The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has funded the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) to carry out research into ethnic minority groups’ engagement with National Parks and Areas of Outstanding National Beauty (AONBs). The project will run between June 2021 and March 2022.

Who we are

This research is being carried out by the NatCen on behalf of Defra. For the purpose of data protection legislation, Defra is the data controller for the personal data processed as part of this research. This means Defra is responsible for deciding the purpose and legal basis for processing data from this study. NatCen will be the data processors and will be responsible for processing the data from this study on behalf of Defra.

For this project, the legal basis for processing data is “legitimate interest”. In this case, the processing is in the interests of broader societal benefits and improving services offered to the public.

How we will use your information

Participation in this research project is voluntary. NatCen is conducting focus groups and interviews with people from ethnic minority groups.

The qualitative research will involve focus group discussions or a one-to-one interviews which will be recorded, transcribed and used to write research outputs. If you agree to take part, some of your personal data, including your name, contact details, and ethnicity will be collected by the recruitment agency, Criteria, and will be shared securely with NatCen.

If you would like to find out more about how Criteria treat your personal data please click here.

NatCen will store your personal data securely. We will not share it with anyone else and it will not be included in any research outputs. Processing these personal data is necessary for a task carried out on the basis of the broader societal benefit.

For the use of your personal data to be lawful, we need to meet one (or more) conditions in the data protection legislation, as set out in Article 6(1) of the GDPR. For this project, the relevant condition(s) that we are meeting is condition (f) ‘legitimate interest’.

The research team at NatCen will have access to:

  • Research participants’ personal details as outlined above;
  • Audio recordings and transcripts

All data gathered will be anonymised before being analysed, and personal data will only be accessible to the research team at NatCen. NatCen will only keep personal data for as long as it is needed for the purpose of this research, after which point it will be securely destroyed.

Data will only be used for research purposes. Reports and publications arising from this research will not identify any individual taking part.

How long we will keep your personal data

We will only keep your personal data for as long as we need it for the purpose(s) of this piece of work, after which point it will be securely destroyed.  All personal data will be securely destroyed 6 months after the end date of the project.

Your data protection rights

You have the right:

  • to ask us for access to information about you that we hold
  • to have your personal data rectified, if it is inaccurate or incomplete
  • to request the deletion or removal of personal data where there is no compelling reason for its continued processing
  • to restrict our processing of your personal data (i.e. permitting its storage but no further processing)
  • to object to direct marketing (including profiling) and processing for the purposes of scientific/historical research and statistics
  • not to be subject to decisions based purely on automated processing where it produces a legal or similarly significant effect on you

You can view Defra’s privacy policy here.

Further information about your data protection rights appears on the Information Commissioner’s website.

Who can I contact with a query or a complaint?

If you have any questions about how your data will be used, you can contact

NatCen’s Data Protection Officer:;

Or Defra’s Data Protection Officer:

Alternatively, you have the right to raise any concerns with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) via their website at