Integrated management plan: Severn Estuary

Project information

Index: 0540R2
Priority:2: Environment and risk prevention
Sub Theme:Natural and technological risks (including climate change)
Location UNITED KINGDOM WALES Cardiff/Bristol Start/End date of the practice
Start: 1995-06-18
End: ongoing

Topic of the practice

An integrated management strategy (the Severn Estuary Strategy) and associated partnership (Severn Estuary Partnership) developed to provide an integrated, sustainable approach to estuary management.

Good Practice Information

In the mid 1990s a voluntary, estuary-wide initiative was initiated to attempt to provide a strategic framework, including key policies, to help guide policy development for 400 square kilometres of the Severn estuary. After extensive consultation, the Severn Estuary Strategy document was published in 2001. This covered thirteen sectoral areas, identified and addressed 95 issues and contained over 350 proposals for action. Over the last decade, partial reviews of the delivery of these actions have been undertaken, including that for the current Severn Estuary Business Plan (2011). This plan, which includes over fifty actions, outlines a clear direction for the organisation over the next five years and includes proposals for action in the previous Strategy which had not been delivered, but were still relevant.The Severn Estuary Partnership (SEP) was established to aid implementation of the Strategy. This independent, non-statutory, partnership includes local authorities and statutory agencies as well as
a wide variety of other organisations. It aims to facilitate the co-ordination of key estuary sectors and provides a valuable platform for communication and information dissemination amongst a wide range of stakeholders, including statutory bodies and estuary-user groups. Over the last few years it has developed its secretariat services for various other estuary-wide initiatives, including the Severn Estuary Coastal Group and the Association of Severn Estuary Relevant Authorities. In addition to its role in facilitating effective communication and attempting to provide coordination between other organisations, the partnership also aims to establish and embed a set of ‘common principles’ for sustainable estuary use that are delivered locally through individual strategies, policies and action plans. promote and publicise the estuary, and add value and fill gaps in effective estuary management

Evidence of success

The Severn Estuary Partnership can be considered a successful example of an integrated approach to the management of an estuary and an example of Integrated Coastal Zone Management in practice. Alongside the completion of many of the actions of the Severn Estuary Strategy document, the Partnership has evolved to take on board new actions within subsequent business plans, ensuring its relevance to the estuary stakeholder community. The annual financial and in-kind support provided by partnership organizations illustrates the continued value of the partnership to the estuary community.Its role in communication of estuary matters to a wide spectrum of estuary users is also well established. The wide involvement of stakeholders and continued support for annual Severn Estuary Forum events since 2006 ( is part testimony to SEP’s value to estuary organizations. Not only are partners better aware of estuary-wide matters, but through frequent meeting new synergies and trust has developed between partners and stakeholders, including ones from environment, development and business backgrounds.

The SEP’s location within the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Cardiff University and its involvement with various INTERREG project (IMCORE: has promoted science-policy integration, particularly in the context of climate change through the regular meetings of the Severn Estuary Climate Change Research Advisory Group. Active researchers regularly provide updates to the policy community on such matters.

Contact details to obtain further information on the practice

Dr Rhoda Ballinger

Cardiff University

Annex completed on: 03-01-2011

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