Studland to Portland pSAC latest news
RYA is challenging the conclusion of the consultation's Impact Assessment that 'restrictions on anchoring may be introduced'.
Natural England’s consultation on the designation of a possible Special Area of Conservation (pSAC) has now closed.
The RYA responded to the consultation because it believes that the designation of a SAC in this sea area could impact upon the ability for recreational boaters to anchor.
The consultation’s Impact Assessment (IA) concluded that ‘there is potential for anchoring to have a significant impact’ and that ‘restrictions on anchoring may need to be introduced’ if the sea area from Studland to Portland is designated as a SAC.
However, having studied the IA the RYA does not believe that this conclusion is supported by the evidence gathered.
The IA makes it clear that recreational anchoring ‘may be insignificant in terms of the site as a whole. At the current level of activity, the risk is low that other recreational activities would increase in impact on interest features if the site was not designated’.
It also states that a reduction in the capability of the rocky reefs, which provide protection for the coast, is ‘unlikely to be caused by anchoring’.
Alana Murphy RYA Planning and Environmental Advisor comments “The IA’s conclusion that anchoring may have a significant impact is just not supported by the evidence identified elsewhere in the report.
"Our view, which we have stated in our response to the Studland-Portland pSAC consultation is therefore that this conclusion is fundamentally flawed.
“Any restriction on anchoring in the Studland to Portland pSAC would have a significant impact on recreational boating activity in the area and we do not consider that the case has been made to introduce restrictions on anchoring.”
The RYA believes that any protection measure restricting a particular activity should only be put in place or remain in place for as long as it can be demonstrated that the activity and the protected feature cannot reasonably co-exist in the relevant area and that the protection measure remains proportionate to the perceived impact of the activity.
Read more about the RYA’s policy on management measures
An area of sea between Studland and Portland, off the South Dorset coast, has been identified by Natural England as a possible Special Area of Conservation (pSAC).
Natural England believe it has one of the best examples of reef habitat eligible for protection under the Habitats Directive, to form part of a network of protected areas for important or threatened wildlife habitats and species across the European Union.
Natural England is now reviewing the reponses it has received to the consultation.
Go to Current Affairs on the RYA site for more information on the RYA’s position on management measures and to follow the progress of this issue.