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Public authorities have a varied and vital role in conserving biodiversity in the maritime environment. This is reflected in their many functions and activities from statutory obligations to voluntary initiatives. BioSW has published guidance to describe the provisions of the of the NERC Act and to help public authorities operating in the maritime environment to fulfil their Duties under this Act and help conserve this unique environment. The guidance which can be downloaded from this site, is provided in addition to that produced by Defra, but brings an emphasis on delivery of the Duty in the Maritime environment. Examples of ways in which the Biodiversity Duty can be taken forward are outlined in the table below:

Ways in which the NERC Biodiversity Duty should be taken forward include the following;

  • Integrating coastal and marine biodiversity in existing and new strategies and policies;
  • Having specific biodiversity policies and objectives;
  • Considering incidental opportunities to protect and enhance biodiversity;
  • Integrating biodiversity within corporate priorities and internal policy.
  • Integrating coastal and marine biodiversity considerations into planning, licensing, infrastructure and development decisions;
  • Having specific plans, policies and objectives for biodiversity action;
  • Taking opportunities to enhance biodiversity as well as protect it both directly and indirectly through design considerations;
  • Effective monitoring to ensure measures are successful.
  • Being aware of the biodiversity resource within and around land and seabed holdings and property;
  • Managing land, seabed and property in a way which;
    • reduces environmental impacts that affect biodiversity,
    • has regard to designated sites as well as biodiversity in general,
    • explores options to enhance the biodiversity interest.
  • Incorporating biodiversity considerations into general education, advice and awareness raising work;
  • Have specific coastal and marine biodiversity projects;
  • Supporting coastal and marine research and monitoring;
  • Gathering and using coastal and marine biodiversity data and information;
  • Using local, regional and national expertise on marine biodiversity matters to inform decision making.
  • Supporting and building on the many existing coastal & marine partnerships;
  • Exchanging information and pooling expertise on how biodiversity benefits might be achieved through partnership working;
  • Encouraging organisations that do not have environmental management as a primary function to participate in coastal and maritime partnerships.

There may be other organisations and partnerships involved in activities already in your area that you could become involved in to help deliver on your NERC Biodiversity Duties. For more information contact your most relevant Local Biodiversity Action Partnership

Working for marine wildlife: Guidance for public authorities on conserving marine, coastal, and estuarine biodiversity in South West England (PDF 438kb).