Working with Natural England
Alan Law, Marine Director, Natural England
• Our relationship with the shellfisheries sector
• Natural England’s role
– Context to our work
– Marine conservation picture
– Defra approach to managing fisheries
• Way forward
Natural England: perceptions of us
Some people have the perception that Natural England is
Detached from practical realities of business?
Opposed to development?
Uses legislation and evidence as obstacles?
This is the exception not the norm but we want to work together with
industry to address these concerns and improve the relationship.
Who we are and what we do
Statutory advisors on landscape and biodiversity
o Deploying evidence
o Remit to 12 nm
Act as Defra delivery body – licensing or designations
o Not the policy maker or regulator
An enabler/finder of solutions
o Advise regulators
o Understand relevant industries
Developments in Marine conservation
• European and UK designations – part of MSFD
– SACs, SPAs, MCZs, SSSIs.........
• Designations require advice on management and activity
– Both current activity and future or planned activities
• Designations create need for evidence
– Both to designate and to monitor condition
• Growth agenda – offshore renewables and Aquaculture
– The environment an obstacle or an essential basis?
in first tranche
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Natural England – marine work
• Assimilating and improving the evidence base to enable Defra to
make designation decisions
• Reporting on the conservation status of marine features
• Developing advice packages for industry and regulators
– Helping to secure consents
• Advising on new plans and developments
• Advising on implementing Defra’s approach to fishery management
Defra approach to Management of Fisheries in
European Marine Sites
• Commercial fisheries in European Marine Sites need to conserve, and
comply with legal obligations under EU Directives.
• Existing local fisheries measures will not be re-visited if already
compliant with the Habitats Regulations.
• Fishing industry representatives are engaged in the process to design
and implement the approach.
• Approach is risk prioritised, phased, uses an evidence based Matrix.
• IFCAs and MMO lead implementation, with support from NE
Implications of revised approach
• For activities classified as red in this matrix Defra’s expectation is
that (where required) additional measures will be developed by
December 2013; The red classification only applies to certain types
of commercial fishing practice occurring on highly sensitive habitats.
• For activities classified as Amber or Green a further site specific
assessment by the IFCAs/MMO will be carried out which will
determine whether or not additional measures are needed – to be
done by 2016.
• For activities classified as Blue, there is no interaction so no further
What is Natural England doing?
• Providing data to IFCAs and MMO to identify red-features
o help them be specific in measures they develop.
• Provide advice on key issues
o use of buffer areas
o being proportionate on precautionary decisions.
• Help build the evidence base for amber and green assessments to be
carried out from 2013-16.
• Work with industry and regulators to develop assessment methods.
What does this approach mean to aquaculture
• Amber/green shellfishery and aquaculture activities will need to be
• We recognise that this is a significant area of work and we want to
work with the SAGB to develop and deliver the solutions.
• Much engagement already over ‘Appropriate Assessments’
– some very good practice
• This will include developing assessment protocols, projects, and
commissioning new evidence
• Enhanced partnership working between SAGB and NE
• Secondment of Rob Whiteley into the SAGB
• Rob had 3 years working with fisheries in our Irish Sea Team, now
working for Natural England’s national fisheries team
• Starting June 2013
SAGB/NE secondment: outcomes sought
• Review and revision of the NE/SAGB MoU
• Develop guidance on the legislative process:
• Build links between regulators and industry on Pacific oysters
• Develop links between NE staff and aquaculture practitioners
• Data collection with industry, especially around Defra’s approach
to fisheries in European Marine Sites
• Open communication channels – work together