Information and Advsiory Note Number 64, January 1997
1.1 This Note outlines the work of the Freshwater and Upland Lead Co-ordination
1.2 Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the Nature Conservancy Council was dissolved, to be replaced by the three Country Agencies and JNCC. Section 133 of the Act sets out those nature conservation functions which, rather than being undertaken separately by the Country Agencies, are discharged through the JNCC. These are mainly GB-wide matters and are referred to as ‘special functions’. The special functions comprise:
1.3 In 1992, the JNCC considered the establishment of networks to enable the Country Agencies, rather than JNCC support staff, to undertake these special functions. In 1993 the Freshwater LCN was established and the Uplands LCN followed in 1994.
1.4 The Networks have a particularly important role in providing unified advice on GB matters when (i) issues require the Country Agencies to agree a complementary policy (e.g. species introductions); (ii) a common position needs to be determined; and (iii) a single integrated response is needed (e.g. proposals for Special Areas of Conservation).
2.1 One of the Country Agencies leads and chairs each of the LCNs. At present, the Freshwater and Upland LCNs are led from SNH, whilst the Woodland and Lowland Grassland LCNs are led from EN and CCW respectively. Staff from all the Country Agencies are then appointed as Network members who are jointly responsible for carrying out its work. The LCNs also have an ‘observer’ from the Environment and Heritage Service of the DoE, Northern Ireland.
2.2 The LCNs have been established initially for three years, and each has an appointed Network Officer to undertake project work, co-ordinate responses, collate data, produce material on behalf of the Network, provide information to Network members and administer the Network.
3.1 The work programme for each LCN includes the following areas:
Biodiversity Action Plans
Millennium Bid - National Biodiversity Network
Dissemination of knowledge
4.1 The main area of work of the FLCN is provision of GB freshwater advice (mainly to JNCC). Recently, work has included: providing information on the area and distribution of Annex I freshwater habitats and Annex II freshwater species; recommendations on species for inclusion on Schedule 9, Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981; comments on the EC ‘Wise Use and Conservation of Wetlands’ communication; consideration of the VCO comments on potential freshwater SAC consultation list; production of Biodiversity Action Plan drafts and costed Action Plans for freshwater habitats.
4.2 Evaluating, selecting and monitoring areas for conservation is another area of work for the FLCN. Work recently undertaken includes: consideration of non-ornithological criteria for Ramsar site selection; consideration of river SSSI/SAC boundaries; assessment of the freshwater types in the NCR series; and work on SERCON (System for Evaluating Rivers for Conservation).
4.3 The FLCN maintains a rivers database and is currently discussing three further databases for standing waters, fish and freshwater literature. Three issues of ‘Freshwater news’ are produced annually, and an occasional newsletter is produced, for the International Association of Limnology (SIL).
5.1 The ULCN provides advice on upland and peatland issues in a GB context. Recent work has included: provision of information on the area and distribution of Annex I upland and peatland habitats; drafting the explanatory notes for the Habitats Directive site list; analysis of VCO comments on potential SACs for uplands and peatlands; drafting Biodiversity Action Plans, habitat statements and costed habitat action plans; proposals for additional Annex I habitat types and issuing guidance on upland definitions.
5.2 Provision of advice on government consultations includes input to the European Inter-governmental Consultation on Sustainable Mountain Development (UNCED Agenda 21). The ULCN has led the European contribution to the assessment of the conservation importance of peatland, moorland and tundra habitats for birds.
5.3 Reporting on, and evaluating UK upland nature conservation features forms part of the ULCN work: e.g. developing the GB uplands site-vegetation database, Work is underway on developing guidance for habitat condition assessments and land management advice. The ULCN produces a newsletter twice a year.
Environmental Protection Act 1990. Chapter 43. HMSO, London.
For further information also contact:
Dr Phil Boon (Chair, Freshwater LCN) and Dr Des Thompson (Chair, Uplands LCN)
Tel: 0131-447 4784