me on Twitter at @ElaineWCL

The 26 Wildlife and Countryside Link members supporting the Environment Links UK response were:

  • Amphibian and Reptile Conservation
  • A Rocha UK
  • Badger Trust
  • Bat Conservation Trust
  • British Ecological Society
  • Born Free Foundation
  • Buglife - The Invertebrate Conservation Trust
  • Bumblebee Conservation Trust
  • Butterfly Conservation
  • Environmental Investigation Agency
  • Freshwater Habitats Trust
  • Friends of the Earth England
  • Humane Society International UK
  • International Fund for Animal Welfare UK
  • Marine Conservation Society
  • National Trust
  • Plantlife
  • Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
  • Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
  • Salmon and Trout Conservation UK
  • The Rivers Trust
  • The Wildlife Trusts
  • Whale and Dolphin Conservation
  • Woodland Trust
  • Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust
  • WWF-UK

The Environment Links UK response was also supported by a total of 87 organisations from Northern Ireland Environment Link, Scottish Environment Link and Wales Environment Link.

The opinions expressed in this blog are the author’s and not necessarily those of the wider Link membership