Poole Harbour Consent Order Technical Investigation and Recommendations

A report updating the Poole Harbour Nutrient Management Plan to deliver Water Framework Directive and Protected Area objectives.


Poole Harbour Consent Order Technical Investigation and Recommendations

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Poole Harbour is a designated ‘transitional water body’ and ‘protected area’ under the Water Framework Directive (WFD). The intertidal habitats and coastal waters of Poole Harbour are of international nature conservation importance with the site designated as a Special Protection Area (SPA) under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (Habitats Regulations 2017).

As part of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 and Article 6(3) of the Habitats Regulations (HR), Poole Harbour need to comply with specific Conservation Objectives for the SPA. Poole Harbour is also designated as a Ramsar site which are afforded the same provisions under the Habitats Regulations, the harbour is also nationally designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interests (SSSI).

The SPA is failing to achieve the conservation objectives for the site, in part due to the high nutrient load and enrichment of the water body. This has consequential effects on wetland birds and their supporting habitats through complex changes in the marine environment and ecology, including high levels of opportunistic green macroalgae growth on mudflats, an indicator of eutrophication. The Ramsar and SSSI are also correspondingly failing in condition.

The Environment Agency and Natural England have evaluated whether the existing measures and mechanisms to tackle pollution will lead to the improvements in water quality necessary to meet the conservation objectives for each Natura 2000 site. The Poole Harbour Consent Order Technical Recommendations, detail the findings of this review and recommends the further measures that should be put in place in the harbour and catchment to deliver these objectives.

It builds on the previously published Nutrient Management Plan (NMP) ‘Strategy for Managing Nitrogen across the Poole Harbour Catchment to 2035’ and considers the most relevant up-to-date evidence and scientific understanding.

Published 28 January 2022