Harbour Management Plan

APPENDIX 1

NATURE CONSERVATION DESIGNATIONS IN THE SEVERN ESTUARY

1 THE SEVERN ESTUARY SSSI, RAMSAR, SPA, pSAC

1.1 GENERAL

Included within the area of the Gloucester Harbour are the Severn Estuary SSSI, the Upper Severn Estuary SSSI, Ramsar Site and SPA which have been separately designated. It also includes the Severn Estuary pSAC. The Severn Estuary has an immense tidal range and contains an intertidal zone of mudflats, sandbanks, rocky platforms, saltmarsh and grazing marsh that is one of the largest and most important in Britain. The estuary also supports important populations of invertebrates, waterfowl and migratory fish. The area is of international significance for its wintering wildfowl populations including Bewick's Swan, European White-fronted Goose, wigeon, gadwall, shoveller and pochard. The details of the natural and international importance of the Estuary are given below.

1.2 SEVERN ESTUARY SSSIs

The Severn Estuary was notified in 1989 under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. The site included two areas previously notified under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949: the Severn Estuary (1976), and Brean Down and Uphill Cliff (1952). The immense tidal range and classic funnel shape make the Severn Estuary unique in Britain and rare world wide. The intertidal zone of mudflats, sand banks, rocky platforms and saltmarsh is one of the largest and most important in Britain. The estuarine fauna includes internationally important species of wildfowl, invertebrate populations of considerable interest, and large populations of migratory fish including the internationally rare and endangered Allis Shad (Alosa alosa).

1.3 SEVERN ESTUARY RAMSAR

The Severn Estuary meets the following criteria for a Wetland of International Importance especially as a Waterfowl Habitat:

Criterion 1c Due to the immense tidal range which affects both the physical environment and the biological communities

Criterion 2b Due to the unusual estuarine communities, reduced diversity and high productivity

Criterion 2c Due to the run of migratory fish between sea and river via the estuary, species include Salmon (Salmo salar), sea trout (S trutta), sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus), river lamprey (Lampetra fluviatilis), Allis shad (Alosa alosa), twaite shad (A fallax), eel (Anguilla Anguilla).

Due to the migratory birds during spring and autumn, including nationally important numbers of ringed plover (Charadrius hiaticula) dunlin (Calidris alpina) whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) and redshank (Tringa totanus).

Criterion 3a Due to the internationally important waterfowl assemblage in winter (greater than 20,000)

Criterion 3c Due to the internationally important populations of dunlin, Bewick's swan (Cygnus columbianus), Gadwall (Anas strepera), redshank (Tringa totanus), shelduck (Tadorna tadorna), white fronted goose (Anser albifrons albifrons).

1.4 SEVERN ESTUARY SPA

The Severn Estuary qualifies as an SPA under the following Articles of EC Directive 79/409 on the Conservation of Wild Birds:

Article 4.1 Due to the fact that the Estuary regularly supports internationally important wintering populations of Bewick's Swan (Cygnus columbianus)

Article 4.2 Due to the fact that the Estuary is a wetland of international importance regularly supporting over 20,000 waterfowl in winter.

Due to the fact that the Estuary regularly supports in winter internationally important numbers of 5 species of migratory waterfowl: Gadwall (Anas strepera), European white fronted goose (Anser albifrons albifrons), Dunlin (Calidris alpina alpina), Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna) and redshank (Tringa totanus)

1.5 SEVERN ESTUARY pSAC

1.5.1 The Severn Estuary has been recommended as a pSAC for the following habitats:

1.5.2 English Nature and CCW are in the process of preparing Conservation Objectives for the Severn Estuary. The Association of Severn Estuary Relevant Authorities (ASERA) have endorsed a decision by English Nature and CCW to progress the Conservation Objectives for the interests for the SPA before those of the pSAC, so as not to conflict with the ongoing judicial review following Bristol Port Company's objection.

2 BIODIVERSITY ACTION PLAN HABITATS AND SPECIES

The saltmarsh within the Severn Estuary is an example of 'coastal and floodplain grazing marsh', a habitat included in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK Government 1994. Biodiversity: the UK Action Plan. CM2428. HMSO, London). Allis and Twaite shad, two of the fish that migrate through the Estuary, are species included in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP). Similarly, a number of birds (such as the sky lark) that are found within the Estuary are also included in the UK BAP.

3 STATUTORILY PROTECTED SPECIES

A number of species found within the Estuary are protected by national legislation and/or international obligations. These include those set out on page 35

Species EC Directives Annexe Bern Convention App2 CITES App3 W & C Act Schedule4 Con Regs Schedule5
Alosa alosa - allis shad (Severn Estuary & River Wye) IIa, Va III . 5 (killing, injuring, taking 3
Alosa fallax - twaite shad
(Severn Estuary & River Wye)
IIa, Va III . . 3
Salmo salar - Atlantic Salmon
(Severn Estuary & River Wye)
IIa, Va in freshwater only III . . 3
Petromyzon marinus - Sea lamprey
(Severn Estuary & River Wye)
IIa III . . .
Lampetra planeri - brook Lamprey
(River Wye)
IIa III . . .
Lampetra fluviatilis - River lamprey
(Severn Estuary & River Wye)
IIa, Va III . . 3
Cottus gobio - bullhead
(River Wye)
IIa . . . .
Austropotamobius pallipes - Atlantic stream Crayfish
(River Wye)
IIa, Va III . . 5 (taking & sale
Lutra lutra - otter
(River Wye)
IIa, IVa II I 5,6 2
Ranunculus - water Crowfoot - floating Vegetation
(River Wye)
I . . . .

1
Directive (92/43/EEC) on the conservation of natural habitats and wild fauna and flora (EC Habitats Directive)

2
Bern Convention: Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats

3
CITES: Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species

4
Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981

5
The Conservation (Natural Habitats &c) Regulations 1994

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