NBIS originated as the Norfolk Biological Records Centre (NBRC) which started in the 1970s as a response to requests received by the Natural History Department at Norwich Castle Museum for detailed information about animals and plants in Norfolk and their distribution in the county.


Swallowtail in the Broads (Christine Simpson)NBRC built on the knowledge-base established by the well- known naturalist, Ted Ellis, during his work there.  The Centre expanded to operate from Union House in Gressenhall, and launched officially in May 2001.  The NERC Act (2006), which places increased obligations on local authorities to consider biodiversity in all decisions, especially planning, led to the decision to transfer the centre from within the Museums and Archaeology Service, to the Department of Planning and Transportation (Environment) at Norfolk County Council in 2006.  The centre was re-branded in late 2008 to form NBIS to reflect the wider range of services provided.

Photo: Swallowtail in the Broads (Christine Simpson)