LERC Search provides new future for access to ecological data

A pioneering new system which provides instant access to ecological data across Greater Lincolnshire has been unveiled.

LERC Search is the brainchild of the Greater Lincolnshire Nature Partnership (GLNP), a not-for-profit partnership which manages Lincolnshire Environmental Records Centre (LERC) for the provision of wildlife and geological information. The new web-based system will enable ecological consultants and local authorities to access the data held by LERC 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Once customers have registered for an account, LERC Search will provide access to more than five million species records together with habitat and site information. The data will be returned in a standard format for a single fixed price.

GLNP Chair, Richard Chadd, said: "The launch of LERC Search marks a huge step forward in data provision to ecological consultants and local authorities ensuring that this data can be better considered within the planning system.

"We have continually strived to provide customers with the best possible level of service and ensure the process of accessing environmental data is as simple as possible. While our process has been automated for several years now, this is the first time that we have been able to offer a round-the-clock web-based service which will return results to customers in a matter of minutes."

LERC Search was officially launched to delegates at the GLNP's Evolving evidence conference held at The Showroom in Lincoln on Wednesday, 31 October.

The conference programme brought together speakers from across the environmental sector to consider the innovative methods being used to support evidence-based policy and decision making for the natural environment.

Speakers included Dr Niall Burton from the British Trust for Ornithology on assessing the potential impacts of wind farms on sea birds and Tania Davey from The Wildlife Trusts on the challenges of underwater noise management for marine mammals. Nick Atkinson from the Woodland Trust looked at how historical changes in the Lincolnshire landscape are helping to inform future conservation priorities while Gareth Dalglish spoke about approaches to strategic licensing for great created newts.