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Cowes Harbour
Cowes Harbour © Cowes Harbour Commission

Solent Marine Sites Management Scheme

In the UK, management schemes may be established at European marine sites as a key measure in meeting the requirements of the Habitats Directive. Each scheme is prepared by a group of authorities having statutory powers over the marine area - the relevant authorities.

In the Solent, the Solent Marine Sites (SEMS) Management Scheme (MS) was established; its aim is to conserve and enhance the designated habitats and species through appropriate management measures achieved by co-operation between the Solent's 31 relevant authorities. The MS is concerned with managing non-licensable activities, development deemed to be 'plans and projects' is dealt with through existing statutory licensing and regulations. See the Solent Forum's Coastal Consents Guide for more details on regulations and licensing around the coast.

To see an overview of the management scheme process, with its annual timescale, please view the SEMS Management Scheme Framework.

The Management Scheme comprises an annual meeting, an annual survey and its subsequent report and an annual management report. The meeting and reports are prepared by the SEMS Secretariat, hosted by the Solent Forum. Please see our publications page to view the reports.

The Relevant Authorities each complete an online questionnaire in Spring. This survey gathers details on sixteen non-licensable activities and looks at how participation is changing and whether people think that they are having a detrimental impact on designated sites.

The SEMS Annual Management Report summarises and assesses the survey responses (from both the online questionnaire and additional information). This report informs and help the SEMS Management Group at their annual meeting in September, where they discuss findings and determine what actions to take forward. Strategic Stakeholders, also have the opportunity to comment and input.