1979 EC Bird Directive: provides a framework for the conservation and management of human interactions with wild birds in Europe. It directs member states to designate and protect Special Protection Areas (SPAs).
1979 EC Bird Directive: provides a framework to maintain and restore habitats and species to a favourable conservation status. It directs member states to designate and protect Special Areas of Conservation (SACs).
Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981: transposes the EC Birds Directive into UK law.
UK Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010: transposes the EC Habitats Directive into UK (English) law.
Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994: transposes the EC Habitats Directive into Scottish law.
Conservation Objectives: the statutory nature conservation bodies – Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage – must advise Competent and Relevant Authorities responsible for site management as to the conservation objective for site features.
Advice on Operations: the statutory nature conservation bodies – Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage – must advise Competent and Relevant Authorities responsible for site management as to the types of activities that might cause damage or disturbance to site features.
Conservation Advice Package: contains the conservation objectives and advice outlined above.
Plans, Projects, Permissions and Consents
Many human activities are defined as ‘plans’ or ‘projects’ under the English and Scottish Habitat Regulations, and they must obtain the consent or permission of a Competent Authority before commencing. Where proposed plans or projects might cause a ‘likely significant effect’ upon a European Site, they must be appropriately assessed and impacts either eliminated or mitigated to ensure that the conservation objectives of a site are not hindered. Only proposals that do not adversely impact the integrity of a European Site can go ahead, unless in cases of overriding public interest, which can only be granted by the European Commission and, in such cases, compensation must be provided.
Managing Other Activities
Many activities happen within and close to European Sites that are not regarded as a ‘plan’ or ‘project’ under the Habitat Regulations and they are not subject to a full assessment. For activities of this kind, such as recreation, other types of management measures are used to ensure that they don’t hinder the aims of the EC Birds and Habitats Directives or the conservation objectives of a site. Such measures might include local byelaws, secondary legislation, or voluntary codes and agreements.
The Management Scheme is a tool used by Competent and Relevant Authorities use to ensure compliance with the EC Birds and Habitats Directives, and to co-ordinate their statutory management duties with in relation to site management with other authorities.
The Management Scheme provides authorities with a framework to facilitate a partnership approach to management and is acknowledged as a resource-efficient method for delivering management across large and complex sites.
Without a Scheme, Relevant Authorities must still have regard to the EC Birds and Habitats Directives and must develop appropriate management measures, but would need to do so with reduced support and in isolation of each other.