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The Interreg IVB North Sea Region Programme

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Legislative Drivers & Sectoral Plan Review of TIDE Estuaries

4a. Management Plans

Humber Estuary

Table 5 (see section 4.3) lists the many management plans related to the Humber Estuary. There have been several management attempts in the Humber Estuary, and various management plans and strategies have been produced. However they are largely sectoral and occasionally spatially constrained. The main gap lies in the coordination and integration of the different management approaches. Although many plans have been produced, stakeholders are sometimes unaware of their existence and many have never entered an implementation phase. There may also be tension between different plans which have different aims and objectives. The Humber Management Scheme has in some ways overcome these issues, bringing together and consulting with various interest groups and relevant authorities around the Humber in advisory groups primarily to ensure that the habitats and species of the Humber maintain their favourable condition. The newly revised plan launched in 2012 aims to enhance this user group and plan integration.

Elbe & Weser Estuaries

Tables 6 and 7 (see section 4.3) list the variety of existing management plans relating to the estuaries of the Weser and Elbe respectively.  Most of these plans are sectoral – and as such do not encompass all of use requirements and statutory regulations the estuaries are affected by, and are also linked strictly to administrative borders.  The development of a more holistic perspective in terms of estuarine management is surely related to the ongoing implementation process regarding the WFD and the Birds and Habitats Directive.  Since these directives formulate objectives which do not relate to administrative boundaries but to river basins and protected areas, their implementation requires changes in perspective.

Related to the WFD, an example of cross-border initiatives are the national RBMPs for the Weser and Elbe, which were jointly developed by the federal states (“Bundesländer”) adjacent to the river catchment areas. An example for cross-sectoral cooperation is the foundation of Regional Cooperation Groups in Lower Saxony and Bremen.  These groups which involve all relevant regional stakeholder groups, operate at the level of sub-basin survey areas and should contribute to the successful implementation of the WFD in both states.

As listed in Tables 6 and 7 for the Tidal Rivers Weser and Elbe, there are several different management plans with different focus. The most holistic of these are possibly the Natura 2000 management plans. Here the two federal states in charge, the Federal Administration for Waterways and, for the Elbe, the Hamburg Port Authority have finalised joint Natura 2000 management plans, which will guide all future activities at the estuaries and include a large list of measures which now successively are to be implemented¹. The implementation at the Elbe will be controlled by a steering group, the practical work will be coordinated by a joint working group. In the Weser, the plan was finalised in February 2012 and, where the state cooperation is only bilateral, working groups are foreseen only on the project level. Nevertheless an observing group of the two states and the federal administration should deliver progress reports to the stakeholders. Both plans have been produced on the basis of a broad and active stakeholder involvement so that they are founded on principal mutual agreement.

Scheldt Estuary

In the past decade, management of the Scheldt estuary has been realised not only on a transnational basis by the Netherlands (NE) and Belgium (Flanders) (FE) governments but also in a multi-sectoral way. In an attempt to reconcile the often competing interests of the Netherlands and Flanders governments, the Scheldt Development Plan 2010 was created and published in 2005. It integrates goals for nature conservation, accessibility of the Antwerp port, and flood safety issues. It is also the starting-point for joint policy–making by the Flemish and Dutch governments, aiming at a more sustainable development in the Scheldt estuary. Table 8 (in section 4.3) shows the different management plans for the Scheldt.


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