Estuary Management & Conservation Groups

Severn Estuary Partnership,(SEP)

Background of Organisation

The Severn Estuary Partnership (SEP), originally called the Severn Estuary Strategy, is an independent Estuary-wide project set up in 1995 by Local Authorities, the Environment Agency and the countryside agencies.

The area covered by the Severn Estuary Partnership stretches between Gloucester and Hurlstone Point near Minehead on the English Coast, and Nash Point (Vale of Glamorgan), on the Welsh Coast. Thirteen Local Authority Areas are covered.

The Project and the Partnership Offices and Website are hosted by Cardiff University.

Organisational Objectives

The Severn Estuary Partnerhip as a estuary wide umbrella organisation aims to bring together all those involved in the development, management and use of the Estuary within a framework which encourages the integration of their interests and responsibilities to achieve common objectives. Through the development and implementation of a Strategy for the Severn, it more specifically aims to:

The Partnership also wants to encourage, promote and assist scientific research necessary for the effective management of the Estuary and its coasts.

Relevant Policies, Projects & Activities

One of the key initial aims of this project had been the development of a strategic management framework for Severn Estuary, which has come in the form of the Severn Estuary Strategy published in 2001.

Since January 2003, and with the arrival of a new project officer the Partnership activity has been focused on co-ordination and facilitation of communication and interregional co-operation for holistic, coordinated and eventually integrated coastal zone management.

By signing up to a Memorandum of Understanding, the SEP is one of five other estuary and coastal management groups involved in the new Joint Estuary Groups Initiative. All participant groups have agreed to meet and discuss common issues and concerns at least once a year. The first meeting was held in April 2003 and was hosted by Monmouthshire Country Council.

The Severn Estuary Partnership Team, headed by Charlotte Street has created a Severn Estuary wide online image database to enable the visualisation of the areas covered by the project and help partners and the wider public understand what the range of uses, activities and natural features of the Severn Estuary are. Furthermore, in the process of updating its contact database, the SEP is compiling a Severn Estuary wide 'Who Does What' Directory. The first online version has been circulated to the directory entrees for consultation prior to its publication.

SEP has been successful in the Interreg IIIb bid submitted last January(2003). The project will be undertaken by a range of partners from the Atlantic Arc Area, namely Scotland, England, Wales, Ireland, France, Spain and Portugal within the next three years. Together they will test the implementation of Integrated Coastal Zone Management, particularly in the context of spatial planning and achieving sustainable development, and in promoting its environmental, social and economic well being. The results from the project will contribute towards the development of National Strategies for ICZM, and implementing specific aspects of ICZM, in accordance with the EU Recommendation of 30 May 2002. The outputs of the project will also contribute towards the development of an Atlantic Vision for the sustainable development and management of the coastal zone.