Privacy Notice

Version 4; last updated 27/07/2023

This privacy notice sets out the basis on which we will process any personal data we collect from you, or that you provide to us.

Who we are

The National Plant Monitoring Scheme (NPMS) aims to assess trends in the abundance of plant species, and the composition of plant communities, within the United Kingdom. It is run and funded in partnership by the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI), the Department of Agriculture, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), Plantlife, and the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (UKCEH).

  • BSBI is a registered charity in England and Wales (1152954) and Scotland (SC038675) and a registered company in England & Wales (8553976).
  • The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) is a government department in the Northern Ireland Executive, the devolved administration for Northern Ireland.
  • JNCC is the public body that advises the UK Government and devolved administrations on UK-wide and international nature conservation.
  • Plantlife is a registered charity in England and Wales (1059559) and in Scotland (SCO38951).
  • UKCEH is an independent, not-for-profit research institute and is a registered Charity in England & Wales (number 1185618) and in Scotland (number SC049849), and a registered Company Limited by Guarantee in England & Wales (number 11314957). UKCEH is strategically funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, part of UK Research and Innovation.

The NPMS also benefits from a number of Mentors who are volunteers on behalf of the above organisations to support other volunteers in participating in the NPMS. 

The NPMS partners are joint controllers for all processing of personal data for the purposes of the NPMS.

Why are we collecting your personal information?

The NPMS partners are collecting your personal data in order to administer, run, and share the results of the NPMS, and to evaluate how the scheme is being used and to maximise its effectiveness.

In data protection terms we are predominantly using the ‘legal basis’ of ‘legitimate interest’ for collecting, processing, and sharing (see below) your personal data.

We may collect your personal data if you are a

(1) scheme participant and/someone otherwise engaging with the NPMS

(2) land owner or land manager of locations where plants are monitored through the NPMS

What specific personal data we collect and how we process it depends on whether you are a scheme participant or a land owner as set out below.

Collecting personal data from scheme participants/people engaging with scheme

The data we will collect

When you submit data to the NPMS, your name will be included alongside the survey information (including location and time of record) to form the ‘biological record’. You may be contacted with queries about the records you provide for the purpose of validating and verifying the survey data. We use the iRecord verification system ( to review NPMS survey data and you may be contacted by an expert working with iRecord for this purpose. We are also collecting your personal data to provide you with information and feedback on the scheme and its conservation and science context, and to direct you towards external plant monitoring resources that are relevant to your contribution to the NPMS.

We will collect the following personal data about you:

  • name
  • contact details (e.g. email address, postal address, telephone number)
  • location and date of any biological records you submit.

In addition to this information, when you visit the NPMS website (including your online account), we also collect information automatically about visits to the site using Google Analytics and in our server logs. This includes

  • Your IP address
  • The pages you request, when you request them, and how you interact with them
  • The type of device and browser you use

We use this information to support our work in various ways including monitoring website performance, improving design, protecting against malicious behaviour and obtaining statistics to support funding applications.

In addition to your biological records data, once you are registered on the NPMS you will be offered the opportunity to opt-in to optional anonymous user questionnaires. These are designed to collect information to inform the project team and partners about equality, diversity and inclusion within the NPMS. Data collected during this process includes sensitive information on protected characteristics but is anonymised at the point of collection and cannot be linked to your identity or account via the personal information described above.

The National Plant Monitoring Scheme (NPMS) uses photographs, video and audio recordings for promotional, publicity, instructional and/or research purposes. This can involve sharing with third parties who assist with these promotional activities. We will always collect your specific permission to use any images of yourself or property.

How are we storing your information and will we share it?

General NPMS scheme data

All of your personal data that we collect electronically and by paper copy will be stored securely for as long as you are signed up with the NPMS. If you no longer wish to contribute records to the NPMS, please contact to let us know. Your account will be deleted after six months of your request or by end of the following March to allow us to resolve any queries we may have on records you have already submitted. However, note that the component of your personal data that forms the biological record (i.e. your name, and the location and time of the record) will be kept permanently as part of the scientific dataset.  

Volunteers and contractors working for us (e.g. someone employed to run a training course, or someone responsible for validation and verification of records) may receive your personal details to enable them to carry out their role in support of the NPMS.  

We may pass your records and contact details to an external record verifier who may get in touch for the purpose of validation and verification of records. This communication will primarily be through the iRecord system ( that provides a verification system for the NPMS and other biological surveys.

Biological records produced by the NPMS will be disseminated to other organisations and individuals worldwide for purposes of scientific research and will also be disseminated worldwide for public access and use under OGL (Open Government License), for example, via the NBN Atlas ( The dataset will contain the name of the recorder and verifier. We will not openly publish any other personal data, e.g. email address or postal address.

Questionnaires on scheme accessibility

The NPMS are keen to evaluate and improve the accessibility of the scheme to break down barriers to inclusion and encourage a diverse range of people to take part. To help with this, upon signing up to the scheme or at any time afterwards, participants may opt-in or out of being offered optional questionnaires. These will allow participants to share information about some of their demographic characteristics, their experience with the scheme, and views linked to scheme accessibility. Information collected may include country of residence, urban or rural living setting, age, gender, disability, ethnicity, religion, employment status, language.

Any such online questionnaires, delivered through the NPMS website, are anonymised at the point of submission so that no personally identifiable information is included in the resulting dataset. Participants will be discouraged from entering information in free text boxes that could personally identify an individual. Data will be stored securely and only accessed by relevant staff. The data will be analysed, and a resulting report produced, which may be openly published in full or summary. The raw data will be deleted when the NPMS project ends.

We note that the questionnaire will be completed on the legal basis of consent, however participants should be aware that since the form is designed to be anonymous and is not linked to your personal account once submitted, it will not generally be possible to identify and delete or change individual responses. If a participant withdraws their consent and their response can be clearly identified due to specific text entered in a free text box then the response will be deleted on the participant’s request. If you have any queries about these optional questionnaires, please contact If you have any complaint or concern on ethics regarding the survey, please contact


The NPMS uses MailChimp to facilitate group email communication with participants and carry out analytics (e.g. how many people opened the email). To enable this, personal data such as email addresses will be shared with MailChimp. These personal data will be transferred outside of the EU as MailChimp’s servers and offices are located in the United States. Please see the MailChimp privacy notice which can be found at

Other than as set out above, and except where we have a legal obligation to so do, we will not share your personal data with anyone else, and will adhere to current UK data protection legislation at all times.

Photographs, video and audio recordings for promotional, publicity, instructional and/or research purposes

Explicit permission will be obtained for use of any images, video and audio recordings of self or property. These may then be used by any of the NPMS partners in NPMS’ media, worldwide, without restriction and in any format, but only for NPMS purposes unless additional consent is obtained. Examples include (but are not limited to): print and digital media formats such as publications, websites, e-marketing, posters, banners, advertising, film, social media. Images on digital media may be viewed throughout the world and not just in the United Kingdom and some overseas countries may not offer the same level of protection to the rights of individuals as UK legislation provides.

Images or recordings, along with details of your permission to use them, will be stored securely in the NPMS image library for 10 years then deleted appropriately, but images that have been used would be included in our historical archive of NPMS work and history and retained indefinitely. 

Collecting personal data from land owners and land managers

The data we will collect

We are collecting your name and contact information in order to request access to carry out a plant survey on your land in future years. We will also keep with your personal data any additional information you have provided regarding any access restrictions.

How are we storing your information and will we share it?

Your personal data will be stored securely on a NPMS database while plant monitoring is being carried out on your land, for five years after the last survey and then deleted. The data will be accessible by the volunteer surveying your land, any new volunteer intending to take over surveying the site, and NPMS Partnership staff, for the purposes of running the NPMS and the specific purposes set out above. It will not be used for any other purposes.

Your rights and our contact details

You are entitled to access any of your personal data that we hold. You can view the personal data we hold of yours by logging in to your account on the NPMS site. Alternatively, please contact with as much detail as possible on the information you would like us to provide and we will respond within one month.

You have the right to request that we restrict or stop processing, rectify or delete your personal data. Where the personal data we hold has not been supplied by yourself, you are entitled to ask how we obtained the personal data. You can request that your NPMS user account is cancelled at any time by emailing, or by selecting the ‘Delete’ button on the ‘Edit’ tab of the ‘My Account’ page of the NPMS website whilst logged in to the NPMS account that you wish to delete. You may also contact if you wish to progress any of these rights and your request will be considered within the provisions of the GDPR.

If you have any concerns about how your personal data is being used, we will try to answer any questions you have. You have the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office. You also have the right to an effective judicial remedy against decisions of the Information Commissioner’s Office, or against the NPMS partners.

Changes to the privacy policy for the NPMS

This Privacy Policy may be updated from time to time. The latest version will always be available at If changes are made to this privacy policy in the future, a prominent notice will be posted on the website.