Topic: Commercial use of absence of records

If you were submitting a planning application and you wished to cite the absence of records on the NBN of species x from a particular 10 km square, would this breach the rules on commercial use? If so, whose permission would you need to obtain?

John Bratton


Re: Commercial use of absence of records

On top of the data permissions issue the Local Authority should also be rejecting this because of local knowledge. In Greater Manchester for instance it's well known across the districts and the planning ecologists that the record centre and several key surveillance organisations (GM Bird Recording Group, South Lancs Bat Group) no longer publish their data on the NBN (since the removal of enhanced access controls). So the absence of records, even at 10km, means nothing locally. I know this isn't what you asked but I wanted to give an alternate view of consultants trying to pass off an NBN search as a comprehensive desktop study.


Re: Commercial use of absence of records

All Phase 1 type reports should include a datasearch from the LRC and a few Local Planning Authorities actually specify this a requirement.  I would not consider a statement saying "we looked on the NBN an didn't find any records" acceptable and I doubt many Planning Officers would as well.


Re: Commercial use of absence of records

Thanks for the responses from Paul Barrington and Matt Smith, but they don't address the question. Having pondered it further, I will say what I think the answer is.

Suppose there was just one NBN data set that contained relevant records. You would obtain the permission of that dataset owner to use their information and I think it would be reasonable to mention in the report that that was the only useful data set without having to get the permission of all the other owners of data sets that contained no relevant records. So if there were no NBN datasets that had records for the area of search, I think you could say as much without having to get anyone's permission.

If anyone in NBN disagrees, I would be grateful if they could say so and explain what the correct procedure would be.

John Bratton