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The SEMS Management Scheme

Management schemes for European Marine Sites set the framework within which activities, such as recreation and fisheries, will be managed, either voluntarily or through regulation, so as to achieve the conservation objectives of the site. Where a management scheme exists, relevant authorities who are part of that scheme are obliged to exercise their functions under the scheme to secure the requirements of the Habitats Directive.  Development such as plans and projects are dealt with through the existing statutory licensing system.

The Solent European Marine Sites (SEMS) Management Scheme (MS) is the mechanism by which the 32 relevant and competent authorities who comprise the SEMS Management Group (MG) ensure their functions are carried out in compliance with the Habitats Regulations. The MS looks at the impact of activities within the site and how partnership working can seek to address those causing issues. The Management Scheme comprises the following two annual documents:

  1. Annual Monitoring Responses
  2. Annual Management Report

For the first document, the Relevant Authorities each complete an online annual monitoring questionnaire in Spring. This survey forms the basis of the annual monitoring, and gathers details of all activities within the SEMS and of any effect that these activities are having on its condition. Activities are classified as high, medium or low risk. Further telephone interviews are conducted with relevant authorities who indicate activities that may have a detrimental effect on the SEMS, and with those who note a possible residual impact. Full details of the online questionnaire results are given in the SEMS Annual Monitoring Response Report.

The SEMS Annual Management Report summarises and assesses the monitoring responses for a particular year (from both the online questionnaire and any subsequent follow-up interviews and comments). It serves to inform and help the SEMS Management Group at their annual meeting in September, where they determine what actions to take forward.

A diagram showing the Management Scheme process is available to download.