Practical challenges in the use of biodiversity data – an ecologist’s perspective Lisa Kerslake Director and Principal Ecologist Swift Ecology Ltd. Background • Nature Conservancy Council • Notts County Council (County Ecologist) • Northumberland Wildlife Trust (Conservation Manager) • North and East Yorks Ecological Data Centre (Director) • CIEEM Biodiversity Data User Group • ALERC • BTO (representing a Specialist Society or Recording Scheme) • CIEEM • GiGL • Lisa Kerslake (CIEEM-nominated independent consultant) • Minerals Producers Association Biodiversity Group • NBN Trust • NFBR A personal reflection... • E • Moa Protected species...... • E • Moa ......but also wildlife sites • E • Moa Data searches • Data supply from LRCs (and other data providers) • Practices of ecological consultants Sources of data • • • 3333 • • MAGIC National Biodiversity Network (Gateway) National Schemes and Societies Local Record Centres Local groups/Wildlife Trusts Current issues/challenges • Usefulness/relevance of data provided to user • Quality of service to user • Threats to service “The concept of local records centres is that they hold local records. An LRC search is the standard for most requirements. Whilst I have some sympathy for groups using selling data to fund conservation work, I have no sympathy for those that are surprised when we do not ask for their data. My clients have to get an LRC search, and we already lose some work to sub-standard local consultancies that do not buy records. Adding the additional cost of bat (or badger, bird, reptile etc etc) is just not reasonable. The only option is for LRCs to hold all data!” General Issues Variability of product Variability of service O 79% 68% Specific Issues • • • • • • • Cost and response time Multiple charges for full search Cross boundary searches Nil result searches Service level agreements Quality and relevance of data Terms and conditions LRCs under threat Ecological Consultants and Data • Lack of proper (or any) data search • Inadequate interpretation of data • Non-submission of records to LRCs Reasons for non-submission of records 1 Too time consuming – no simple or standard way of doing so 2 No reciprocal benefit 3 Client objections (copyright issues) CIEEM PGS 7 – Model Service Agreements “Scientific data collected during the course of the contract will be made available to appropriate biodiversity record centres in order to better inform future ecological surveys. If a client has any objection to this they must inform the consultant in advance in writing” Solutions? External • LPAs requiring data gathered in support of planning applications to be submitted to LRCs (by condition?) • LPAs requiring developers to undertake data search in the first place, paid up front direct to LRC • Local authority ecologists (where they exist) rejecting reports without valid data searches • Agreement on data searches in relation to householder applications/small developments - ALGE • Raising awareness/training for consultants – CIEEM Solutions? Internal • Accreditation Solutions? Internal • Accreditation • Online simplified data submission for consultants • Incentives to data providers • Filtering/interpretation of data • Action on poor practice in local area • Agreements with adjoining areas • Constitution The biggest challenge….?