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SEMS History


The Solent EMS project started in March 1999 with the formation of the management group and the decision to produce a management scheme for the site. A Strategic Advisory Group (SAG) was formed in October 2000 with the aim of informing and advising the management group on the production of the management scheme. During 2000 funding was secured from the majority of the management group and a project officer was employed in November 2000. The role of the project officer was to facilitate the production of the management scheme and to act as secretariat to the management group and strategic advisory group.

Regulation 33 Advice

English Nature's final advice given under Regulation 33 of the Habitats (conservation &c.) Regulations was issued in October 2001. The document contains English Nature's statutory advice as to the conservation objectives and the operations which may cause deterioration or disturbance to the interest features of the European marine site. The advice is designed to help relevant and competent authorities to:

Conservation objectives are related directly to the features and sub-features for which the site is designated. The standard wording for a conservation objective is:

"Subject to natural change, maintain in favourable condition the habitat for the [feature], in particular [the sub-features]"

All conservation objectives acknowledge the importance of recognising natural change. Natural changes, due to sea level rise or climate change and natural coastal dynamics, are not something that can be changed or altered and the conservation objectives therefore allow for natural changes in their definitions.

As part of the Regulation 33 advice, English Nature supplies a Favourable Condition Table which aims to detail for each feature and sub-feature the relevant attributes, measures and targets. These will be used to monitor the condition of the site features and to report to the EU. English Nature has drawn up the following standard list of categories which may cause deterioration or disturbance (to features for which the site has been designated under the EU Birds or Habitats Directives):

The advice on operations is set out in English Natures Regulation 33 advice package. It provides the basis for discussion about the nature and extent of the operations taking place within or close to the site and which may have an impact on its interest features. The advice will be one of the tools used to identify the extent to which existing control measures, management and use are, or can be made, consistent with the conservation objectives, thereby focusing the attention of relevant authorities and monitoring efforts to areas that may need new or refined management measures. This advice will, therefore form the basis for the production of the management scheme for SEMS.

Stage 1 - Foundation Document

The Foundation Document was produced in February 2002. It describes the basic information and principles on which the management scheme is to be founded such as legislative background, reasons for designation, responsibilities of the relevant authorities and the agreed process for producing the plan.

SEMS Aims and Objectives:

subject to natural change, maintain the favourable condition of the site through the sustainable management of activities. The objectives of Solent EMS management scheme are:

Stage Two - Analysis of the Regulation 33 Advice

Stage 2 of the process was to identify generic activities which could cause the operations to which the site features are highly vulnerable (as defined in the Regulation 33 advice), this helped prioritise the initial work. This was achieved through an analysis of the Regulation 33 advice which resulted in a generic guide (a matrix) for each relevant authority in each cluster. The guide identifies the activities for which each relevant authority is responsible which may cause the operations to which the site features are highly vulnerable.

Stage Three - Activity Proformas

Each relevant authority in every cluster completed a proforma for each of the activities listed in their matrix. There are a total of 606 proformas which include information on where the activity occurs, how it is managed, any monitoring that takes place, possible impacts and which features of interest are at risk. These are available on request.

Stage Four - Activity Inventory

The information from the proformas was analysed to provide an activity inventory for the site. The existing management measures for activities in the site were investigated and assessed against the conservation advice. The assessment indicated which activities may cause the operations to which the site features are highly vulnerable and where these may occur in the vicinity of those interest features. The assessment continued by identifying which activities are 'plans or projects' and which have 'systems in place to manage the activity in line with the Habitats Regulations'. Where neither of these situations apply then the activity is seen as a 'key risk area' in the Management Scheme i.e. there is a potential that an impact may be caused by the activity but currently no evidence to suggest that this is occurring. This provided a clear audit trail to show all activities have been assessed and identified potential risks to the site.

Stage Five - Management Scheme

The information from all the stages has been brought together to produce the management scheme. The Management Scheme summarises the results of the assessment and outlines how the SEMS is managed and lists a number of 'Management Considerations' for the activities. For further information see section on 'What's included in the Management Scheme'.