How are sites protected?

A wide variety of mechanisms exist which help to protect the interest of MPAs. These are set out in more detail in the toolkit section of this site but the main mechanisms available are:

  • Legislation

Management of MPAs is underpinned by a wide variety of legislation. Our guide to relevant environmental legislation can be found here

The main ways in which legislation can protect MPAs are:

  • By granting powers to designate MPAs
  • By introducing consenting or licencing requirements for certain activities on MPAs (e.g. requirements for Marine Licences for deposits on the seabed, or need for consent for activities on Sites of Special Scientific Interest)
  • By requiring a Habitats Regulations Assessment of Plans or Projects taking place on a SPA or SAC
  • By placing statutory duties on certain bodies (e.g. the duty placed on Public Authorities in England to duty to consider the effect of proposed activities on MCZs before authorising them)
  • Through the granting of Bylaw making powers to organisations
  • Conservation Advice

The Statutory Conservation Bodies (Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage) publish Conservation Objectives for all SPAs, SACs, and MCZs and produce Conservation Advice Packages which give advice on how to further the conservation objectives for the site, identify the activities that are capable of affecting the qualifying features and the processes which they are dependent upon.

  • Land Use Planning

Certain activities will require planning permission from the Local Planning Authority. As part of this any potential impacts on the marine environment will be assessed.

At sea a parallel process of marine spatial planning is under development by the Marine Management Organisation.

  • Voluntary Codes or Agreements

Codes of Conduct or voluntary agreements are widely used mechanism of managing activities, such as many recreational pursuits like boating or angling, that otherwise fall outside of any formal regulation.

  • Management Schemes

The Management Schemes are used by Competent and Relevant Authorities to co-ordinate their statutory management duties with in relation to European Marine Sites. Such Schemes provides authorities with a framework to facilitate a partnership approach to management and provide a resource-efficient method for delivering management across large and complex sites. Authorities are not required to produce a Management Scheme but without one must still have regard to relevant legislation and must develop appropriate management measures but would do so with reduced support and in isolation of each other.

A Management Scheme exists for the Berwickshire and North Northumberland Coast European Marine Site and can be downloaded here.