Our priorities in a European context
JNCC’s priorities focus on achieving long-term nature and
landscape conservation benefits in the UK, the EU and beyond. In
Europe that involves:
Contributing to biodiversity policy
Biodiversity policy at the European level was formally
recognised at the
European Council in Gothenburg in 2001. There the EU committed
to halting the decline of biodiversity in the EU by 2010.
A commitment, including by the European Union, to a biodiversity
target was also confirmed by the UN Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) in
2002. The target called for a significant reduction in the rate of
biodiversity loss by 2010.
In 2006 the European Commission launched its
Biodiversity Communication and an
Action Plan to achieve the 2010 target. The Action Plan
includes more than 150 measures[ag4] that specify action required
by Member States and the EU Institutions.
Working towards the target requires close co-operation between
the different levels of governance. The target is
unlikely to be met, but European and international
policy-makers are committed to developing a new
target beyond for 2010.
The EU and global targets are delivered through a range of
legislative measures, which place obligations on Member States to
protect biodiversity and the natural environment. Examples include
Directive, the Habitats Directive , the Water
Framework Directive and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.
The European Community
Biodiversity Clearing House Mechanism website provides an
overview of EU policy as well as all relevant links to documents
and EU websites.
EU Environmental Action Programme
A framework for policy-making is set out in the Environmental
Action Programme (EAP). The current EAP covers the period
2002-2012 and identifies four priority areas. They are: nature and
biodiversity; climate change; environment and health and natural
resources and waste. Aims and objectives are pursued through
strategic approaches, new legislation, changes to existing
legislation and better implementation of existing legislation. The
Strategies cover soil, marine environment, air,
pesticides, urban environment, natural resources and waste
prevention and recycling.
Pressures on European Biodiversity
Our priorities are linked to direct pressures, which result in changes to the
environment. They have an impact on species and genetic
diversity and alter the structure, function and extent of
These priorities - also identified by the Millennium Ecosystem
Assessment - include:
A series of policies and measures have been put in place under
the EU European
Climate Change Programme. A
White Paper on adaptation was produced in 2009 and a series of
more detailed papers have also been prepared on farming, health,
water, coasts and marine issues. Also in 2009 a Commission Ad Hoc
Expert Working Group on Biodiversity and Climate Change produced
the discussion paper ”Towards
a Strategy on Climate Change, Ecosystem Services and
Habitat change: One
of the biggest factors affecting habitats in the EU is agricultural
land use, managed through the Common
Agricultural Policy. Other pressures include transport
and energy infrastructure and urbanisation. Pressures include
urbanisation, transport and energy infrastructure and land use
Over-exploitation: Over- exploitation of natural resources
occurs through unsustainable hunting, fishing and the extraction
of raw materials and directly links to the sustainable
consumption and production agenda.
Invasive non-native species: It is estimated
that Invasive Non-Native Species[jb20] cost the EU at least 12
billion Euros a year. An EU Invasive Species Strategy is being
created to deal with the problem and an Invasive Non-Native Species
Strategy [jb22] for Great Britain is in place. JNCC is involved in
implementation of the GB strategy as well as advising on details of
the EU strategy .
Pollution poses a serious threat to biodiversity and ecosystem
services. A major concern is nutrient enrichment of ecosystems and
the transboundary nature of pollution. There are a range of EU
directives and strategies that address pollution, including the EU
Thematic Strategy on Air Pollution, the Integrated Pollution
Prevention and Control Directive and the Convention on Long-range
Transboundary Air Pollution.
Mainstreaming biodiversity into other EU policies
In order to move towards a sustainable way of life all policies
must fully reflect the importance and value of biodiversity and
ecosystem services. Policy beyond the environmental area often
present additional risks to biodiversity and compound the effects
of direct pressures. We aim to highlight these risks when EU policy
is being developed. Examples include:
Energy: Policy on
energy in the EU brings together many directives and measures that
address all aspects of energy production, distribution and pricing.
Renewable energy production is guided by the 2008 Renewable Energy
and Climate Change Package and two Directives, the
Renewable Energy Directive and the
Fuel Quality Directive.
in both freight and passenger movement increases pollution, breaks
up habitats and puts stress upon the environment. There are a
number of actions that are working towards enhancing sustainable
trans-European transport networks, air, road, rail, maritime
and urban transport as well as inland waterways.
Spatial planning: Increasing urbanisation, infrastructure
development, and land use change habitats throughout Europe are
becoming ever more fragmented. The Natura 2000 network (along with
national protected areas) are at the heart of the EU’s strategy to
reconnect habitats and build an ecologically-coherent
green infrastructure for Europe.
development: Sustainable development (SD) became an overarching
objective of EU policy in 1997 through the
Treaty of Amsterdam. The 2001 EU
Sustainable Development Strategy (EU SDS) strengthened the
objectives and aimed to improve quality of life, manage and use
resources better, make use of ecological and social innovation and
ensure prosperity, environmental protection and social cohesion.
Since 2001, the EU has been working to embed SD in all its
policies. The EU SDS added a third environmental dimension to the
Lisbon Strategy, which focuses on economic and social renewal.
Sustainable consumption and
production (SCP): SCP is one theme within the EU SDS.
Increasing resource use and production of waste compounds pressure
on natural resources, the environment and biodiversity. The EU has
developed a range of instruments and policy areas to address
consumption and production issues, including Green Public
Procurement and thematic strategies on the Sustainable Use of
Natural Resources and on Waste Prevention and Recycling.
Territorial cohesion: Europe is highly diverse and the
territorial diversity of the EU is seen as a vital asset that can
contribute to sustainable development. To make this diversity a
strength territorial cohesion is addressed through the focus on new
relationships that bind EU territories at different levels with new
forms of cooperation and co-ordination.
Economic, social and cultural values of biodiversity
If we are to achieve our nature conservation aims it is
essential that the true value of biodiversity and the role of
healthy ecosystems is recognised. The Economics of Ecosystems and
Biodiversity (TEEB) study deals with these issues
and helps to raise understanding of the importance and value of
biodiversity to society.