The Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (IEEM) has recently sent out a reminder to members concerning the use of data obtained through National Biodiversity Network (NBN).
Members are reminded that it is a breach of the NBN Gateway Terms and Conditions to “make any financial profit from use of the material, data and/or information on this [the NBN] website or from any products you derive without first obtaining written permission from the relevant Data Provider” ...and or to “republish wholesale the material, data and/or information made available to you, or exploit it for commercial or academic research purposes without first obtaining written permission from the relevant Data Provider [the contact details of which are provided within the metadata of the relevant dataset].” The way to access the most up-to-date biological and geological records should be via Local Records Centres. Records on the Gateway are often ‘blurred’ to a low resolution, e.g. 2 km or 10 km squares, which is usually not detailed enough for ecological survey uses. Furthermore, although the Gateway is updated every month, many data providers only submit updated datasets on an annual basis or even less frequently. As local representatives of the NBN, Local Records Centres are a ‘one-stop-shop’ for information on species, sites, habitats and geological data, able to provide access to the highest resolution and most up-to-date information available.
A number of reports written by ecological consultants working in Kent appear not to follow the NBN terms and conditions. Since few records collected in Kent are submitted to NBN (partly because of concerns over continued abuse of the NBN system), such consultants are putting their clients under considerable risk. Projects may be significantly delayed if protected species issues are discovered late in the development project.
If you are a developer commissioning an ecolgical risk assessment please ensure that your ecological consultant includes an appropriate local records centre data search.
In Kent, the correct procedure is to obtain a database search from Kent and Medway Biological Records Centre (KMBRC). Reports prepared by KMBRC will have the most complete and up-to date local information. This includes herpetofauna data held on a system managed on behalf of Kent Reptile and Amphibian Group by Calumma Ecological Services. Consultants that undertake records searches receive exactly the same herpetofauna data whether they enquire through KMBRC or KRAG. Consultants who need access only to herpetofauna data can request searches directly from KRAG and this may represent a more cost-effective option.
Ecological consultants that work to best practice and are approved as Corporate Members of KRAG can request database searches completely free of charge - provided the consultancy contributes its own records to KRAG.
Naturally, Calumma Ecological Services is very proud to be a KRAG Corporate Member!