This section of the Archives provides information on previous reviews and analyses that have been undertaken to assess and improve our biological recording infrastructure.

2016: Empowering Planning to Deliver Great Places – an independent review of the Scottish Planning System

In September 2015, an independent panel was appointed by Scottish Ministers to review the Scottish planning system.  The report of the panel, “Empowering Planning to Deliver Great Places” was published on May 31, 2016.

Reference: Beveridge, C., Bilberbach, P. and Hamilton, J. (2016) Empowering planning to deliver great places. An independent review of the Scottish planning system. Scottish Government, Edinburgh


2012: Review of recording scheme surveillance information for specified terrestrial and freshwater species in Scotland

The Habitats Directive requires that Member States shall undertake surveillance of the conservation status of specified habitats and species, and report every six years.  The ‘specified’ species are those present in Scotland which are listed in the Annexes of the Habitats Directive, Birds Directive. Species listed in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UKBAP) are also included in this analysis. A questionnaire was sent out to contacts in relevant organisations. Questions were all related to the requirements of surveillance under the Habitats Directive.

ReferenceWillet, J. & Macdonald, M. A. (2012). Review of recording scheme surveillance information for specified terrestrial and freshwater species in Scotland. Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report No.498.


2011: Marine Biodiversity Data Flow in the UK.  NBN & MBA.

This report was produced by The Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom under the Defra/NBN Trust contract 2008-2011 to improve data provision, management and coordination in the National Biodiversity Network.  It provides a review of the level of exchange in marine life data and its management in the UK taking into account the structures that were in place between data providers, custodians and managers. In addition, the report makes recommendations on how data flow can be improved over the next few years to achieve greater exchange and interoperability within the marine sector.

Reference: Lear, D.B. & Seeley, B., 2011. Marine Biodiversity Data Flow in the UK. Report to the National Biodiversity Network.


2010: Local Record Centres Business Model Review.  Natural England

Natural England commissioned the review of Local Record Centre (LRC) business models to understand the costs associated with maintaining species and habitat datasets collated for a geographical area. The overall requirement for this piece of work was to gain additional insight into the scale of the basic overheads and also the uses and services that this information underpins. Part of the purpose of the work was to identify uses beyond those to which data is already being applied to.

Reference: Birt, M.J. 2010. Local Record Centres Business Model Review. Natural England Commissioned Reports, Number 057.


2010: Highland Biodiversity Data Sharing Needs Analysis. Highland Biodiversity Partnership 

The Highland Biodiversity Partnership identified the main barrier to effective biodiversity delivery in Highland as: ‘Lack of resources and joined up thinking relating to the collecting, accessing and disseminating of Highland’s biodiversity data’. This report is the outcome of an investigation carried out on behalf of the Highland Biodiversity Partnership to provide a pathway for resolving this issue

  • 2010:  Highland Biodiversity Data Sharing Needs Analysis [  ]

Reference: Warnock, D., Bothams, J. and Bothams, K. 2009. Highland Biodiversity Data Sharing Needs Analysis Final Report. Highland Biodiversity Partnership.


2009: Analysis of Biodiversity Data Needs for SNH, SEPA, Scottish Government and Local Authorities.

At a meeting between staff from the NBN Trust, SNH, SEPA and Scottish Government, it was agreed that we should look afresh at the need for biodiversity data across local and national government in Scotland and see to what extent the NBN could meet that need. The meeting also considered the possibility of these public sector organisations paying a combined annual fee to the NBN so that all parts of government, local and national, would enjoy the benefit of Trust membership.This paper highlights the data needs of Local Authorities, SEPA, SNH and Scottish Government as both data providers and data users.  It also contains the questions asked to inform this report.

  • 2009 – Analysis of Biodiviersty Data Needs for SNH, SEPA, SG, LA [ ] – PENDING SHARING PERMISSION

Reference: McKirdy, A. and Johnson, G. (2009) Analysis of biodiversity data needs for local government, SEPA, Scottish government and SNH.


2006: Biodiversity data needs for local authorities and national park authorities. Association of Local Government Ecologists

Local Authorities and National Park Authorities are committed to statutory and discretionary functions which need to be advised by a substantial body of information on local biodiversity. However, many authorities do not have access to sufficient data to enable them to develop informed strategic plans, fulfil their obligations to achieve sustainable development or to protect and enhance biodiversity.  This report analyses nine areas of service for their biodiversity information needs which are linked to statutes and accompanying guidance from government bodies in England and Wales.

Reference: Lott, D. 2006. Biodiversity data needs for local authorities and national park authorities. Association of Local Government Ecologists


2007: Review of Local Records Centres in the UK.  Natural England

JUST ECOLOGY were contracted by English Nature, on behalf of the Statutory Agencies, National Biodiversity Network (NBN) and National Federation for Biological Recording (NFBR), to conduct a review of LRCs in the UK to assess the factors preventing or supporting the establishment of LRCs. A selection of 58 organisations were included, who were interviewed using a standard questionnaire. The review covered three main themes: LRC sustainability; the ability of LRCs to work within the NBN; and their capacity to conform to the NBN Data Exchange Principles.

Reference: Lush, M., Hewins, E., Toogood, S. and Frith, R. 2007. Review of local records centres in the UK. Natural England Research Report NERR004


1998: Natural Heritage Data Catalogue and Information Needs.  Young Associates

This report, prepared for SNH by Young Associates, summarises the findings of a review of Scottish Natural Heritage Area Office environmental information needs.

Reference: Young Associates (1998) Natural heritage data catalogue and information needs – SNH Area offices – Unpublished report to SNH – August 1998.


1996: Scottish Natural Heritage species data needs – analysis of requirement

Reference: Downie, C. 1996. Scottish Natural Heritage species data needs – analysis of requirements. Scottish Natural Heritage Research, Survey and Monitoring Report No 79.


 1988: Biological survey: Need & Network.  R. J. Berry

This document is the result of concern about the state and lack of co-ordination of biological recording in the British lsles, expressed at two open meetings (at Leicester, 13-14 September 1984, organized by the Biological Curators’ Group, and a follow-up in London, 7-18 April 1985) which led to the formation of a National Federation for Biological Recording and a request to the Linnean Society for a comprehensive review of biological recording (Appendix l). The Linnean Society set up a Working Party (see Appendix ll) to inquire into the subject and make recommendations to the Council of the Society. The Working Party met on eight occasions, and its Report is attached herewith.

Reference: Berry, R.J. 1988. Biological Survey: Need & Network : Report of a Working Party Set Up by the Linnean Society of London. London: PNL Press


1983: A survey of species recording schemes in local biological records centres. 

This document is a detailed paper compiling recording card formats of species recording schemes in local biological records centres.

Reference: Whiteley, D. (1983) A survey of species recording schemes in local biological records centres. BCG Newsletter, 3 (7).370-408


1981: Survey of local and regional biological record centres

The Biological Records Centre and the Biology Curators Group collaborated in 1980 to compile an inventory of local and regional records centres in the UK.  A questionnaire was designed and circulated to all know recorded centres in Sept 1980, with last replies received in Feb 1981.  The questionnaire was sent to 74 centres, and replies were received from 67 of these.

  • 1981 – Survey of local and regional biological record centres [   ] – PENDING SHARING PERMISSION
  • 1982 – Survey of local and regional biological record centres – analysis of results [   ]  – PENDING SHARING PERMISSION

Reference: Harding, P. T. and Greenwood, E. F. (1981). Survey of local and regional biological record centres – inventory. Biol. Curators’ Gp. Newsletter, 2:468-478

Reference: Greenwood, E. F. and Harding, P. T. (1982).Survey of local and regional biological records centres-analysis of results. Biol. Curators’ Gp. Newsletter, 3:108