Data Access Policy



Data Access Policy for the National Plant Monitoring Scheme (NPMS)

       NPMS Data Acquisition and Dissemination

1.1.  The NPMS is run and funded by the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI), the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (UKCEH), Plantlife, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (Northern Ireland), and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC).

1.2.  The NPMS is guided by a steering group that meets at least once a year.

1.3.  UKCEH holds the NPMS data on behalf of project partners. As specified by the Memorandum of Agreement for the project, the NPMS will disseminate data using an Open Government Licence (OGL)[1].

1.4.  The NPMS is an annual monitoring scheme to assess trends in the abundance of plant species within communities in the United Kingdom. The NPMS has the following primary aims:

(i)  Deliver a sustainable and flexible scheme that utilises volunteer recorders to monitor changes in the abundance of plant species in semi-natural habitats throughout the UK over the long-term

(ii)  Through collection of annual data on the abundance of key plant species, detect change in the quality of semi-natural habitats throughout the countryside

(iii)  Allow and facilitate analysis of the collected data with other environmental datasets, in order to assist in understanding why change is occurring (pressures and drivers)

(iv)  Contribute data that can be used to produce meaningful ecological indicators and other relevant reporting products on semi-natural habitats

1.5.  Most NPMS data are collected by volunteers and are held in trust for the nation on behalf of data providers.

1.6.  NPMS data will be captured, stored and reviewed (for verification) within an online database, built using the Indicia[2] system. The database will be accessed via the NPMS website[3].

1.7.  The NPMS will disseminate data for any purpose for which the data is requested, in accordance with this data access policy.  The NPMS website will be the primary route for participants to access their own data. 

1.8.  The NPMS data will be held securely in accordance with the data security policies of the NPMS and its partners (available upon request).

        NPMS Access to Data Policy

2.1.  NPMS will make data as widely available as possible, subject to requirements to protect information for threatened species as defined by UK conservation agencies.

2.2.  NPMS data will be supplied for external use via two principle mechanisms:

                    (i)              The NPMS data will be made available via the NBN Atlas[4] and associated UK portals (such as the NBN Atlas Scotland)[5]. For England, Wales and Scotland data will be made available at full resolution by the end of the calendar year in which it is collated. For Northern Ireland, data will be made available for public view at 1km resolution. We will ensure that data collected relating to sensitive species in each UK country (as defined by the relevant statutory nature conservation bodies), and a limited number of plots marked as sensitive in the 2015 survey, are only shared with the data provider, NPMS staff, experts doing verification or critical revisions and compilers of accounts of floras, and members of statutory nature conservation bodies.

                  (ii)              The NPMS data will be published each year as a dataset via the NERC Environmental Information Data Centre[6] (with a Digital Object Identifier). This will include all data entered online within that calendar year.  We will ensure that access to data collected relating to sensitive species and plots is restricted to the data provider, NPMS staff, experts doing verification or critical revisions and compilers of accounts of floras, and members of statutory nature conservation bodies. These annual datasets will be available for discovery and direct download from

2.3.  Personal data will be managed in accordance with the principles of the GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018 and/or any subsequent legal provisions. Contact details (email and postal address) of individual recorders and determiners will be used for administration and verification purposes only. Recorder names will form part of the collated data and will be disseminated, unless anonymity is requested by the recorder. Recorder contact details will not be made available to other parties without the consent of the individual to whom it relates.

2.4.  Names of recorders are an essential part of the NPMS database. Subject to the provisions set out in 2.3 above, recorder names will be supplied with the data where these are being shared with the recording community, e.g. through the NBN Atlas (see 2.2 above).