NBN Gateway to deliver INSPIRE compliance for species data

The INSPIRE obligation The Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe (INSPIRE) Directive aims to make it easier to access and combine environmental spatial datasets held by public authorities, to support environmental policy and practice at a national and international level. This Directive became UK law under the INSPIRE Regulations 2009, setting standards for public authorities on metadata creation and the provision of publicly accessible data services.

To ensure the UK delivers the requirements of the INSPIRE Regulations, Defra set up the UK Location Programme.  UKLP provides strategic leadership of INSPIRE, sets standards and guidance on data transformation, network services and metadata, submits INSPIRE monitoring reports and manages a helpdesk function.

INSPIRE requires the publication with a view and download service of spatial data relating to 34 environmental themes set out in three annexes. Annexes I and II are already being implemented, and work is now underway to publish datasets covered by Annex III – which includes species and habitat distribution data – before the deadline of December 2013.

The INSPIRE Regulations apply to ‘public authorities’ as defined in the Environmental Information Regulations (paragraph 2), which includes organisations or individuals who hold data on behalf of a public authority.  If you are in doubt about whether the INSPIRE Regulations apply to data you hold, visit the UKLP website, and if you require further assistance contact the UKLP Helpdesk.

The INSPIRE Regulations only apply to existing spatial datasets held by public bodies – they do not require the collection of new data or the digitisation of spatial data held in other formats.
The NBN Gateway is the preferred route for delivering INSPIRE compliance on species data in the UK The UK Location Programme recommends the publication of species data via the NBN Gateway as a sustainable and cost-effective way of complying with the INSPIRE Regulations on Annex III species data. They are working with the NBN Trust and Joint Nature Conservation Committee to deliver a single suite of species distribution datasets for INSPIRE via the NBN Gateway.

The UK Location Programme cannot mandate use of the NBN Gateway, but will not provide support for public bodies using other publishing mechanisms.

Using the NBN Gateway will reduce the INSPIRE burdens on public sector organisations who hold species data.  Many of these organisations already publish species data to the NBN Gateway either directly or via local environmental records centres.

By sharing your data with the NBN Gateway in the usual way, accompanied by our standard metadata form, you can achieve INSPIRE compliance for species data without needing to do any extra work.  We will publish INSPIRE-compliant species distribution datasets, metadata and network services datasets to data.gov.uk on behalf of data providers.
What are INSPIRE-compliant species datasets? The species distribution datasets published to data.gov.uk from the NBN Gateway will consist of individual species records from all dates agglomerated to create 10km square distribution datasets.  INSPIRE makes no explicit reference to the resolution at which the data should be published.  Publishing species datasets at 10km resolution enables all publicly available data to be included, and ensures that the national distribution of sensitive species can be published without compromising the exact locations of records. 

This scale of data meets the reporting requirements of other Directives such as the Habitats and Species Directive (Article 17) and the Birds Directive (Article 12), as well as emerging Directives that are likely to require sharing of species distributions, such as the Non-Native Species Directive and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

These datasets will comply with the basic data specifications for INSPIRE species distribution data, with the potential to include additional attribute data in future if a consistent standard can be can be agreed across European partners.
These agglomerated datasets, which are essentially the NBN Gateway grid maps, will be available to view and download from data.gov.uk.  The attributes and metadata for these datasets will include a signpost to the source of the original observation data on which they are based, for those wishing to interpret and use the data.   
Habitat and site data Spatial data on sites and habitats are also covered by the INSPIRE Regulations; protected sites are in Annex I and habitats and biotopes in Annex III.  The NBN Gateway does not currently deliver INSPIRE compliance for habitat and site data, although this is something that could be considered for future development.
Further information We have updated the links page on the NBN website with links to further information about INSPIRE and the UK Location Programme.

Local Authorities wishing to share data via the Gateway are advised to contact their local environmental records centre, whose details can be found on the ALERC website.

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