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The SEMS Management Scheme

Management schemes set the framework within which activities will be managed, either voluntarily or through regulation, so as to achieve the conservation objectives of the site. Where a management scheme exists, relevant authorities who are part of that scheme are obliged to exercise their functions under the scheme to secure the requirements of the Directive.  

The Solent European Marine Sites (SEMS) Management Scheme (MS) is the mechanism by which the 32 relevant and competent authorities who comprise the SEMS Management Group (MG) ensure their functions are carried out in compliance with the Habitats Regulations. It does not include plans or projects; these are dealt with separately through other parts of the legislation. The MS deals in particular with activities that are not dealt with by other forms of regulation such as planning or marine licenses.

The SEMS Management Scheme procedure was updated in 2012 following review in 2011. The Management Scheme now comprises the following three documents which can be found in the publications directory.

  1. SEMS Monitoring Response Report
  2. SEMS Annual Monitoring Report
  3. SEMS Delivery Plan

The relevant authorities each complete an online annual monitoring questionnaire in Spring. This survey forms the basis of the annual monitoring, and gathers details of all activities within the SEMS and of any effect that these activities are having on the condition of the SEMS. Activities are classified as high, medium or low risk. Further telephone interviews are conducted with relevant authorities who indicate activities that may have a detrimental effect on the SEMS, and with those who note a possible residual impact. Full details of the online questionnaire results are given in the SEMS Monitoring Response Report.

The SEMS Annual Monitoring Report summarises and assesses the SEMS monitoring responses for a particular year (from both the online questionnaire and any subsequent follow-up interviews and comments). It is based on the responses of the relevant authorities who completed the monitoring questionnaire for that year. It serves to inform and help the SEMS Management Group at their annual meeting in September, where they determine what actions to take forward in the SEMS Delivery Plan, and it forms a link between the other two documents.

A diagram showing the Management Scheme process is available to download.

As part of the above Management Scheme process, the authorities are also asked what monitoring programmes they themselves carry out in their own patch or sector – this is then compiled into a spreadsheet: “Monitoring Programmes being undertaken by relevant authorities in SEMS 2015” which can also be found in the publications directory.