RESULTS OF A WORKING GROUP OF THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION CONSISTING OF REPRESENTATIVES OF STAKEHOLDERS, MEMBER STATES AND NGOS
IMPLEMENTATION THE EU NATURE LEGISLATION IN ESTUARIES
AND COASTAL ZONES, WITH PARTICULAR ATTENTION TO PORT-
RELATED ACTIVITIES: technical recommendations and guidance
RESULTS OF A WORKING GROUP OF THE EUROPEAN
COMMISSION CONSISTING OF REPRESENTATIVES OF
STAKEHOLDERS, MEMBER STATES AND NGOS
Prepared for the Nature & Biodiversity Unit of DG Environment and the Maritime transport, ports
policy and maritime security Unit of DG Energy and Transport, editor: THE N2K GROUP, EEIG
1 Executive summary .................................................................................................................. 3
2 Working on estuaries, coastal zones and port related activities (why, what, how)............. 4
3 Rationale and background........................................................................................................ 8
4 Major problem and issues....................................................................................................... 13
5 Conservation objectives in dynamic environments.............................................................. 23
6 Integrated management and planning................................................................................... 31
7 Undertaking a new project...................................................................................................... 37
8 Conclusion............................................................................................................................... 37
9 Annex 1 : EC opinion on two port development plans (Rotterdam and Granadilla)
affecting Natura 2000 sites......................................................................................................... 38
10 Annex 2 : references ............................................................................................................. 43
11 Annex 3: List of Technical Supporting Documents prepared............................................ 51
12 Annex 4: members of the Working Group........................................................................... 52
1 Box A: Ecological Status of primary producers in WFD (annex 5)...................................... 73
2 Box B: Ecological Status of Angiosperms in WFD (annex 5).............................................. 74
3 Box C : Ecological Status of Benthic invertebrate fauna in WFD (annex 5)....................... 75
4 Box D : Ecological Status of fish fauna in WFD (annex 5)................................................... 76
13 Conservation objectives and measures for the SACS........................................................ 94
5 Box B: Galway seminar, suggested structure of a Natura 2000 management plan........... 96
6 Box A: Key example............................................................................................................... 105
7 Box A: Key question from Hamburg Port Authority........................................................... 126
8 Box B - Key proposal from Rotterdam Port Authority: Natural Asset Creation .............. 127
14 Yes/No................................................................................................................................... 142
Natura 2000, estuaries, coastal areas and port related activities– Draft version n° 9 2
1 Executive summary
Will be added in the final version (partly prepared) on the basis of the final results.
Natura 2000, estuaries, coastal areas and port related activities– Draft version n° 9 3
2 Working on estuaries, coastal zones and port related
activities (why, what, how)
2.1 Challenges for estuaries and coastal zones
Estuaries and coastal zones are among the most productive ecosystems of the world, with
equally high ecological and economic values. They offer a wide variety of ecosystem services
such as shoreline stabilization, nutrient regulation, carbon sequestration, detoxification of polluted
waters and supply of food and energy resources (Millenium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005). They
also offer amenity services such as tourism and recreation but above all they provide shelter for
ships and access to inland areas from the sea.
Estuaries and coastal zones also comprise the most dynamic and complex ecosystems of the
world forming a mosaic of a variety of habitats protected under the European environmental
legislation. Typical habitats composing an estuary include sand banks, mudflats and sandflats,
salt marshes and in coastal areas sand dunes, coastal lagoons, shallow inlets and bays, reefs,
islets and small islands, sandy beaches, sea cliffs and other, all protected under the Council
Directive (92/43/EEC) on the conservation of natural habitats and wild flora and fauna (Habitats
Directive). Shorebirds are dependant on estuaries during migrations over long distances from
breeding to wintering grounds. Particularly dependent species are geese, ducks, waders (Elliott
et al., 1998), but seabirds, herons or passerines are concerned too. These birds are protected
under the Council Directive 79/409/EEC on the conservation of birds (Birds Directive).
The Habitats and Birds Directives form the cornerstone of Europe’s nature conservation policy
which is based on a network of protected sites, the Natura 2000 network and a strict system of
species protection. The Natura 2000 network so far consists of terrestrial and marine Special
Areas of Conservation (SACs) - protecting habitats and species - and of Special Protected Areas
(SPAs) -protecting bird species. Estuaries and coastal water bodies are also protected under the
Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC since they are identified as transitional and coastal
waters whose deterioration should be prevented and their aquatic ecosystem status should be
protected and enhanced.
On the other hand, the demand for marine transportation has been constantly increasing and
ships have become larger to provide greater economy of scale. Bigger ships required greater
facilities that have expanded and are still doing so towards estuarine and adjacent coastal areas.
The enhancement of shipping is EU policy. The European Commission supports the concepts of
motorways of the sea and short sea shipping. Moreover the European Commission has
recognized through its Communication on An Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union
that sea-ports and shipping allow Europe to benefit from the rapid growth of international trade
and to play a leading role in the global economy (European Commission, 2007d). The fact that
90% of Europe's external trade and close to 40% of its internal trade passes through its ports
demonstrates that Europe's ports face a great challenge if they are to deal with increasing
demand (European Commission, 2007d). According to the European Maritime Policy the capacity
development of ports and coastal and estuarine fairway channels must mirror the growth of
Europe's domestic and international trade and occur in a way that is compatible with related EU
policy objectives, in particular its environmental and competitiveness goals.
This Communication was supported from the European Ports Policy Communication that aimed
at a performing European port system able to cope with the future challenges of European
transport needs, setting an action plan for the European Commission (European Commission,
2007b). One of the objectives of the plan was to increase the carrying capacity of ports through
improvement, extension or construction to allow increase of maritime and fluvial transport.
Other port related activities (i.e. industrial activities, construction of transportation facilities) taking
place near estuarine and coastal areas will also increase, following the rapid growth of ports,
adding more pressure on terrestrial habitats and rural areas.
Natura 2000, estuaries, coastal areas and port related activities– Draft version n° 9 4
Because many ports and fairway channels are located in estuaries and coastal zones that host
environmentally sensitive areas with high ecological value, protected under the EU legislation
(Birds and Habitats Directives, Water Framework Directive), stakeholders claimed a certain
degree for legal uncertainty specifically in relation to the Birds and Habitats Directives. It was also
supported from several stakeholders that the establishment of Natura 2000 under the Habitats
Directive in estuaries and coastal zones and the need to increase the carrying capacity of ports in
order to meet the challenges of the European transport needs has proven to be controversial in
many Member States.
2.2 Study approach and limitations of the document
The Commission has already published several guidance documents to support Member States
in implementing the environment directives, and citizens and stakeholders in better understanding
them (see references). For the Water Framework Directive, a Common Implementation Strategy
(CIS) was developed in order to address the challenges in a co-operative and coordinated way.
However, there was a more persistent need to issue clarifications, explanations and even
prospective thoughts on the application of the Community environmental legislation, especially
the Bird and Habitats directives, to port development.
An expert “Working Group on Estuaries and Coastal Zones” was established (see annex 4) with
the aim of enhancing exchange of information on existing experiences and best practice in
relation to management of port related activities and Natura 2000, and providing general
guidance on the application of the Nature Directives in these areas. The working group was
chaired by the Commission (The Nature and Biodiversity Unit of DG Environment and the
Maritime transport, ports policy and maritime security Unit of DG for Energy and Transport) and
composed of experts from different Member States, scientific experts, representatives of key
stakeholder groups (including European Sea Port Organisation and the European Dredging
Association), NGOs, as well as Commission services (Directorate General of the Environment,
Directorate General of Transport and Energy, Directorate General of Maritime Affaires and
Fisheries). The Working Group met several times to discuss the progress of this document within
the 2007-2009 and significantly contributed to its elaboration. Principal communication and
documentation exchange was carried out through the CIRCA platform1
. It is foreseen to continue
the dialogue between the European Commission and the Working Group on Estuaries and
Coastal Zones with at least one meeting per year.
The scope of the current document is to provide clarifications, explanations and even prospective
thoughts on the implementation of the EU nature legislation in Natura 2000 sites located in
estuaries and coastal zones, with particular attention to fairway channels, port-related activities
and dredging. This work is a new approach that has not to be mistake for the existing guidance
documents as it does not concern the interpretation of one single article of the directive. This is
the results of both the considerations of the European Commission and these of the stakeholders,
NGOs, scientists and national or regional representatives.
The document is intended to be bound by and faithful to the text of the relevant Directives and the
wider principles underpinning Community law on the environment and port-related activities. It is
not legislative in character, it does not provide new rules but guidance on the application of those
that exist. As such this document reflects only the views of the Commission services and is not of
a binding nature.
It should be stressed that it rests with the EU Court of Justice to provide definitive interpretation of
a Directive. Therefore, the guidance provided will need to evolve in line with any emerging
jurisprudence on this subject. The current document intends to fully respect the existing case law
of the Court, especially where clear positions have already been established by the Court.
The document also aims to make best use of existing technical and scientific knowledge, with a
view to identifying methodological approaches relevant to dealing with port related activities and
nature conservation. This subject could also be considered as a case study for the Business and
Biodiversity EU Initiative. The current document recognises that the management and protection
Natura 2000, estuaries, coastal areas and port related activities– Draft version n° 9 5
of nature is the responsibility of the Member States in accordance with the requirements of the
nature directives. National legislation, regulations and planning guidance will also be very
significant in establishing how Natura 2000 sites, port development and maintenance measures
This document will tackle different groups of directives (process, planning, and implementation)
including the Environmental Impact Assessment and the Strategic Environmental Assessment
directives. Some general comments will also be given for the requirements of the Water
Framework Directive and the Marine Strategy. Air emissions, waste, energy and environmental
quality standards policies are not in the scope of this document.
In addition, it is not only Community legislation but also the national law, which needs to be
applied. The exchange of experience and good practice examples have been the most
appropriate means for facilitating and improving the implementation of the respective legislation,
as several interesting initiatives were already launched by stakeholders as the projects
Harbasins, New Delta or Paralia. Extensive evaluation of jurisprudence or Commission opinions
under article 6 in relation to development projects in estuaries and coastal zones have also been
taken under consideration to a better understanding and implementation of EU environmental
legislation in these areas.
The document mainly focuses on the development of large commercial and industrial port
infrastructure, waterways and related projects in the EU, regardless of their geographical location
(estuary, coastline, bay, island, city). Port related activities considered include port construction/
extension, extension and maintenance of coastal and estuarine fairway channels, capital and
maintenance dredging and disposal, industrial areas, transportation facilities and safety (including
sea defence and flood protection). Other important users and issues of estuaries like flood
protection, fishery, agriculture, tourism, shellfish farming, use of water for cooling systems will not
be dealt with although these aspects may have an important influence on any estuary designated
as a Natura 2000 site as well.
The target audiences of the guidance document are as follows:
National, regional, local and federal competent authorities,
Port and waterway authorities, operators, users and related industries,
Dredging companies and associations,
The current report, consists of a core text, was elaborated with the support of thirteen specific
technical specification sheets called Technical Supporting Documents (TSD - see annex 3). The
TSDs involve a more detailed analysis of the most important issues/ questions raised from the
stakeholders in terms of the application of the EU nature legislation to areas where port-activities
are taking place. Both the current report and TSDs have been reviewed from the members of the
working group (including by the mean of dedicated meetings). A brief summary of the TSDs and
main conclusions drawn for each issue/question are presented in the following chapters.
This current document consists of five thematic areas:
1. Rationale and background
This part of the document emphasizes both the environmental importance of estuaries and
coastal zones and the economic value of ports. A brief presentation is made on main European
policies focused by the report.
2. Major problems and issues
Taken into consideration of the impact of climate change, it is important to examine at this point
what are the environmental impacts of the port related activities, including waterways
management, to nature in order to be able to define the existing problem and find a compromise
Natura 2000, estuaries, coastal areas and port related activities– Draft version n° 9 6
between nature protection and port development. Main issues for port sector were also
photographed because of the value of this economical sector.
3. Conservation objectives in dynamic environments
This part of the document first emphasized how important is for stakeholders to understand the
estuarine and coastal system functioning for a more accurate assessment of the effects of
anthropogenic activities and other external factors (e.g. climate change). The ecosystems and
protected species and habitats were thereafter presented in order to explain the environmental
sensitivity of estuarine and coastal environments to the development of ports and waterways. The
ecosystem approach was also introduced as a way to integrate and better understand such a
complex system with very different elements i.e. geomorphological issues, ecological and
economic issues. Potential synergies were also explored between the EU nature legislation and
the WFD. Guidelines were finally given on how to set conservation objectives in such dynamic
and complex ecosystems and how to integrate economical activities in Natura 2000 management
4. Integrated management and planning
This chapter presents issues of recurring activities in estuarine areas and adjacent coastal zones,
as maintenance dredging, and of long term spatial plans including port extensions. Both
categories may need an appropriate assessment related to the implementation of article 6 of the
Habitats Directive. Port extension at EU and regional levels could benefit from Strategic
Environmental Assessment and other planning tools such as the Integrated Coastal Zone
Management. Integrated management will be the core part of this thematic area.
5. Undertaking a new project
This chapter answers questions frequently raised from stakeholders when it comes to undertake
a new plan or project: what is really an appropriate assessment required from the habitats
directive when undertaking a new project? How to handle alternatives? How are indirect and
cumulative impacts considered? How to proceed with mitigation and compensation measures and
who will manage the future of ecological areas restored?
Natura 2000, estuaries, coastal areas and port related activities– Draft version n° 9 7
3 Rationale and background
Biodiversity and ecosystems are closely related concepts and changes in ecosystems affect
human beings and many other species as well. Coastal and estuarine ecosystems — areas
where fresh water and salt water mix, and nearshore marine areas — are among the most
productive yet highly threatened systems in the world.
Ecosystem services of coastal and estuarine areas include regulation and supporting services
such as shoreline stabilization, nutrient regulation, carbon sequestration, detoxification of
polluted waters, and waste disposal; provisioning services such as supply of food, energy
resources, and natural products; and amenity services such as tourism and recreation
(Millenium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005). One of the services offered from such ecosystems
was shelter for ships and access to inland waters. This lead to the development of ports that
has amongst other activities altered the ecosystem’s functions.
The great variety and economic value of such ecosystems attracted humans and today
worldwide population densities on the coasts are nearly three times that of inland areas. About
70 out of the 455 million citizens of the enlarged European Union, i.e. 16% of the EU
population, live in coastal municipalities (EC, 2006b). Rapid growth and human population
concentration has lead to the overexploitation of coastal and estuarine ecosystem services from
activities such as port development, urbanization, resort development, aquaculture and
industrialization. This often affected estuaries, sand dunes, salt marshes, mudflats, sandflats,
coastal lagoons and reefs, all comprising habitats with a high natural value hosting a great
diversity of species of fauna and flora. Since ecosystem services have been degraded human
well-being has also been affected and coastal inhabitants are in many cases facing coastal
erosion and flooding, declining water quality, resource limitation and increasing health risks.
It is clear from the previous section that the physical, chemical and biological features of coastal
zones and estuaries present a very thin balance that could be adversely affected both from
human activities and other external factors such as climate change.
3.1 Estuaries, coastal zones and the EU Nature legislation
Natura 2000 is a European network of nature protection areas established under the 1992
‘‘Habitats’’ Directive 92/43/EEC on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Flora and
Fauna and under the 1979 ’’Birds’’ Directive 79/409/EEC on the Conservation of Wild Birds. The
aim of the network is to assure the long-term survival of Europe's most valuable and threatened
species and habitats. It is comprised of Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) designated by
Member States under the Habitats Directive, and Special Protection Areas (SPAs) which they
designate under the Birds Directive.
The Habitats Directive (Box 1) complements the Birds Directive (Box 2) since ‘’the Natura 2000
network shall include the special protection areas classified by the Member States pursuant to
the Birds Directive’’.
Natura 2000, estuaries, coastal areas and port related activities– Draft version n° 9
Box 1: The ‘‘Habitats’’ Directive 92/43/EEC on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Flora and Fauna.
Article (2) -
1. The aim of this Directive shall be to contribute towards ensuring bio-diversity through the conservation of natural
habitats and of wild fauna and flora in the European territory of the Member States to which the Treaty applies.
2. Measures taken pursuant to this Directive shall be designed to maintain or restore, at favourable conservation status,
natural habitats and species of wild fauna and flora of Community interest.
3. Measures taken pursuant to this Directive shall take account of economic, social and cultural requirements and
regional and local characteristics.
Article (3) - A coherent European network of special areas for conservation shall be set up under the title Natura 2000.
This network, composed of sites hosting the natural habitat types listed in Annex I and habitats of the species listed in
Annex II, shall enable the natural habitat types and the species' habitats concerned to be maintained or, where
appropriate, restored at a favourable conservation status in their natural range.
As indicated in Article 6 (see Box
4 in chapter 4) of the ‘‘Habitats’’
Directive ‘‘any plan or project not
directly connected with or
necessary to the management of
the site but likely to have a
significant effect thereon, either
individually or in combination with
other plans or projects, shall be
subject to appropriate
assessment of its implications for
the site in view of the site’s
The EU has made significant commitments in the protection of biodiversity and restoration of
natural systems. An EC Biodiversity Strategy (European Commission, 1998) was adopted and
Heads of State or Government agreed “to halt the decline of biodiversity in the EU by 2010”
(Göteborg European Council, 2001) and to “restore habitats and natural systems” (EC, 2001a).
Natura 2000 is the centrepiece of EU nature & biodiversity policy. Coastal and estuarine habitats
protected under the Habitats Directive cover a total area of more than 45,000 km² in the whole
European Territory, which is 7% of the whole Natura 2000 network (Table 1).
Table 1: Surface area of coastal and estuarine habitats protected under the EU Nature legislation
(after Natura 2000 Database – December 2007)
Coastal and estuarine Natura 2000 sites of interest to the
present document (without SPAs)
Total surface area in the
whole EU-27 territory (in 2007)
1130 Estuaries (264 sites) 634.249
1150 Coastal lagoons (564 sites) 405.164
1160 Large shallow inlets and bays (320 sites) 1.089.188
1110 Sandbank which are slightly covered by sea water all the
time (411 sites)
1140 Mudflats and sandflats not covered by seawater at low
tide (340 sites)
Total 4.512.116 ha
3.2 The Water Framework Directive (WFD) and the Marine Strategy Framework
Two other directives also protecting ecosystem services, and thus contributing to biodiversity
protection, include the Water Framework Directive (WFD), 2000/60/EC and the Marine Strategy
Framework Directive (MSFD), 2008/56/EC. The WFD establishes a framework for the protection
of surface waters (rivers, lakes, transitional and coastal) and groundwater on an EU level and
aims to achieve a good ecological and chemical status (or a good potential) by 2015. The MSFD
2008/56/EC establishes a framework for the protection, preservation and restoration of marine
biodiversity and ecosystems. Within this framework, Member States shall take the necessary
measures to achieve or maintain good environmental status in the marine environment by the
year 2020 at the latest.
Although the principal aim of all these directives is to protect ecosystems (a component of
biodiversity definition) their objectives, measures and tools are not entirely the same. Attention
Natura 2000, estuaries, coastal areas and port related activities– Draft version n° 9
Box 2: The ‘‘Birds’’ Directive 79/409/EEC on the Conservation
of Wild Birds
Article (1) - This Directive relates to the conservation of all species
of naturally occurring birds in the wild state in the European territory
of the Member States to which the Treaty applies. It covers the
protection, management and control of these species and lays
down the rules for their exploitation...
Article (3) -... Member States shall take the requisite measures to
preserve, maintain or re-establish a sufficient diversity and area of
habitats for the all the species of birds referred to in Article 1...
Article (4) - In respect of the protection areas...Member States shall
take appropriate steps to avoid pollution or deterioration of habitats
and any disturbances affecting the birds, in so far as these would
be significant having regard to the objectives of this Article.
should be given to potential synergies between these directives especially in areas where all
these apply i.e. transitional and coastal waters2
In contrast to the Habitats Directive, the WFD gives the opportunity to designate sites as ‘Heavily
Modified Water Bodies’ (HMWB) defined as water bodies resulted from physical alterations from
human activity, which substantially changed its hydrogeomorphological character. Member States
may designate a body of surface water as heavily modified when the changes to the
hydromorphological characteristics of that body, which would be necessary for achieving Good
Ecological Status (GES – a similar type of target to Favourable Conservation Status – FCS - in
the Habitats Directive), would have significant adverse effects on navigation, including port
facilities or recreation (and other activities not relevant to the current document). This means that
under the WFD, many of the transitional or coastal water bodies where ports are located will
probably be designated as HMWB. In implementing the WFD, environmental managers are
required to assess the status of HMWB in terms of achieving at least ‘good ecological potential’
(GEP) and not GES.
Port developers consider sometimes that the requirements of the WFD are less problematic than
those of the nature directives and stakeholders noted that the WFD considers in a more direct
manner the need for economic development within or near the areas to be designated. They are
confused when the requirements of the Habitat Directive have to be applied for the same area
(i.e. achieve FCS) especially when it is considered as HMWB. However, the Water Framework
Directive is clear that the more stringent objectives (of either the WFD or the nature Directives)
take precedence over the less stringent objectives. Guidance already provided on the exemptions
related to the WFD, especially the one on article 4.7 (see references), have already highlighted
that the most stringent objectives are valid.
3.3 Maritime transport policy and European ports policy
The importance of the 70 000 km of European coastline was underlined in the EU communication
on the Integrated Maritime Policy since EU's maritime regions account for some 40% of its GDP
and population (EC 2007d). Shipbuilding and shipping, ports and fisheries remain key maritime
activities, but offshore energy (including oil, gas and renewables) and coastal and maritime
tourism also generate massive revenues (EC 2007d). Increased demand for port capacity was
identified in the European Port’s Policy (EC, 2007b) in order to improve port efficiency and
increase productivity rates. As highlighted by the European Sea Port Organisation (ESPO, 2007),
“international seaborne trade increased by an estimated 3.8% in 2005 to reach a total volume of
7.11 billion tons. Total demand for shipping services reached about 29 billion ton-miles in 2005,
representing an increase of 5.1 % compared to the year before). Europe remains a massive
importer of crude oil and petroleum products with more than half a billion tons in 2005. Europe
also remained the largest dry cargo market with more than a billion tons of exports (22.7% of
world total) and over .5 billion tons of imports (32.3%)”. The European Sea Port Organisation
(ESPO) published some interesting figures on the container, RoRo, general cargo and liquid and
dry bulk markets in Europe (ESPO, 2007 – Box 3).
Merchant ports count for more than 1 200 in Europe (Map 1), comprise key points of modal
transfer and are of vital interest to handle 90% of Europe's international trade (EC, 2007b). The
high density of ports along North sea and Channel coastlines has to be highlighted.
Environmental Directives were sometimes considered as an obstacle to port development as
stated from ESPO: “shipping lines, through massive expansion plans for their ship fleets, have
clearly prepared themselves to handle the expected increase in container volumes in the short
term, the development of additional container handling capacity to meet this demand has clearly
lagged behind in some parts of the world’’.
the MSFD only applies in coastal water bodies insofar as aspects such as litter, noise and
cetaceans are concerned (ie. to parameters not already included in the WFD)
Natura 2000, estuaries, coastal areas and port related activities– Draft version n° 9 10
Map 1: Major European Sea Ports (after EC Port Policy Consultation 2006-2007,
2007, Map showing the trans-european transport network outline plan-2020
horizon) (Quality of map to be improved)
Existing seaports Existing inland ways
Inland maritime ports Planned inland ways
Natura 2000, estuaries, coastal areas and port related activities– Draft version n° 9 11
Natura 2000, estuaries, coastal areas and port related activities– Draft version n° 9
BOX 3 (after ESPO, 2007)
- The total throughput handled by the world’s container ports grew at an average rate of 11 % per year in the
last five years and this attributed to the increased transhipment traffic and the high growth rates in
Asian/Chinese container ports.
- Total container throughput in Europe accounts for some 18% of the world total.
- The top fifteen ports in Europe saw a container throughput of around 54 million TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent
Unit-container length) in 2006, the top three 25.6 million TEU.
- The Le Havre – Hamburg range remains the leading port range in Europe, but a significant number of ports
in the West-Mediterranean (in particular Spanish ports), the Black Sea and the Baltic have witnessed healthy
growth rates as well.
- The highest growth rates in 2006 have been realized by Amsterdam, Sines, Zeebrugge, Bremerhaven,
Constanza, Gdynia, Tallinn, Kotka and Rauma.
- The top five strongest growers in TEU terms were Hamburg, Bremerhaven, Antwerp, Rotterdam and
Constanza, together adding some 2.7 million TEU to total European port throughput in 2006.
RoRo stands for Roll-on/roll-off and refers to ships that are ferries designed to carry wheeled cargo such as
automobiles, trucks, semi-trailer trucks, trailers or railroad cars. This is in contrast to lo-lo (lift on-lift off) vessels
which use a crane to load and unload cargo.
- Combined European RoRo throughput amounted to 415 million tons in 2005, of which ports in the United
Kingdom handled about one quarter.
- Other major RoRo countries include Italy, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Spain, the
Netherlands and Finland. Dover remains the largest European RoRo port followed by Calais, Zeebrugge,
Lόbeck, Immingham, Rotterdam, Trelleborg and Goteborg.
Conventional general cargo market
- European seaports handled a total throughput of 253 million tons of conventional general cargo in 2005.
- The lion’s share of conventional general cargo was handled in ports in Italy, the United Kingdom, Spain,
Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Norway, Finland and France.
- Antwerp is the market leader with a volume of 17.4 million tons in 2005.
- Other major conventional general cargo ports include Rotterdam, Taranto, Dunkirk and Valencia. More than
200 ports in Europe handled less than half a million ton of conventional general cargo traffic in 2005.
Liquid bulk market
- The seaborne liquid bulk trade amounted to 2.42 billion tons in 2005, of which 77% crude oil and 23% oil
- Loadings and unloadings in Europe amounted to half a billion tons of crude oil and 46 million tons of oil
- The liquid bulk ships represent 40.9% in the world fleet (in dwt), mainly oil tankers.
- European seaports handled a total throughput of 1.58 billion tons of liquid bulk traffic in 2005. The lion’s
share of this volume was handled in ports in the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, France and Spain.
- These five countries accounted for around billion tons of liquid bulk traffic.
- On an individual port basis, by far the biggest liquid bulk port in Europe is Rotterdam, handling nearly 170
million tons in 2005, mainly thanks to a favourable nautical accessibility and the presence of major
petrochemical clusters in Rotterdam and Antwerp.
Dry bulk market
- European ports handled a total throughput of 977 million tons of dry bulk in 2005.
- The lion’s share of this volume was handled in ports in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy and
France. Also here, by far the biggest dry bulk port is Rotterdam, handling nearly 88 million tons of dry bulk
traffic in 2005. Other major dry bulk ports include Hamburg (Germany), Antwerp (Belgium), Dunkirk (France),
Taranto (Italy) and Amsterdam (Netherlands).
4 Major problem and issues
Legal uncertainty was though claimed by stakeholders in relation to the Birds and Habitats
Directives. The Commission is aware of the difficulties that may arise on the occasion of the
implementation of these directives with regard to port infrastructures (EC, 2007b). Conservation
objectives of all designated sites are not always compatible with the developmental objectives of
other users of such areas (i.e. port authorities) that are having a difficulty in implementing all
aforementioned directives. However this position has to be balanced with the need of protection
of estuaries and coastal zones because of the great human pressure on these areas and the
challenges they will be confronted to with climate change and its related impacts. This external
factor will have a great impact on port related activities to because of the sea level rise and tidal
4.1 Climate and global changes
As indicated in the Green Paper informing Member States on how to adapt to Climate Change in
Europe (EC, 2007a), global change presents a double challenge today:
Climate change is already happening, societies worldwide face the parallel challenge of
having to adapt to its impacts as a certain degree of climate change is inevitable
throughout this century and beyond, even if global mitigation efforts over the next
decades prove successful.
Severe climate change impacts can only be prevented by early, deep cuts of greenhouse
gas (GHG) emissions. Swift transition to a global low-carbon economy is therefore the
central pillar of the EU’s integrated climate change and energy policy in order to reach
the EU’s objective of keeping global average temperature increase below 2°C compared
to pre-industrial levels.
Coastal zones and floodplains are listed in the most vulnerable areas to climate change in
Europe. Coastal zones are vulnerable due to sea level rise combined with increased risks for
storms, intense rainfall and flash floods leading to widespread damages to built-up areas and
infrastructure (EC, 2007a). Flood protection measures such as dyke construction, land
reclamation and other types of construction for sea defence leads to the “coastal squeeze”
phenomenon whereby less and less space is available for natural coastal processes to
accommodate eroding forces or adjust to changes such as sea-level rise. “Coastal squeeze”
occurs especially in low-lying and inter-tidal areas, which would naturally adjust to the changes in
sea level, storms and tides, but cannot do so due to the construction of inflexible barriers such as
roads, dykes, urbanisations, hard port infrastructure, industrial and other facilities (European
Natura 2000, estuaries, coastal areas and port related activities– Draft version n° 9 13
Figure 1: Coastal Squeeze is created when habitat migration (in response to sea-level rise)
is prevented by tidal/flood defences (Environment Agency, 2005).
Climate change will heavily affect Europe's natural environment and nearly all sections of society
and the economy. Major transport infrastructure with long lifetimes such as motorways, railways,
waterways, its functioning and related means of transport are weather and climate sensitive and
therefore affected by a changing climate. For example, sea-level rise will reduce the sheltering
effect of breakwaters and quays wall (EC, 2007a), but also periods of decreased precipitation in
the river catchment areas can lead to lower rates of freshwater run-of resulting in and higher
sedimentation rates within the estuary.
The EC published the Eurosion study (EC, 2004b) in order to guide Member States on how to
deal with sea-level rise in coastal areas and manage coastal erosion. According to this, coastal
erosion is usually the result of a combination of factors - both natural and human induced - that
operate on different scales:
Natural factors are: winds and storms, near shore currents, relative sea level rise (a
combination of vertical land movement and sea level rise) and slope processes.
Human induced factors include: coastal engineering, land claim, river basin regulation
works (especially construction of dams), dredging, vegetation clearing, vessel-induced
wave erosion, gas mining and water extraction.
4.2 Main issues for port sector
One of the key issue for port sector development is the capability to plan smoothly the new
projects because there is a need of coordinated investments. However there were frequently
delays in terminal extension in various European ports during these last years (see table 2).
ESPO attributes those delays to a number of different causes, ranging from internal politics within
the port, environmental objections, legal technicalities and objections, investigations by the
European Commission into market share implications, to political wrangling over funding, court
cases, or to public enquiries and subsequent government considerations of their findings (ESPO,
Table 2: Port terminal extension delays (After ESPO, 2007)
Port terminal name and location Delays due to a wide range of reasons
Le Havre Port 2000, France
The originally proposed date for the opening of the “Le
Havre Port 2000” complex was delayed for three years
(from 2003 until 2006)
Deurganckdok terminal in the port
of Antwerp, Belgium
Operations at the Deurganckdok in the port of Antwerp
(Belgium) only started in late 2005, while this date was
originally intended to be 2001
Euromax terminal in the port of
Delay from 2004 to 2008
JadeWeserPort in Wilhelmshaven,
Lower Saxony Germany
Delay from 2006 to 2010
Westerschelde Container Terminal
in Flushing, Netherlands
At least five years delay
Maasvlakte II project in Rotterdam,
Start date of operations postponed from 2002 to 2003 at the
Felixstowe South Reconfiguration,
Felixstowe South Reconfiguration’ obtained government
approval in early 2006 and is expected to be taken into
operation in 2008, i.e. two years behind schedule
Bathside Bay in the port of
Construction work expected to start in 2009 at the earliest,
implying a significant delay to the proposed start date of
operations of 2004
London Gateway terminal, UK
Originally scheduled to open in 2006 were still awaiting final
approval in early 2007
Natura 2000, estuaries, coastal areas and port related activities– Draft version n° 9 14
Stakeholders showed that many difficulties arise in the implementation of the EU nature directives
and that there are delays in port maintenance works or other extension developments of ports
and their coastal and estuarine fairway channels. As indicated in previous chapters ports
comprise highly competitive businesses and confusion in the implementation of environmental
legislation that may differ from one Member State to the other will not result in a level playing
field. Port development activities and navigation facilities will have to be integrated in early
planning either in the management
plans more or less required from all
directives (i.e. Natura 2000
management plan or River Basin
Management Plan) or in other EU
planning tools such as the Strategic
Environmental Assessment or
Integrated Coastal Zone
Management. Early cooperation
among interested parties is
commonly a prerequisite for
successful planning and elimination
One of the possible reason for the
delay is the fact that stakeholders
find it difficult to follow all
requirements of the Habitat and
Birds directives, and especially
those of article 6 (see Box 4), in a
largely modified environment i.e.
estuaries and coastal zones with
historic and long lasting port and
The purpose of this document is to
provide guidance on the
implementation of the EU Nature
Directives within Natura 2000 sites
located in estuaries and coastal
zones in order to protect, maintain
and restore their biodiversity and
ecosystems while taking into
account maritime transport that
requires port infrastructure
development and maintenance of good conditions of navigation through dredging.
The first step has to be a good understanding of stakeholders questions. Those arising include:
how to define Favourable Conservation Status and how to set conservation objectives in dynamic
and rapidly changing environments such as estuaries? What are the boundaries and the
definitions of an estuary and when and to which point an impact is considered significant? Is an
appropriate assessment needed for recurring activities such as waterway and port maintenance
operations? How to reconcile the often high economic importance of estuaries with the nature
conservation needs of Natura 2000 via Article 2.3 of the habitats directive without incurring
unacceptable economic damages for whole regions? In addition to these questions, coordination
is needed when it comes to apply another two EU environmental legislations i.e. the Water
Framework Directive and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.
Since 1993, ESPO (European Sea Ports Organisation) represents the port authorities, port
associations and port administrations of the seaports of the European Union. ESPO published the
so called Code of Practice on the Birds and Habitats Directives in 2007 (ESPO, 2007), which
contains a number of recommendations to port authorities which are confronted with the legal
implications of the provisions of the Birds and Habitats Directives in their wider port area. The last
Natura 2000, estuaries, coastal areas and port related activities– Draft version n° 9
Box 4 : The ‘‘Habitats’’ Directive 92/43/EEC on the Conservation of
Natural Habitats and of Wild Flora and Fauna.
1. For special areas of conservation, Member States shall establish the
necessary conservation measures involving, if need be, appropriate
management plans specifically designed for the sites or integrated into
other development plans, and appropriate statutory, administrative or
contractual measures which correspond to the ecological requirements
of the natural habitat types in Annex I and the species in Annex II
present on the sites.
2. Member States shall take appropriate steps to avoid, in the special
areas of conservation, the deterioration of natural habitats and the
habitats of species as well as disturbance of the species for which the
areas have been designated, in so far as such disturbance could be
significant in relation to the objectives of this Directive.
3. Any plan or project not directly connected with or necessary to the
management of the site but likely to have a significant effect thereon,
either individually or in combination with other plans or projects, shall be
subject to appropriate assessment of its implications for the site in view
of the site’s conservation objectives....competent authorities shall agree
to the plan or project only after having ascertained that it will not
adversely affect the integrity of the site....
4. If, in spite of a negative assessment of the implications for the site
and in the absence of alternative solutions, a plan or project must
nevertheless be carried out for imperative reasons of overriding public
interest, including those of social or economic nature, the Member State
shall take all compensatory measures necessary to ensure that the
overall coherence of Natura 2000 is protected....where the site
concerned hosts a priority natural habitat type and/or a priority species,
the only considerations which may be raised are those relating to
human health or public safety....
chapter of Code of Practice presents a list of topics that need further guidance from the European
Commission. These topics are as follows:
More guidance should be developed for the plan or project developers on how a
proactive approach could lead to more legal certainty.
Port authorities should be willing to be proactive and willing to invest time and money in
wide public consultation, offering all stakeholders involved a chance to participate in the
procedure. Individual interests can, however, block efforts to reach early agreements and
guidance should be developed on ways to avoid this.
More guidance could be developed on how costs can be shared amongst all the relevant
stakeholders who can benefit from general initiatives aimed at integrating all the human
activities potentially affecting designated areas.
More guidance should be developed on how to address the compensation requirements
in a more flexible manner and how plan or project developers can cooperate with
environmental agencies and NGOs on this issue. The European Commission should also
promote a flexible approach as this could lead to more win-win situations.
ESPO also recommended that the European Commission actively disseminates
information on initiatives taken by industry to the relevant national authorities to
demonstrate what can be achieved by taking a proactive approach.
ESPO also submitted to the Working Group on Estuaries and Coastal Zones a position paper
(ESPO, 2008) with a list of key issues needing further guidance from the European Commission.
Those issues and questions are summarised in the table bellow.
Topics for further
How are conservation
objectives set clearly
for the estuarine
Request for an exchange and collection of good practices on
setting such objectives (clear conservation objectives in concrete
terms such as numbers and/or size were considered desirable)
How can management
plans be developed in
relation to maintenance
relocation and other
For new proposed maintenance dredging activities an exchange
of good practices on how to integrate these in a management plan
could be useful. In those cases more consideration should go out
to the possibility of having an ecological baseline laid down in the
management plan. The possibilities to set such a baseline
applying to maintenance dredging activities which were not
assessed prior should be further explored by means of an
exchange of good practices.
Where is integrated
planning useful for port
related activities and
where could it
effectively reduce time
to get permits?
Integrated planning should be looked at in more detail. ESPO
believes that spatial planning could help achieving greater legal
certainty for port development projects. However, it also believes
that a management plan for a designated site should primarily
focus on achieving the conservation objectives.
Natura 2000, estuaries, coastal areas and port related activities– Draft version n° 9 16
What is an appropriate
The highly dynamic and complex estuarine habitats are still
subject to scientific debate. This contrasts with the prescription
that a competent authority shall agree to a plan or a project only
after having ascertained that it will not adversely affect the
integrity of the site concerned. This combination of terminology,
likely – significant – appropriate, raises a lot of uncertainty which
is also not really solved in the existing Commission guidance
documents. It sets out some indications about how to carry out an
appropriate assessment but says nothing about length, number of
studies required, required contra-expertise etc. ESPO would like
to see some exchange of good practices on appropriate
assessments for specific port related projects, which would give
some more insight on how they need to be assessed. In this way
port authorities can also demonstrate the appropriateness of their
work to other parties. ESPO believes though that an appropriate
assessment should be proportional to the project/plan proposed.
There is a trend that even for the smallest projects (e.g. a minor
dredge required for a turning circle for vessels) a big amount of
studies are required. Therefore some more guidance (templates)
for specific port related projects could be useful.
Which are the different
mitigation measures for
port related projects?
Despite huge efforts to avoid any significant effect by means of
mitigation, legal complaints are still being filed against the
appropriate assessment including such measures. ESPO requests
to formalize such prior agreements in order to avoid legal
complaints. ESPO therefore calls for an exchange of good
practices about possible mitigation measures for different port
How can active
involvement of port
authorities with the
management of a site
be promoted without
Port authorities are involved in exercises aimed at improving the
resilience of a designated site and working toward a ‘good
conservation status’ by means of active management and
measures. A similar approach counts for pieces of land owned by
the port authority but not in use for port operations. Ports can turn
these into ecologically interesting areas, but are less inclined to do
so if this would lead to adaptation of conservation objectives or
additional designation in return. An exchange of good practices in
this matter indicating how port authorities can be actively involved
in the management of sites without having to fear of immediate
adaptation of conservation objectives was requested from ESPO.
in a fast
implementation of the
In general port authorities do not oppose the compensation
obligation, compensation areas are often even bigger than the
area that went lost, but port authorities would like to execute this
as soon as possible. Nevertheless, difficulties in relation to land
purchase permit and administrative procedures slow down the
implementation. Another difficulty lies in the fact that
compensation obligations could coincide with general national
policy initiatives to prevent against the impact of sea level rise
(e.g. realignment procedures etc.). In this way the actual
compensation area may become much bigger than if it would only
deal with the compensation for a port related project. An
exchange of good practices on how to put in place compensation
requirements could be useful to in general speed up the process
which in many Member States is subject to an unclear legal
These are the problems presented from a port authority point of view when it comes to
management a port near or in a protected estuarine or coastal zone. From a scientist point of
view, other problems are arising when trying to implement port development works near a
designated site. Those problems are actually the impacts of human infrastructure to the protected
habitats, fauna and flora.
Natura 2000, estuaries, coastal areas and port related activities– Draft version n° 9 17
4.3 Port-related activities affecting the estuarine and coastal ecosystems
Uses and users of coastal and estuarine areas where port-related activities are taking place have
been recorded from the Delft University of Technology (2007) within the framework of the New
Delta project. These include navigation and dredging, aggregate extraction (sand mining),
navigation, fishing and fisheries (including shell fisheries), industry (including oil and gas
extraction, wind farm development), drainage of sewage and waste water, water extraction (e.g.
cooling or process water for power stations and industry), safety (including sea defence and flood
protection, bird watching, recreation and nature experience, mariculture, housing, cover for
cables, pipes and tunnels, military activities and research activities. Users of such areas are port
authorities, dredging companies, local and federal authorities, tourism operators, fishermen,
farmers, vessel captains, research institutions, environmental organisations etc. All these
activities undertaken in coastal zones and estuaries could have a significant impact not only in
their morphology, directly by means of engineering works but also indirectly by modifying their
physical chemical and biological process (Emphasys Consortium, 2000).
For example, sailing of vessels affect the environment by emission of gases and disturbance by
means of noise, turbidity and water/sediment movement, whereas, drainage of sewage and
wastewater might cause contamination (Delft University of Technology, 2007). Additionally, flood
protection measures such as dyke construction, land reclamation and other types of construction
for sea defense leads to the “coastal squeeze” phenomenon whereby less and less space is
available for natural coastal processes to accommodate eroding forces or adjust to changes such as
sea-level rise. On the other hand, industry needs cooling or process water requiring its intake and
outfall. Outfalls could both discharge warmer water and chemical contaminants which could effect
the type of flora and fauna that exists at those localities (Delft University of Technology, 2007).
One of the most important and frequent activity in ports and waterways located in estuaries and
adjacent coastal areas is dredging. Dredging includes the excavation, transport and relocation of
the dredged material either for beneficial use or disposal. Dredging can have short-term impacts
including the direct removal of a locally present habitat as well as the increase of the turbidity due
to excavation works and sediment disposal. But also long-term impacts can be caused by the
change in flow and sediment budgets, changing the geometry of channels and the flow,
especially affecting the tidal propagation.
As indicated in the rationale, the use of coastal and estuarine areas is highly variable including
navigation and dredging, fishing and fisheries (including shell fisheries), industry, safety (including
sea defence and flood protection), bird watching, recreation and nature experience, mariculture,
housing and other. All these activities undertaken in coastal zones and estuaries could have a
significant impact not only in their morphology, directly by means of engineering works but also
indirectly by modifying their physical, chemical and biological process (Emphasys Consortium,
2000). This section of the guidance document intends to present the environmental impacts
directly related to port development/ construction and port operation. An overview of such impacts
are presented in Figure 2.
Commercial shipping operations (summary from ABP research, 1999)
Commercial shipping operations within ports and harbours can be divided into two broad
categories, vessel movements and cargo operations. The movement of ships through water may
potentially affect the features of a habitat both through the generation of waves and propeller-
induced turbidity in the water column. The effects of vessel movement to the environment can
either be harmful i.e. intertidal erosion of estuaries and/or resuspension of sediments3
beneficial i.e. aeration of the water column (ibid). Noise associated with shipping has the potential
to cause disturbance to marine animals designated under the Habitats Directive. Some experts
consider that the main disturbance is created by under water noise. Fish, marine animals and
(diving) birds are affected by under water noise. Noise under water can travel very far and has by
refer to sediment resuspension effects from dredging below
Natura 2000, estuaries, coastal areas and port related activities– Draft version n° 9 18
that a large influence area. The main source of noise from vessels is generated by the engine,
which may travel via the atmosphere or be transmitted through the structure of the craft.
The anchoring of vessels may disturb or damage animals and plants on the seabed (i.e. shellfish
beds, soft corals, sea grasses and maerl), either temporarily by increasing suspended sediments
from the disturbance of the bottom or through direct contact with dragging anchors.
During cargo handling operations in ports and harbours discharges and emissions can often
occur. Dry bulk cargos including grain, coal, iron ore, china clay and during transportation may
cause the production of dust. Handling of liquid bulks may require discharge through pipelines,
which provides the potential for leaks, emissions and spillages4
. Sources of atmospheric pollution
can stem from cargo vapour emissions. Release of cargoes into the marine environment may
have important environmental effects, as in the case of the loss of toxic substances or the loss of
non-toxic organic-rich substances which may result in oxygen depletion on their breakdown
resulting in the suffocation of marine life in the vicinity. The import of exotic animals and plants by
foreign vessels can have a negative influence on Natura 2000 values.
Figure 2: Environmental impacts specifically related to port operation and port
development and construction (after Delft University of Technology, 2007).
As it was the case in Loire estuary during summer 2008.
Natura 2000, estuaries, coastal areas and port related activities– Draft version n° 9 19
Recreational harbour operations (summary from ABP research, 1999)
Environmental effects may be frequent from maintenance activities, essential to preserve human
safety, in harbours and marinas. Typical activities undertaken in recreational harbours include the
maintenance or replacement or installation of navigation marks, piles, lights, vessel traffic
schemes and moorings, the extension or construction of slipways and jetties and the
maintenance of sea walls, flood defences and wave screens. Scraping old paint from vessels,
cleaning pontoons, cleaning jetties and wharves or cleaning vessels lead to the release of wastes
containing a mixture of contaminants including oils, oil emulsifiers, paints, solvents, detergents,
bleach, antifouling paint scrapings or sandblasting wastes. On entering the marine environment
these pollutants can have harmful or toxic effects on the animals and plants.
Impacts on marine life from dredging (summary from ABP research, 1999)
Dredging has been defined from the International Association of Dredging Companies (2008) as
the ‘’relocation of underwater sediments and soils for the construction and maintenance of
waterways, dikes and transportation infrastructures and for reclamation and soil improvements’’.
The detailed impacts exposed below concern mainly capital dredging (by opposition to
maintenance dredging) and gravel extraction.
During all dredging operations a first impact is the removal of benthic animals, the animals living
on or in the sediments. A second impact arises with all methods of dredging that release
suspended sediments into the water column, during the excavation itself and during the flow of
sediments from hoppers and barges. Increases in suspended sediments and turbidity levels from
dredging and disposal operations may under certain conditions have adverse effects on marine
animals and plants by reducing light penetration into the water column and by physical
disturbance. Reduction in light penetration may affect submerged seaweeds and plants, such as
eelgrass Zostera species, by temporarily reducing productivity and growth rates. Also the growth
of algae is reduced, which can affect the total mass of food, and by that through the lifecycle can
affect higher organisms. On the other hand, increased suspended sediments can effect filter
feeding organisms, such as shellfish, through clogging and damaging their feeding and breathing
equipment. Similarly, young fish can damaged when suspended sediments are trapped in their
gills leading to increase fatalities. It is important to note that the degree of resuspension of
sediments and turbidity from maintenance dredging and disposal depends on four main variables:
the sediments being dredged (size, density and quality of the material), the method of dredging
(and disposal), the hydrodynamic regime in the dredging and disposal area (current direction and
speed, mixing rate, tidal state), the state of the sediment (undisturbed or not, e.g. by fisheries)
and the existing water quality and characteristics (background suspended sediment and turbidity
Dredged material may also be contaminated from harmful substances (heavy metals, oil, TBT,
PCBs and pesticides) especially in industrialised estuaries. The dredging and disposal processes
can release these contaminants into the water column, making them available to be taken up by
animals and plants, with the potential to cause contamination and/or poisoning. Contaminants
can accumulate in marine animals and plants and transfer up the food chain to fish and sea
mammals causing morphological or reproductive disorders.
Sediment resettlement over the seabed from both dredging and disposal may also affect the
animals and plants that live on and within it. This blanketing or smothering of benthic animals and
plants, may cause stress, reduced rates of growth or reproduction and in the worse cases the
effects may be fatal. For example, animals with delicate feeding or breeding apparatus, such as
shellfish can be intolerant to increased siltation resulting in reduced growth and fatality.
Additionally, smothering of eggs and larvae can result from sediment resettlements when
dredging takes place near spawning or nursery areas.
On the other hand resettlement of the dredge area is possible, especially disturbed areas can be
in the same state as before dredging in a defined time
Natura 2000, estuaries, coastal areas and port related activities– Draft version n° 9 20
Impacts on hydrodynamic regime and geomorphology from dredging (mainly from ABP research,
As indicated earlier, estuaries undergo a natural infilling depending on the size of the initial basin
and the amount of sediment available which is either supplied from erosion in the catchment, or
from the marine environment. It is also noted that beyond a certain point, a sort of balance is
reached and the estuary begins to release sediment, rather than retain it. Capital dredging
reserves the trend of estuarine infilling and provides an obstacle to the natural balance it seeks to
attain (Morris, 2007). This occurs because capital dredging operations in an estuary may permit a
saltwedge intrusion to travel further upstream than previously, increase shoreline wave action,
change tidal range, tidal currents, suspended sediment load and suspended sedimentation in
areas away from the deepened part of the river. Additionally, the hydrodynamic changes and their
effect on sediment erosion, deposition and transport may cause secondary geomorphological
changes away from the dredge location, including the potential erosion of mudflats and
Regarding maintenance dredging, its effect on the hydrodynamics and geomorphology of a site
has all the complexity of a capital scheme but the impacts are in general much smaller. The
impacts depend on a series of factors like the quantity and periodicity of dredging activities and
the specific locality were it takes place (including relocation). What plays an important role in
maintenance dredging is the location of the disposal site, determining the sediment regime. A first
case scenario could be for the location of the disposal site not to be linked to the estuary or
coastal zone system, leading to a regular removal of sediment from the transport system and
finally affecting the erosion and sedimentation processes and ultimately the form of the estuary.
This could possibly deprive downstream coastal areas of sediment required to maintain coastal
stability. A second scenario could be for the sediment to be placed back within the same system.
In such case, although the net change may be insignificant the locations of maximum sediment
concentration may change promoting additional siltation in specific areas. Increased erosion of
mud, sand flats and salt marshes may have numerous implications on the ecology of marine
habitats and species. For example a reduction in the lower intertidal area may lead to reduced
intertidal communities and a subsequent loss of bird feeding grounds. By contrast, careful design
of disposal can result in intertidal areas being increased. Figure 3 provides a good example of a
factor train for dredging activities.
Natura 2000, estuaries, coastal areas and port related activities– Draft version n° 9 21
Figure 3: A general example of a factor train for dredging activities (Delft University of
Natura 2000, estuaries, coastal areas and port related activities– Draft version n° 9 22
5 Conservation objectives in dynamic environments
This document is dedicated to both estuarine and coastal areas that could be affected by ports or
port related activities, including waterways. A prerequisite for successful planning is the good
knowledge of the complex ecosystem of the estuary and adjacent coastal zone. When the system
is well understood authorities will be able to set the right conservation objectives and define the
final target which will be the Favourable Conservation Status for habitats and species and the
Good Ecological Status or Potential for water bodies.
The habitats examined in the current document are listed in table 3 and are all of them
considered under the Water Framework Directive.
Sea cliffs and shingle or stony beaches (habitats 1210 to 1240) were not taken into consideration
as they are less dynamics environments with sparse port development apart of local marinas.
Purely marine habitats (e.g. 1180 submarine structures made by leaking gases) were not
considered as well as terrestrial habitats including dunes systems even if they have functional
links with subtidal or intertidal habitats.
Table 3: Habitats examined in the current document
Habitats listed in Annex I of the Habitats Directive that may be
affected during port development
Relations with WFD categories
1. Coastal and halophytic habitats
11. Open sea and tidal areas
1110 - Sandbanks which are slightly covered by sea water all the time Coastal or transitional waters
1120 – Posidonia beds * Coastal waters
1130 – Estuaries Transitional waters
1140 – Mudflats and sandflats not covered by seawater at low tide Coastal or transitional waters
1150 - Coastal lagoons* Transitional waters
1160 - Large shallow inlets and bays Coastal or transitional waters
1170 – Reefs Coastal or transitional waters
13 . Atlantic and continental salt marshes and salt meadows
1310. Salicornia and other annuals colonising mud and sand Coastal or transitional waters
1320. Spartina swards (Spartinion maritimae) Coastal or transitional waters
1330. Atlantic salt meadows (Glauco-Puccinellietalia maritimae) Coastal or transitional waters
14 . Mediterranean and thermo-Atlantic salt marshes and salt meadows
1410. Mediterranean salt meadows (Juncetalia maritimi) Coastal or transitional waters
1420. Mediterranean and thermo-Atlantic halophilous scrubs
Coastal or transitional waters
16 . Boreal Baltic archipelago, coastal and landupheaval areas
1610 Baltic esker islands with sandy, rocky and shingle beach
vegetation and sublittoral vegetation
Coastal or transitional waters
1620 Boreal Baltic islets and small islands Coastal or transitional waters
1630 * Boreal Baltic coastal meadows Coastal or transitional waters
1640 Boreal Baltic sandy beaches with perennial vegetation Coastal or transitional waters
1650 Boreal Baltic narrow inlets Coastal or transitional waters
3. Freshwater habitats
Standing waters or running waters habitats in relation with coastal and
Natura 2000, estuaries, coastal areas and port related activities– Draft version n° 9 23
This document is also dedicated to species that could be affected by ports or port related
activities development and especially birds in the framework of the Birds Directive.
5.1 Understanding estuarine and coastal systems
Habitats and species are in many aspects determined by the geological setting, the morphology
and the natural system processes of the coastal and estuarine ecosystems. They depend on
numerous factors such as the location along the natural system and position in the salinity
gradient, the area surface and elevation of the considered habitat, the duration and the degree of
submersion of it, the flow intensity (velocity and turbulence) during the various phases of the tidal
cycle, the sedimentary composition of morphological features such as the intertidal areas, shallow
water zones, sandbars, salt marshes and others (Delft, 2007b)
All these natural factors form a rapidly changing estuarine or coastal setting consisting of several
sub-systems as described in figure 4. In order to be able to understand how a natural system
responds to change, whether this is humanly induced or naturally caused, the concerned
authorities should have a general understanding, particularly for the area they manage, how their
estuarine or coastal system is organised, from which physical elements it consists of, what are
the dynamics of the interaction between them and how the current system and subsystems
Figure 4: Systems map of the estuary within a coastal and catchment setting (ABPmer,
The example proposed by figure 4 gives an idea of the complexity of the systems focused by this
guidance document. Several questions will be raised through the following technical supporting
documents to help to gather a common knowledge base.
The first question to raise (TSD n° 1) concerns the definition of the habitat 1130, first of all
because the European Commission has published informally a first interpretation note on this in
2005 and furthermore because the article 17 reports produced by Members States to define the
current conservation status of estuaries has shown slightly different approaches.
Natura 2000, estuaries, coastal areas and port related activities– Draft version n° 9 24
The second issue (TSD n° 2) raises the main non biotic ecological processes which have to be
taken into consideration when defining conservation objectives or when studying potential
impacts of plan and projects.
The third TSD tackles specific features and needs of species within estuarine and coastal
ecosystems explaining how nature and water directives are considering these species. The
specification of the Habitats Directive concerning the protection regime of species (art.12, 13 and
16) are not developed within this guidance document as an interpretation guide was already
published in 2007 on the strict protection of animal species of Community interest under the
Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC.
Before developing the concept of Ecosystem Approach and its relationship with nature and water
directives in the fifth TSD, the fourth one will describe how global change will influence
Technical Supporting Document (TSD):
TSD 1: How can the definition of the habitat type 1130-'Estuaries' be improved?
The definition for the habitat 1130 Estuaries proposed in the Interpretation Manual was adopted
by the Habitats committee in 1999. Unfortunately, no change occurs when some other habitats
were revised in the version of 2007 (e.g. marine habitats 1110, 1170 and 1180). A review of the
different definitions/interpretation from various Member States (Germany, France, UK and others)
of the habitat estuaries-1130 is presented including a review of the article 17 reports proposed by
Member states. Further interpretation on the delimitation of Estuaries is presented in coherence
with EC interpretation from last years, including the Water Framework Directive definition of
transitional waters. However, this document is not the right place to solve the definition of the
habitat 1130-“estuaries” issue. Nevertheless, the Habitat Committee and the EEA Topic Centre
should be aware of the proposals made during this work.
The Interpretation Manual of European habitats could be modified to clarify the current
interpretation concerning estuaries. However final decision has to be taken by the Habitat
Committee. The following main modifications are suggested for the habitat 1130 (see the
TSD for the full proposal):
Current Interpretation Manual version
Proposed modification (in bold)
Downstream part of a river valley…
extending from the limit of brackish
Downstream part of a river valley extending from the limit of
brackish water. The outer limit has to be defined at local
level with the features of interest and if possible in
coherence with the transitional water bodies identified
during the WFD implantation.
Estuaries are dynamic systems with their own
conservation value but consisting at the same time of
several habitat types and habitats of species.
Downstream part of a river valley, subject
to the tide and extending from the limit of
brackish waters. River estuaries are
coastal inlets where, unlike 'large shallow
inlets and bays' there is generally a
substantial freshwater influence. The
mixing of fresh water and sea water and
the reduced current flows in the shelter of
the estuary lead to deposition of fine
sediments, often forming extensive
intertidal sand and mud flats.
Where the tidal currents are faster than
flood tides, most sediments deposit to
form a delta at the mouth of the estuary.
In North-East Atlantic coast, estuaries are subject to the
tide. River estuaries are coastal inlets where, unlike 'large
shallow inlets and bays' there is generally a substantial
freshwater influence. The mixing of fresh water and sea
water and the reduced current flows in the shelter of the
estuary lead to deposition of fine sediments, often forming
extensive intertidal sand and mud flats. Estuarine
ecosystems are characterized by subtidal and intertidal
habitats (slikke) including salt marshes (shore). Some
of them are identified as habitat types in their own right
and occur in other coastal areas.
Where the tidal currents are faster than flood tides, most
sediments deposit to form a delta at the mouth of the
Natura 2000, estuaries, coastal areas and port related activities– Draft version n° 9 25
Channels and/or shipping lanes are part of the habitat
in all geographical conditions as they play a crucial
role in the hydrological functioning of estuaries,
including the circulation of water and the deposition of
sediments. Furthermore, these channels may also form
part of the estuarine migration routes of Annex II fish
If freshwater tidal areas form part of the estuary, the
upstream boundary may be marked by the limit of tidal
influence. However occurrence of tidal influence
without brackish water is not sufficient for defining the
habitat type 1130-estuaries. Nevertheless, it is possible
and in the discretion of Member States to designate
such areas under 1130.
Baltic river mouths, considered as an
estuary subtype, have brackish water and
no tide, with large wetland vegetation
(helophytic) and luxurious aquatic
vegetation in shallow water areas.
Baltic, Mediterranean and Black sea river mouths may be
considered as estuary subtypes with brackish water and
nearly no tide. Their definition is made at Member
States level in relation with the obligations of the
annex 2 of the Water Framework Directive (typologies).
When the distinction among habitat types is uncertain,
as between 1130 estuaries and 1150* lagoons, the
choice made by the Member States in the Standard
Data Form will be considered as accurate.
In Baltic estuaries, large wetland vegetation (helophytic)
and luxurious aquatic vegetation in shallow water areas
Both species of fresh water and brackish
water can be found in Baltic river mouths
(Carex spp., Myriophyllum spp.,
Phragmites australis, Potamogeton spp.,
Both species of fresh water and brackish water can be
found in Baltic, Mediterranean and Black sea river
mouths (Carex spp., Myriophyllum spp., Phragmites
australis, Potamogeton spp., Scirpus spp.).
Animals: Invertebrate benthic
communities; important feeding areas for
Animals: Invertebrate benthic communities; fish
communities including migratory species; important
feeding and resting areas for many birds.
An estuary forms an ecological unit with
the surrounding terrestrial coastal habitat
types. In terms of nature conservation,
these different habitat types should not
be separated, and this reality must be
taken into account during the selection of
An estuary forms an ecological unit with the surrounding
terrestrial and subtidal coastal habitat types. In terms of
nature conservation, these different habitat types should
not be separated, and this reality must be taken into
account during the selection of sites. Estuaries are
sometimes related to coastal lagoons (1150*) or to
large shallow inlets and bays (1160).
Sand banks (1110), sandflats and mudflats (1140), reefs
(1170) and salt marshes (1310 to 1330) may also be a
component part of habitat 1130 Estuaries.
TSD 2 : Getting to know the key environmental processes that form an estuary and a
In order to be able to understand how a natural system responds to change, whether this is
humanly induced or naturally caused, the concerned authorities will first need to know,
particularly for the area they manage, how their estuarine or coastal system is organised, from
which physical elements it consists of, what are the dynamics of the interaction between them
and how the current system and subsystems behave. The TSD provides a brief description of all
these elements related to the system’s dynamics. The functioning of an estuarine system and the
role of the tides, water mixing and sediment movement are briefly explained, as well as the role of
the different part of this system i.e. mudflats, sandflats, sandbanks, salt marshes and sand dunes.
Natura 2000, estuaries, coastal areas and port related activities– Draft version n° 9 26
Each estuary is different and this is why it is considered compulsory, as a first step, to
understand its functioning and the principle “physical” processes that are leading to its
Similarly coastal processes may differ from a coastal zone to another and therefore the
major natural forces shaping the coastline should be well known.
Morphological evolution is the principle factor, amongst others, determining the presence
or absence of different habitats and species.
When an estuary or a coastal zone evolve the presence or absence of species and
habitats will also evolve. Therefore, the conservation objectives for the species and
designated sites should reflect the system-specific evolutionary trends.
TSD 3 : Species of estuarine and coastal habitats in consideration of the nature directives
and the Water Framework Directive
This guidance concept form briefly describes some key parameters of biological functioning within
estuaries and coastal zones (angiosperms, benthic invertebrate fauna, fish fauna, birds and
mammals). Presence or absence of those species depends on the systems behaviour especially,
turbidity and salinity. Changes in the physical elements of estuaries and coastal zones directly
affect the survival of all species in the food chain.
The Water Framework Directive applies to all water bodies and the Nature Directives only to
some of them. In the water bodies which are part of the Natura 2000 areas, both directives are
complementary and the respective objectives are set at the level of the River Basin Management
Plan and the Natura 2000 site itself. These objectives are specific and contribute to sound
estuaries and coastal areas.
Regarding specific aquatic habitats targeted by the habitat directive (e.g. estuaries,
overlapping by default with water bodies), it seems that quality elements for the
classification of ecological status, as proposed by the annex 5 of the WFD, are
compatible with most of the needs of estuaries and coastal areas as far as conservation
status is concerned. In this sense, the Water Framework Directive contributes towards
the achievement of the objectives in the nature directives. When determining typical
species of the annex 1 habitats (angiosperms, benthic fauna, fish…) and monitoring
schemes, Member states and local authorities should coordinate approaches developed
under both directives especially regarding biological parameters.
Regarding specific species targeted by the annexes of nature directive (birds, fish,
mammals…), their conservation status may not rely only on the ecological quality of
water bodies as defined under the WFD. However, good ecological status is certainly one
of the key component for the conservation status of these species. Some aquatic
vertebrate species as bird and mammal species were not considered by the WFD and
their local conservation status may rely on specific criteria (e.g. quiet resting areas for
seals). Furthermore, other vertebrate species, as birds or otter, occurring outside water
bodies but feeding on sub-tidal or intertidal areas are not targeted by the WFD and their
local conservation status may rely on specific criteria.
TSD 4 : How can Climate change influence conservation objectives?
Global change or climate change could influence the conservation planning in several ways. This
is because climate change can affect all the features of the coastal and estuarine habitats
including the anthropogenic features such as port infrastructure. This TSD reviews latest
information on climate change in Europe as recently published by the European Environment
Agency. It presents the potential impacts of climate change on the biodiversity and
hydromorphology of estuarine and coastal areas, as well as on human activities such as port
development and operation. Adaptation measures that should be taken in order to minimise the
effect and costs of climate change are also listed for consideration when developing conservation
Natura 2000, estuaries, coastal areas and port related activities– Draft version n° 9 27
Adaptation strategies on low-lying coasts have to address the problem of sediment loss
from marshes, beaches and dunes
There is a need for a more proactive and strategic approach to coastal erosion
management giving priority to the increase of coastal resilience by providing space for
coastal processes to operate and by maintaining a good sediment balance in the coastal
It would be more cost effective to expand nature protected areas proactively rather than
waiting for climate change impacts to occur and then acting reactively. Dispersal
corridors for species are another important adaptation tool.
As proposed by PIANC (2008), several measures have to be implemented to prepare
responses of navigation to climate change (areas of intervention: maritime infrastructure
operation and maintenance, navigation practice, vessel operation…). These might also
include the need for increased dredging due to more sedimentation at river outlet while
respecting Natura 2000 sites conservation objectives.
TSD 5: How can the ecosystem approach assist on the management of estuarine and
The balance between the different components (physical, chemical, biological and
hydromorphological) of the estuarine and coastal ecosystems is very fine and can be easily
affected from human activities such as port related activities. Both ecological and economic
values of such ecosystems will have to be maintained in order to satisfy societal needs expressed
by both the Nature and Water Framework directives and the Ports and Integrated Maritime Policy.
The Ecosystem approach is suggested as a tool to manage the complex systems such as
estuaries and coastal zones.
Management plans and policies for estuarine and coastal areas should be inspired by the
Ecosystem Approach as developed in the framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
It leads to difficult question (i.e. which level of antropogeneisation or naturalness is
acceptable?) and exercise (i.e. how to tackle favourable reference value) but it results in a
better accepted environmental and economical development.
5.2 Setting conservation objectives for habitats found within transitional and coastal water
bodies in Natura 2000 sites (Natura 2000 site management plan)
The word “conservation” is one of the key words of the Habitats directive. It is defined in article 1
of the Directive as “a series of measures required to maintain or restore the natural habitats and
the populations of species of wild fauna and flora at a favourable status as defined…”. The word
conservation is very often used in the concept of 'Favourable Conservation Status' but not only as
it is also used in three other contexts within the directive: the Special Areas of Conservation
(SAC), the conservation measures and the conservation objectives. If the meaning of a SAC is
relatively well known, the concepts of conservation objectives and conservation measures were
more rarely explained in guidance documents. Some economical stakeholders are considering
the conservation objectives as an outstanding issue on which additional interpretation is
desirable. The European Sea Port Organisation (ESPO) highlighted in a note prepared for the
working group that conservation objectives should preferably be as clear and straight forward as
possible and functional in practice. Therefore, where possible, clear conservation objectives in
concrete terms such as numbers and/or size are desirable.
Both WFD and Habitats Directive are focusing aquatic ecosystems but in a different manner:
For WFD, water bodies, covering the whole water system, should be able to support
healthy ecosystems and this directive sets the basic requirements for measuring the
health of these ecosystems. It includes the definition of quality elements with some of
them related to composition and abundance of species groups and other related to
hydromorphological, chemical and physico-chemical elements.
Natura 2000, estuaries, coastal areas and port related activities– Draft version n° 9 28
Birds and Habitat directives are targeting specific components of aquatic ecosystems as
species or whole habitats (ecosystems) as estuaries. Habitats Directive sets the basic
requirements for measuring the health of these component/ecosystems with features as
range, areas, population size and structure and functions of habitats for long-term
Because of the partial overlapping of the objects targeted (aquatic systems) and, up to a certain
extend, the similarities between the aims of both directives, it was considered as a useful
exercise to make some comparisons in a specific TSD (n°7).
Technical Supporting Document (TSD):
TSD 6: How to set conservation objectives at national//local level? How to set
conservation objectives for habitats and species through Natura 2000 management
plans? How can economical objectives be integrated with Natura 2000 conservation
objectives and management plans?
The guidance concept form recall the principles as defined by the Habitats Directive or contained
in guidance documents published by the Commission. It will propose advice on how to deal with
conservation objectives, management plans and priorities. However, the final responsibility for
developing appropriate objectives, priorities and instruments that are adopted to national, regional
and local context will always remain with the Member States.
If the conservation measures according to Article 6.1 are always applied at site level,
conservation objectives have to be defined and assessed both at Member State level, to
apply the article 2.1 and 4.4 of the Habitats directive, and at site level where they will help
to determine specific site-related conservation measures. Habitats directive article 4.4
has to be reminded as, after the inclusion of a site on the list of Sites of Community
Importance, the Member State shall designate the site as a Special Area of Conservation
(SAC) “establishing priorities in the light of the importance of the sites for the
maintenance or restoration, at a favourable conservation status, of a natural habitat type
in Annex I or a species in Annex II and for the coherence of Natura 2000, and in the light
of the threats of degradation or destruction to which those sites are exposed”.
Conservation objectives at Member state level and site level have a complementary
nature because Natura 2000 is a network where each site will have a specific function in
the global coherence of the system. It means that conservation objectives at site level will
serve conservation objectives at national level to fulfil directives obligations. However,
when determining the intensity or location of conservation objectives at site level,
economic requirements have to be taken into account. This mean all the sites are not
equivalent in view of reaching a national favourable conservation status for habitats or
Any management plan, conservation objectives or other specifications for the sites have
to be based on the knowledge of the conservation status of the habitats and species of
the site. The actual conservation status must also be known as a reference value
concerning the integrity of the site (art.6.3) or the deterioration (art. 6.2). The Standard
Data Form (SDF) remains an important reference document even if it is sometimes
considered as insufficient. Further guidance was already proposed on the conservation
objectives and the concept of ecological requirements defined in article 6.1 (EC 2000)
Three kinds of obligations can be described for the SACs: positive measures as
foreseen by article 6.1, preventive measures as foreseen by article 6.2 to avoid the
deterioration of natural habitats and exception/exemption regime as foreseen by article
6-3 & 6.4. The conservation objectives for a specific site have to consider all these
categories (including if possible a definition of the integrity of the site).
Management plans, even if not mandatory, appear to be the best solution to establish
quantitative conservation objectives based on the system’s processes and their
monitoring. It is the occasion to find a good balance for an estuary between safety,
Natura 2000, estuaries, coastal areas and port related activities– Draft version n° 9 29
accessibility and nature conservation. Implementation of the Ecosystem Approach and
involvement of stakeholders and general public will help to determine local conservation
objectives, conservation measures and ecological processes to be monitored.
The development of conservation objectives for estuaries and coastal areas is a real
challenge as these areas are very complex and dynamic ecosystems. The dynamic
nature of estuaries should be considered in the conservation objectives for both
preventive or positive measures. Ecosystem dynamics have to be taken into
consideration when establishing conservation objectives. Conservation objectives have
not to be seen as a static approach, on the contrary they need to be adapted to the actual
evolution of the conservation status of species and habitats and to the evolution of other
ecological factors. To elaborate conservation objectives or to prepare management plans
for estuaries and adjacent coastal areas, specific factors will have to be taken into
consideration on a case by case basis including, first of all, morphological dynamics and
sediment circulation/ re-distribution in the system
TSD 7 : Water Framework Directive and Nature Directives
This document should be elaborated after a work currently prepared by DG ENV water and
nature units on Frequently Asked Questions. The document and the recommendations will be
delivered for end of February.
Natura 2000, estuaries, coastal areas and port related activities– Draft version n° 9 30
6 Integrated management and planning
Conservation objectives in dynamic environments should become part of an integrated
management and planning at regional/local level as they correspond not only to the application of
EU nature legislation but to societal objectives also that have to be taken into consideration. This
chapter will analyse, partly through the current legislative procedures, which are the most
appropriate means of ensuring stakeholder communication and satisfy long term needs in
estuaries and adjacent coastal areas.
Such means (middle term / long term) may be classified under the following thematic areas:
o Strategic planning at EU level,
o Management of recurring activities
o Integrated management through spatial planning tools
It is important to emphasize that public involvement through a participatory approach is
fundamental for a successful planning within estuaries and adjacent coastal zones (even if it is
not a target for this guidance document). Transparency and qualitative approach should facilitate
public involvement and appropriation even if it will not prevent the risk of contentious actions.
At least two of already existing European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling cases will have to be taken
into consideration when envisaging long term activities:
“Waddenvereniging and Vogelbeschermingsvereniging” ECJ ruling on Case C-
127/02, reference for a preliminary ruling (EC 2006a)
This case was considered in respect of licences which the Secretary of State
for agriculture, nature conservation and fisheries issued to the Cooperative
producers’ association of Netherlands cockle for mechanical fishing of
cockles. The fact that the activity has been carried on periodically for several
years on the site concerned and that a licence has to be obtained for it every
year, each new issuance of which requires an assessment both of the
possibility of carrying on that activity and of the site where it may be carried
on, does not in itself constitute an obstacle to considering it, at the time of
each application, as a distinct plan or project within the meaning of the
Habitats Directive. It means that authorization renewal of recurring activities
has to subject to appropriate assessment of their implications for Natura 2000
sites in accordance with Article 6(3) and (4) of the Habitats Directive.
Appropriate assessment of land use plans ECJ ruling on Case C-6/04, Commission v.
United Kingdom (EC 2006a)
The appropriate assessment is compulsory for all plans and project that are
likely to have adverse effects on Natura 2000 sites. In October 2005 the
European Court of Justice ruled that all land use plans should be assessed
for the effects they may have on the Natura 2000 sites. National legislation
does not always clearly require land use plans to be subject to appropriate
assessment of their implications for Natura 2000 sites in accordance with
Article 6(3) and (4) of the Habitats Directive. Although land use plans do not
as such authorise development and planning permission must be obtained for
development projects in the normal manner, they have great influence on
development decisions. Therefore land use plans must also be subject to
appropriate assessment of their implications for the site concerned. This has
now to be studied in relation with Strategic Environmental Assessment
(directive 2001/42 on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and
programmes on the environment).
6.1 Strategic planning: global maritime traffic growth and port and waterway
extension at EU level
Natura 2000, estuaries, coastal areas and port related activities– Draft version n° 9 31
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