Welcome to the home page of the Association of Severn Estuary Relevant Authorities (ASERA)

* Please note: that this website is currently under review and is due to be updated in Spring 2015 *

This web-site will help you find out more about:

  • The Severn Estuary European Marine Site and its special features
  • The work and role of ASERA in managing the Marine Site.

Gloucestershire Harbour Trustees The Bristol Port Company North Somerset Internal Drainage Board Somerset Drainage Board Consortium Trinity House Vale of Glamorgan County Council Wessex Water Stroud District Council South Gloucestershire County Council Somerset County Council Severn Trent Water Severn Trent Water Sedgemoor District Council North Somerset Council Newport Harbour Commissioners Newport City Council Lower Severn IDB Gloucestershire County Council Forest of Dean District Council Environment Agency Environment Agency Dwr Cymru - Welsh Water Cardiff Harbour Authority Cardiff Council Canal and Rivers Trust Bridgwater Harbour Authority Bristol City Council Associated British Ports Associated British Ports Gloucester City Council Monmouthshire County Council Natural England Natural Resources Wales West Somerset Council Bristol Water

The Association of Severn Estuary Relevant Authorities (ASERA) was formed in recognition of the practical and resourcing difficulties which would be experienced by many organisations if they were to individually attempt to discharge their statutory duties in respect of the nature conservation designations on the Severn Estuary.

It is intended that through ASERA, the relevant authorities will be able to discharge their statutory duties in the most efficient and cost effective way possible. Given the statutory duties that all relevant authorities share, and the benefits of sharing the costs for discharging them, the Association now represents 32 of the 43 relevant authorities on the Severn Estuary.

The Severn Estuary covers the upper reaches of the Bristol Channel on the west coast of Britain, between South Wales and the South West of England.

The Severn Estuary is one of the largest coastal plain estuaries in the UK and is one of the largest estuaries in Europe. It is managed and used by a wide range of organisations and individuals. It supports populations of wild birds that are of European importance, and in recognition of this the Estuary was classified as a Special Protection Area (SPA) in 1995. The Severn Estuary is also a Ramsar site and was designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) in December 2009. Where a SPA, such as the Severn Estuary, or Special Area of Conservation (SAC) incorporate subtidal and/or intertidal areas, they are referred to as European Marine Sites (EMS).

The SPA and SAC designations cover the intertidal and subtidal areas eastwards of a line between Lavernock Point on the Welsh coast and Brean Down on the English coast.

The main requirements for the Severn Estuary EMS, as with all others, are:

  • It should be managed to achieve the ‘favourable conservation status’ of the habitats and species for which it is designated;
  • Appropriate steps should be taken to avoid deterioration or significant disturbance of the habitats and species;
  • Activities and plans or projects that are likely to have a significant impact on the conservation habitats and species for which the site is designated must be subject to assessment.

Map showing the extent and relationship of the Severn Estuary European Marine Site


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