Name of customer organisation: Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC)

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JNCC wishes to improve the quality of their conservation advice and required evidence to tailor more detailed sensitivity assessments. Sensitivity assessments are typically conducted at the resolution of Level 3 (“habitat complex”) of the EUNIS habitat classification, which tend to result in ambiguous score “ranges” (e.g. low to high) due to the complexity of habitats at this resolution (i.e. biogeographic variations are not taken into account). The MBA received funding from Defra and the Statutory Nature Conservation Bodies to complete updated sensitivity assessments at Levels 4 and 5 of the EUNIS classification, using the best available evidence.

This information will be used to determine whether the right physical and chemical conditions exist in an MPA area for a particular biotope to occur based on biotope records and biogeographic considerations. The work will contribute to ensuring that sensitivity assessments are applied appropriately to habitats or regional seas and offshore MPAs, avoiding inappropriate and unnecessary precautionary advice.

This project will assist JNCC in on-going work providing improved conservation and management advice for designated offshore Marine Protect Areas (MPAs)