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The SEMS 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 European 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 32 relevant authorities. The MS is concerned with managing 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.

European Marine Management Schemes are regularly reviewed, the last full review of the SEMS Management Scheme was in November 2011; a mini-review was completed in 2017.

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 and the following two documents. The meeting and reports are prepared by the SEMS Secretariat, hosted by the Solent Forum.

  1. Annual Survey Report (ASR)
  2. Annual Management Report (AMR)

For the ASR, the Relevant Authorities each complete an online questionnaire in Spring. This survey gathers details of all activities within the SEMS and any effect that these activities are believed to be having on site condition. Further detailed telephone interviews are conducted with relevant authorities who indicate activities that may have a detrimental effect on the SEMS.

The SEMS Annual Management Report summarises and assesses the survey responses (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 discuss findings and determine what actions to take forward. Strategic Stakeholders, also have the opportunity to comment and input into the draft AMR.