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

The Interreg IVB North Sea Region Programme

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Legislative Drivers & Sectoral Plan Review of TIDE Estuaries

5c. SWOT

Figure 5 shows examples of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats identified across the current management plans of the four TIDE estuaries which should be taken on board and used as best practice for future management plans. A plan’s strengths should be that where possible, it should be statutory in nature (having the legislative power to enforce its aims), be multi-sectoral, have defined funding and have sufficient spatial coverage to provide a broad management remit for the estuary. However the SWOT analyses have demonstrated in some cases that plans can be successful even if they are not statutory in nature e.g. the Integrated Managementplan Elbe. As long as there is a good management structure keeping the plan on track, then non-statutory plans can be successful. Other strengths include multi-user management, stakeholder/user buy-in to the plans aims and for the plan to be regularly updated to keep up with changing legislation or environmental conditions e.g. climate change.

The main weaknesses highlighted across the plans include their lack of financial support/funding when non-statutory (e.g. it is recognised that funding is often a major hurdle in delivering the policies put forward within shoreline management plans), plans which have non-specific targets, and plans which are very narrow in focus lacking multi-sectoral inclusiveness. A critique did highlight that although it is a weakness for a plan not to be multi-sectoral to be more inclusive of many different estuaries uses and users, a multi-sectoral plan can also sometimes lose focus on the key issue it is trying to manage. Therefore a plan focused only on flood protection could be considered a strength.

The plan should present the opportunities to be forward thinking with the need to integrate new or changing issues e.g. climate change. They could be a framework for future management needs and provide conflict resolution between different sectors to give a win-win situation in estuarine management.

The SWOT analysis highlighted the following threats across the four estuaries including limited funding therefore making a plan short lived, too many stakeholders with different goals can threaten a plan’s success, and the limited spatial coverage of a plan.

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