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E1. Biodiversity data for decision making

Type: State indicator

Indicator Description

Good policy making and evaluation is based on evidence. Millions of biological observations (records) have been recorded in the UK over the past century by a wide variety of organisations and individuals. This indicator provides an evaluation of the number of records added to the National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Atlas which replaced the NBN Gateway, in a particular year, and the resolution of those data, as a proxy for the evidence available to underpin conservation decision making. 


  1. Summary


The number of records within the National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Gateway increased from 15 million at the start of 2004 to 83 million at the start of 2013, and to 131.3 million at the end of March 2017, at which time the Gateway closed and was replaced by the NBN Atlas. Since the start of the NBN Atlas in April 2017 there has been an increase of 89.4 million records to the end of May 2019.

The number of publicly accessible records which are at 1km2 resolution or better increased from 10.5 million at the start of January 2010, to 35.2 million at the end of March 2017 in the National Biodiversity Network Gateway. The NBN Atlas which started in April 2017 has just under 130.0 million records at the end of May 2019 which are at 1km2 resolution or better.

Figure E1i. Records added to the National Biodiversity Network, 2004 to 2019A line graph showing records added to the National Biodiversity Network (NBN) between 2009 and 2019. The blue line is showing the cumulative number of records and the purple line is showing the publicly accessible records added to the NBN between 2009 and 2019.


  1. The number of records from May 2018 dropped as a result of the system behind the NBN Atlas not saving the date (timestamp field) of when the records were first created. In addition to this there were also technical challenges between the transfer of data from the Gateway to the NBN Atlas, where the NBN have had to delete records first before they are updated. Both of these problems have now been resolved.
  2. Data available to 31 May 2019.

Source: National Biodiversity Network.

Assessment of change in data for decision making


Long term

Short term

Latest year

Cumulative number of records



Increased (2019)

Number of publicly accessible records at 1km2 resolution or better



Increased (2019)

Note: Long- and short-term assessments are based on a 3% rule of thumb. Where possible, the base years for these assessments use a 3-year average. See Assessing Indicators.



Download the Fiche and Datasheet from the JNCC Resource Hub

Last updated: September 2019

Latest data available: 31 May 2019




UK Biodiversity Indicators 2019

Published: .

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