Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund)

The Interreg IVB North Sea Region Programme

The authors are solely responsible for the content of this report. Material included herein does not represent the opinion of the European Community, and the European Community is not responsible for any use that might be made of it.
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Legislative Drivers & Sectoral Plan Review of TIDE Estuaries

5a. Environmental Drivers

Environmental drivers from the European, national and local levels which influence sectoral management in four European estuaries (the Humber (England); Elbe & Weser (Germany); and Scheldt (The Netherlands & Flanders, Belgium)) have been reviewed to determine good management practices which can not only be shared between these countries, but which can also be applied to other estuaries within Europe. These estuaries provide a range of managerial differences from the international catchment areas of the Elbe and Scheldt, to the regionally managed estuaries of the Weser (with its numerous Federal States) and the Humber estuary (with four local authorities).

Five EU directives were considered within this project (Wild Birds Directive, Habitats & Species Directive, Water Framework Directive (WFD), Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) and the Flood Risk Management Directive(FRMD)) and their operational implementation within each of the TIDE countries. Schematic frameworks detailing how the directives have been implemented from a top-down basis were produced for each estuary. The directives dealing with the protection of birds, habitats and species which have been in existence for over ten years, have been successfully implemented in each of the four TIDE estuaries. All the TIDE governments have provided considerable guidance to their national conservation bodies on how to apply the requirements of these directives and at an estuary level, competent authorities have come together to establish management schemes to ensure that the European Marine Sites (EMS) are protected from potentially damaging activities. The proposed EU Directive on Maritime Spatial Planning and Coastal Management may also affect estuary management if adopted, but has not been considered in this report as its implementation details are as yet unknown.

Each of the TIDE countries have also made good progress with the implementation of the newer directives e.g. MSFD and the FRMD into national law, meeting the deadlines set by the commission. New enabling legislation or an adaptation of existing laws have enabled these directives to be enacted and implementation and advisory groups within the respective countries are currently deciding on management actions.

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