National Monitoring Programme from 1993

Data set information

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Data holding centreEnvironment Agency Head Office
CountryUnited Kingdom  United Kingdom
Time periodFrom 1993 onwards
Geographical area

Major estuaries of England and Wales


Air pressure; Air temperature; Atmospheric humidity; Precipitation and evaporation; Dissolved oxygen parameters in the water column; Wind strength and direction; Chlorofluorocarbon concentrations in the water column; Vertical velocity of the water column (currents); Nitrate concentration parameters in the water column; Salinity of the water column; Plankton abundance per unit volume of the water column; Horizontal velocity of the water column (currents); Silicate concentration parameters in the water column; Temperature of the water column; Stable isotopes in water bodies; Solar Radiation; Transmittance and attenuance of the water column; Bathymetry and Elevation


Meteorological packages; current profilers; bathythermographs; thermosalinographs; plankton nets; discrete water samplers; transmissometers; CTD; single-beam echosounders; multi-beam echosounders


In 1987/88 the Marine Pollution Monitoring Management Group (MPMMG) concluded that there would be considerable merit in the regular sampling of a network of coastal monitoring stations. A network of 87 coastal monitoring stations in estuarine, intermediate and offshore locations around the UK was established. The competent monitoring authorities for the programme are: the Environment Agency for England and Wales; the Scottish Environment Protection Agency; the Environment and Heritage Service, Northern Ireland; the Fisheries Research Services Marine Laboratory (Aberdeen); the Scottish Office (Agriculture, Environment and Fisheries Department); the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science; the Department of Agriculture for Northern Ireland; the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions. The National Monitoring Programme was initiated to coordinate marine monitoring in the UK with a view to establishing a clear overall picture of the spatial distribution of contaminants and their biological effects, upon which decisions as to future monitoring requirements would be based, especially the need to continue spatial distribution studies and the selection of key sites at which trend monitoring should be undertaken. The objectives of the National Monitoring Programme were: (1) to establish as precisely as practicable the spatial distribution of contaminants in different areas of UK waters and to define their current biological status, thus identifying any areas of specific concern, for example areas where the concentrations of one or more contaminants might affect biological processes or render fish and shellfish unfit for human consumption; (2) to detect with appropriate accuracy trends in both contaminant concentrations and biological well-being in those areas identified as being of concern; (3) to measure long-term natural trends in physical, biological and chemical parameters at selected areas. In achieving these objectives it was necessary to establish a central computerised database for contaminants in all media and for biological effects in the UK marine environment.

OriginatorsEnvironment Agency Head Office
OrganisationEnvironment Agency Head Office
ContactPublic Enquiries Unit

Environment Agency Head Office
Horizon House

United Kingdom

Telephone+44 1454 624400
Collating centreBritish Oceanographic Data Centre
Local identifier1097004
Global identifier880
Last revised2010-01-20