asera - Severn Estuary Gateway

1. Relevant authority : Countryside Council for Wales (CCW)
2. Activity &/or sub-activity : Bait Digging
2.1 Why? (Why is this activity carried out? (if applicable) i.e. maintenance dredging is required to provide safe
navigation. Pipeline maintenance is required to ensure safe containment of substances.)
Recreational activity
2.2 Location (Describe the area used for the activity. Please provide annotated maps, co-ordinates, postcodes etc so
that this information can be plotted into a GIS)
Potentially anywhere along the Severn Estuary coast where intertidal mud and sand are found and
appropriate biotopes are present.
2.3 Frequency (Describe when/how often the activity occurs.)
Linked to recreational angling season (see EA for details)
Frequency in part depends on the ease of access to areas where bait digging can take place, tides,
storm events and associated sediment deposition
Newport Wetlands Reserve
No reports of bait digging in the Reserve
2.4 How (Describe how the activity is carried out (ie equipment used, number/type of people involved) and the
intensity (high, medium, low).
3. Management
3.1 General (Brief description of your current management.)
1990s research found that the activity was of a low intensity in the Severn on the welsh shore and no
major impacts were identified.
Coastal access could potential increase as a result of the coastal access project. CCW currently advises
the competent authorities on potential impacts on the European sites through regulation 48 etc of the
Conservation (Natural Habitats &c) Regulations 1994. When the coastal path is in place it will fall to
the local authorities to carry out maintenance and to manage any other activities that arise from its
CCW carries out a low level ‘watching brief’ for this activity along the welsh shore, with more detailed
surveillance within the Newport Wetlands Reserve. There is currently no active CCW management of
this activity. However, there are various mechanisms available if necessary
Newport Wetlands Reserve
Through signage, access and wardening we can manage access to the foreshore and activities that
occur within the reserve.
Outside the Reserve
CCW can enter into Section 15 Management Agreements with owner/occupiers of SSSIs under the
Countryside Act 1968 to manage land in a manner to conserve and where possible enhance the special
interest of the Severn Estuary SSSI and adjacent Gwent Levels SSSIs. (NOTE local authorities can
also enter into management agreements with owner/occupiers under section 39 of the Wildlife and
Countryside Act 1981 (as amended));
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Under Conservation (Natural Habitats &c) Regulations 1994 CCW provides advice for plans and
projects affecting the Severn Estuary Ramsar, SPA, SAC
As statutory advisors CCW provides advice on activities including bait digging that could affect the
features of the Severn Estuary with respect to strategic documents such as LBAPs, HAPs, SAPs
CCW has responsibilities under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 for issuing consents and
assents to owners, occupiers and ‘section 28G authorities’ for potential damaging operations to the
feature(s) of the Severn Estuary and Gwent Levels SSSIs. Conditions can be attached to such
authorisations to address management issues. We also have statutory responsibilities with respect to
the production of SSSI site management statements and various responsibilities relating to the
management of SSSIs.
3.2 Management objectives (Why are you managing this activity - if different to 2.1 above (please identify if no
Reasons for concern
Potential impact on the SPA bird features* and their supporting habitat via
disturbance to birds during actual bait digging,
removal of food for birds
physical damage to supporting mudflats and/or saltmarsh by access and actual bait digging
Potential impact on the SAC features* via
disturbance to birds (those species that form part of the notable estuarine species assemblages of
the Estuary feature)
removal of food for birds (those species that form part of the notable estuarine species
assemblages of the Estuary feature) and/or fish (those fish species that are features in their own
right and also migratory, estuarine, marine and freshwater fish species that are part of the notable
estuarine species assemblages of the Estuary feature)
physical damage to Atlantic Saltmeadow and/or mudflats and sandflats features (both features are
also estuarine habitat communities of the Estuary feature)
Potential impact on the Ramsar features* via
disturbance to bird features
removal of food for the assemblage of migratory fish and bird features
physical damage to estuary feature and supporting habitats of the bird features
*see Regulation 33 advice for details of the features of the designations
CCW is not currently directly managing this activity.
Any management would be to maintain the Severn Estuary SSSI features, Severn Estuary SPA
features and supporting habitat and SAC features in favourable condition, without having a
significant adverse impact on other features of local, national, international importance
3.3 Your role (Describe your role in relation to the activity (e.g. statutory duty, control due to land ownership, part of
normal working operations etc)
1.As owners of land, Newport Wetlands Reserve, within and adjacent to the Severn Estuary
2. Through our duties and responsibilities for SSSIs under Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as
3. Through our duties and responsibilities for European sites, particularly under Conservation
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(Natural Habitats &c) Regulations 1994 as amended. In the Severn Estuary our roles as a Competent
rather than a Relevant authority and as advisor to Competent authorities are particularly relevant.
4. Through responsibilities to protected sites under Town and Country Planning Act, NERC Act, the
various Environmental Impact Regulations, Land drainage Act etc, again usually as advisors to other
authorising authorities.
3.4 Existing regulation (Describe any existing regulation for the activity.)
Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended)
Conservation (Natural Habitats &c) Regulations 1994 as amended
Environmental Impact Regulations (various)
CCW is a statutory consultee for other organisations’ authorisations that can affect the features of the
Severn Estuary SSSI, SPA, SAC, such as land drainage consents, discharge consents, planning
See also guidance such as TAN 5, PPW etc
3.4.1 Nature Conservation (Does regulation of the activity already provide for the integration of nature
conservation interests? (Included to provide details of what measures already exist to incorporate safeguards for
conservation into current working practices).
There is no specific regulation of recreational bait digging
Regulation and management of other activities (eg access) provides a certain amount of integration of
nature conservation interests. Where there is regulation there are also the issues of implementation
and ‘policing’
3.5 Other management
3.5.1 Is your organisation developing any plans/initiatives/codes of conduct in relation to the
activity? (please give details & web site reference if available).
General management and survey information already produced:
Severn Estuary and Gwent Levels SSSIs Site Management Statements;
Regulation 33 advice for the 3 Severn Estuary international designations, which includes the Severn
Estuary EMS scheme of management;
Monitoring programmes for the SSSI and EU features of the Severn Estuary, (partly through the
LIFE project, but also through Regulation 33 package). The results will be fed back into the various
management mechanisms.
Phase 1 marine biotope survey
3.5.2 Are you aware of any other plans/initiatives in relation to the management of the
activity (please give web site reference if available)
See angling and access proformas
3.5.3 Outline any other known management of the activity (e.g. recreational clubs, voluntary groups).
4. Current information
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4.1 Monitoring/research (Are you undertaking any current monitoring/research of the activity?)
Informal surveillance in Newport Wetlands, at specific locations as part of S15 management
agreements, informal surveillance when visiting the Severn Estuary
4.2 Why is it carried out?
S15 – compliance monitoring
Newport Wetlands – to assess the impact of management on bird targets
SSSI – loss and damage reporting
4.3 Please list any research/monitoring reports and their format (e.g. paper, GIS, please give web site
reference if available)
CCW report on bait digging in the Severn Estuary by Alison Jones
4.4 Are you aware of anyone else who carries out monitoring/research of the activity?
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