|Extracts from DETR Guidance document
[Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR)/Welsh Office document: European marine sites in England & Wales: A guide to the Conservation (Natural Habitats &c.) Regulations 1994 and to the Preparation and Application of Management Schemes. DETR/Welsh Office, June 1998, ISBN 1851120874.]
"Although only relevant authorities have the statutory responsibility for establishing the management scheme, it is essential that owners and occupiers, rightholders, local interests, user groups and conservation groups should be encouraged to participate in the process of developing the scheme at the earliest opportunity. The management group [relevant authorities] should ...meet periodically to consult with representatives from such interest groups in one or more advisory groups. Care should be taken to ensure that the membership of such groups reflects a balanced range of interests...Full public consultation should be undertaken on any proposals for managing the site and wide publicity should be given at appropriate stages."
Relevant authorities and competent authorities which are not also relevant authorities should take particular care to consult with one another...Since all competent authorities are bound by the duty under regulation 3(3) it is important for those which are not empowered to establish a statutory management scheme to fulfil their duty in a way that is consistent with the management scheme adopted by the relevant authorities."
"In establishing the extent to which the management scheme will need to provide for change, the presumptions in most cases are expected to be:- a) For continuing day to day use of the areas in general. b) To retain the existing regulatory regime where it does not damage the features. c) To change or add to the existing regime where necessary."
Regulation 3(3) of the Habitats Regulations (the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) regulations 1994).
"In relation to marine areas any competent authority having functions relevant to marine conservation shall exercise those functions so as to secure compliance with the requirements of the Habitats Directive."
Regulation 3(4) of the Habitats Regulations (the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) regulations 1994).
"Without prejudice to the proceeding provisions, every competent authority in the exercise of any of their functions, shall have regard to the requirements of the Habitats Directive so far as they may be affected by the exercise of those functions."
"In addition to relevant authorities' functions in managing activities through the management scheme, they and other competent authorities have certain specific statutory functions to decide on applications for consents, authorisations, licences and permissions. These are plans or projects within the meaning of Article 6(3) of the Habitats Directive. In some cases these functions lie with competent authorities which are not also relevant authorities and which are therefore not directly subject to the management scheme. However applicants often need a number of separate consents from different competent authorities for plans and projects in the marine and coastal environment. Management groups are advised to consider establishing advisory mechanisms or procedures through their management schemes for the efficient handling of such applications."
"For any proposed plan or project, which is not directly connected with or necessary to the management of the site for nature conservation, competent authorities should make an initial consideration, in consultation with.CCW, to establish whether the plan or project is likely to have a significant effect on the European marine site. They may proceed where it is not likely to have a significant effect. ."
".competent authorities must take account of advice from [CCW] and consider to what extent public consultation is appropriate. If the competent authority ascertains that the plan or project would have an adverse effect on site integrity they should refuse consent except in the circumstances outlined in paragraph 5.8. ... There may be circumstances where modifications to the plan or project, or adoption of an alternative solution, can ensure that the effect is either not significant or not adverse to the site integrity. There may also be circumstances where measures adopted by the relevant authorities within the management scheme framework may mitigate the effects of a plan or project. ."
"The Habitats Directive makes provision for certain plans or projects, which are likely to have a significant effect, to be carried out, under certain restricted circumstances, despite an assessment showing an adverse effect on the integrity of a European site. The Directive states that, despite a negative assessment of the implications for the site, and in the absence of alternative solutions, a plan or project may nonetheless be carried out for imperative reasons of overriding public interest, including those of a social or economic nature."
"Questions about what comprises an imperative reason for overriding public interest under Article 6 will have to be decided on a case by case basis. If, following an assessment, it is decided that the plan or project would have an adverse effect on the integrity of a site and that there is no alternative approach, any decision on whether the plan or project should proceed should be taken in light of both the acknowledged importance of the European site and the importance of the project. The regulations governing plans and projects provide that competent authorities, where they are not the Secretary of State, must inform the Secretary of State if they propose that a particular scheme should proceed on the grounds allowed by the Directive. The Secretary of State may then, within 21 days, decide to intervene."
"The Habitats Regulations place a duty on certain authorities to review any extant consents, permissions or authorisations which are likely to have a significant effect on European sites. Such a review cannot affect anything done in pursuance of the consent prior to the date when the duty to review arises: there is no need to review a consent where the plans or projects authorised by it have been completed and where no continuation of the plan or project is authorised."
Sue Gilbert, Project Officer, Pembrokeshire Islands cSAC. 24th February 2000