What is the ASERA Management Scheme?
The ASERA Management Scheme is intended to provide a mechanism for Relevant Authorities to set the framework within which their activities will be managed, either voluntarily or through legislation, to achieve the nature conservation objectives of the site. It considers whether activities are causing adverse effects and, if so, how such activities can be regulated by Relevant Authorities to prevent damage to the features and sub-features of the site. The impact of an activity can depend upon its scale, location and frequency, as well as the vulnerability of a feature.
The Management Scheme aids decision making and continually evolves to take account of changing
issues and the policy landscape. It endeavours to reflect the local conditions of the site (i.e. size, cross-boundary) and take into account good practice from other European Marine Sites (EMS) in the UK. ASERA first launched the Management Scheme for the Severn Estuary EMS in 2004 and have since revised the scheme in 2011 and are working on a new updated version for around 2017.
What is the Aim of the ASERA Management Scheme?
The aim for the Severn Estuary European Marine Site Management Scheme is:
To be a Management Scheme for the Severn Estuary European Marine Site, under which the functions of the Relevant Authorities shall be exercised so as to secure in relation to the site, compliance with the requirements of the Habitats and Birds Directives.
The key requirements for the Severn Estuary EMS are:
- It should be managed to achieve the ‘favourable conservation status’ of the habitats and species for which it is designated;
- Appropriate steps should be taken to avoid deterioration or significant disturbance of the habitats and species;
- Activities and plans or projects that are likely to have a significant impact on the conservation habitats and species for which the site is designated must be subject to assessment.
What are Plans & Projects?
Plans and projects are defined as operations which require some form of consent, license or other authorisation by a public body and should be subject to a ‘Habitats Regulations Assessment’ by the Competent Authority. The Management Scheme makes reference to plans and projects as they may affect the features and management of the site, but notes that it does not affect the statutory regime under which these plans and projects are assessed.