Presentation on theme: "European status of the North Wirral Shore Stewart Lowther C.Env MIEEM."— Presentation transcript:
European status of the North Wirral Shore Stewart Lowther C.Env MIEEM
Directives and UK Legislation Directive 2009/147/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on the conservation of wild birds (replacing Directive 79/409/EEC). “The Birds Directive” Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora. “The Habitats Directive” Led to the creation of the Natura 2000 network of protected sites.
Directives and UK Legislation The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 bring the Directives into the UK Statute. UK Natura 2000 sites are: Special Protection Areas (SPAs) for birds Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) for habitats and non- avian species
Hoylake Dee Estuary SAC Mersey Narrows and North Wirral Foreshore pSPA
Hoylake Dee Estuary SAC: Primary: Mudflats and sandflats not covered by seawater at low tide Glasswort and other annuals colonising mud and sands Atlantic salt meadows Also present: Estuaries Annual vegetation of drift lines Vegetated sea cliffs Embryonic shifting dunes Shifting dunes along the shoreline Humid dune slacks Mersey Narrows and North Wirral Shore pSPA Primary: Bar-tailed godwit Little gull Common tern Knot Also present: Regular use by over 20,000 waterbirds
Protection Regulation 61: A competent authority (eg. WMBC), before giving consent to any plan or project that is not connected to the management of a Natura 2000 site and which is likely to have a significant effect on the site, must make an appropriate assessment of the implications of that plan or project for the designated features. It must consult Natural England It may consult the public if appropriate It can only consent the plan or project if, in light of the assessment, it is certain, beyond all reasonable scientific doubt, that the integrity of the Site will not be adversely affected.
Definitions “Management of the site” Conservation management - furthering the conservation of the qualifying features “Likely significant effect” Anything that would or could affect the conservation objectives of the Site “Integrity of the Site” ‘the coherence of the site’s ecological structure and function, across its whole area, or the habitats, complex of habitats and/or populations of species for which the site is or will be classified’ - Managing Natura 2000: EU Guidance
Questions Would the continuance or discontinuance of the current management regime comprise conservation management for the qualifying features of the SAC/SPA? If not, could any preferred option be likely to have a significant effect on the conservation objectives of the Site? If so, would there be an adverse effect on the integrity of the site? Can we be certain?
Recommendation There is insufficient information to know with certainty what outcomes would result from whatever decision may be considered. No lawful decision can be made while there is uncertainty. A controlled, scientific study, which has been subject to appropriate assessment in its own right, could address that uncertainty. Current management practices should continue until that study is complete.
Final note The Habitats Regulations do allow, in certain circumstances, projects to proceed in spite of an appropriate assessment arriving at a negative outcome (Regulations 62 and 66). These are onerous, but can be explored if necessary once an appropriate assessment has been made.