Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru | National Assembly for Wales

Y Pwyllgor Newid Hinsawdd, Amgylchedd a Materion Gwledig | Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee

Ymchwiliad i reoli ardaloedd morol gwarchodedig yng Nghymru | Inquiry into the management of marine protected areas in Wales




Ymateb gan : Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau

Evidence from : Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau

Question 1

Has the management of Welsh seas received sufficient resource and strategic direction to enable sustainable management that supports the well-being of current and future generations? (250 words)

Sufficient Resources: NO

Sufficient and sustainable funding is essential to ensure effective management of our MPAs. Funding for MPA management in Wales has been reduced drastically over the last few years. Management of MPAs is coordinated by local Relevant Authority Groups (RAGs). Many have SAC Officers to coordinate, deliver, monitor and report on work at a site level. This level of local knowledge and stakeholder relationship is essential when implementing management measures in the marine environment. Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau has been successful in securing funds for 14 years by bidding for various grant pots etc. However this isn’t sustainable, too much time is spent securing the grants. It also means that you can’t plan in the long term or deliver long term projects. This also results in an inconsistent approach across MPAs in Wales.

Where sites such as Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau have secured funding the benefits are proven:

-          Partnership working

-          Effective project delivery (working towards favourable condition of MPAs)

-          Effective stakeholder engagement

-          Effective awareness raising

-          Monitoring and reporting

-          Joint working across MPAs

-          Delivery against other drivers

-          Value for money

Sufficient Strategic Direction: NO

For years adequate strategic direction for the management of Welsh waters has been lacking. Work has been undertaken by the MPA Management Steering Group recently to attempt to address this. This work is promising but without commitment to fund this work it is unlikely to be successful. We need a vision for Wales and a joined up approach to ensure we are working towards the same vision. With reduced resources available we need a joined up marine work programme for Wales to avoid duplication and to ensure funds are used in the most effective way.

Question 2

How should Area Statements, to be developed by Natural Resources Wales, cover Welsh seas? (For example should the sea adjoining each welsh Local Authority be included in its Area Statement, or should the marine environment be considered separately in one or more marine Area Statements?) (250 words)

Boundaries should be carefully considered. There are a number of existing boundaries including marine planning, MPAs, Local Authority etc. These different areas need to work together. Although it might make sense to have a single marine area statement the marine and terrestrial environment are intrinsically linked.  It should be noted that having a separate marine area statement might serve to further increase the land sea divide. It should also be recognised that some boundaries may change e.g. Local Authority. Area Statement will need to adapt to these changes.

Question 3

How well are Wales’ MPAs currently being managed?

(This can include aspects such as the condition of sites, staffing to deliver management, surveillance and enforcement activities and the data on the extent of activities taking place in MPAs) (250 words)

To mange sites effectively you need a number of things including (but not limited to):

-          Conservation objectives

-          Site level reports

-          Management scheme / management actions

-          Delivery of management actions

-          Monitoring

-          Reporting

There is some work being done against each of these but not enough. These areas are also not joined up. There needs to be a single marine programme for Wales, even if it is delivered by a number of different organisations.

We have not had site level reports since 2006. These are essential to determine the success of management measures put in place.

The largest obstacle is funding. We need sufficient funding and commitment to ensure an effective long term programme.

The RAGs have been effective in identifying and prioritising management measures required to address issues on sites but they need funding to deliver.

Question 4

What are the key issues affecting the effective management of multi-use MPAs? (250 words)

Effective management of multi-use MPAs is about balancing human activity, the environment and the economy.  


This faces a number of issues including:

-          Lack of up to date information

-          Lack of resources

-          Lack of general awareness and understanding

-          Lack of joined up working

-          Lack of an agreed vision for Wales

-          Lack of political and organizational support

-          Lack of recognition for on the ground officers that have in depth local knowledge

-          Organisations not making best use of work that is being undertaken if is being undertaken by a different organisation

Question 5

Do existing Welsh MPAs currently provide the right protection for the conservation of Welsh marine biodiversity? (250 words)

No.  There is legislation in place to designate MPAs and to protect certain habitats and species.  A large proportion of Welsh seas have been designated. But designation is not the same as protection. To protect sites you need to address the issues that are affecting sites. As previously mentioned there are a number of issues relating to lack of effective management. Also due to lack of resources, lack of a national vision etc.  Organisations respond to MPA management in a reactive way.

Question 6

What lessons can be learnt from current MPA management activity in Wales (including designation, implementation and enforcement)? (250 words)

-          Staff that know the local area and issues are vital

-          Good stakeholder relationships are key to successful implementation of management actions

-          Raising awareness about the marine environment and the issues we face is also key to changing behaviour

-          A national steer is needed

-          We need a consistent approach for Wales

-          We need a sustained form of funding to allow sites to manage for the long term and provide security for stakeholder relationships

-          We should ensure that the work that has been done is promoted and sustained rather than having to constantly begin new projects just to satisfy funders

-          Many sites have developed excellent projects that address issues on sites, we should learn from these projects and build upon them

-          We need to integrate work streams within and across organisations to reducing duplication of effort and work

-          There are many data sets in Wales, organisations should be encouraged to record data in a specific database e.g. marine recorder

-          We need to view MPAs as assets rather than obstacles.  We should promote them as such.  Be positive rather than negative.

-          We need a clear single marine work programme for Wales that includes National and site level work programmes and how they link. It should also include multi site programmes.

-          Work should continue to improve work streams such as site level reports / monitoring / conservation objectives

-          Support should be given to staff on the ground that are delivering management measures, regardless if they are in a different organisation (marine management is not the responsibility of a single organisation)

-          Look at the many reports that have been produced on this issue

Question 7

Are there MPA examples or practices elsewhere that Wales can learn from? (250 words)

There are many countries across the globe that we can learn from. Many countries have trailed many different methods of managing different types of MPAs.  There are many reports available.  But we should also look closer to home.  We need to ensure that we work with the devolved UK counties.  If there are differences there should be good reasons for this.

Many other countries see their MPAs as a positive thing, they increase tourism and provide livelihoods for local communities. We need to learn from this.

Question 8

The majority of Wales’ MPAs are designated under the EU Habitats Directive. How should the Welsh Government’s approach to MPA management take account of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union? (250 words)

The decision to leave the EU was based on having a country that would be free to govern itself and to make better decisions for the country as a whole. Therefore we have to ensure that the environment is better protected by UK / Welsh legislation than it was under EU legislation. We should not see leaving the EU as an opportunity to weaken environmental legislation. We have an opportunity here to establish legislation that could shape the environment into something we can be proud of.  


With limited resources I think it would be a mistake to spend large sums of money on a re designation process.  We have the foundations for an ecological coherent network of MPAs in Wales. We need to build and make better what we already have.  Ensure that our MPAs are backed up by effective legislation.


If we do not comply with the Habitat Directive the EU will start infraction proceedings, this has been a good deterrent in the past. What will be the deterrent once we are out of the EU?

Question 9

If you had to make one recommendation to the Welsh Government from all the points you have made, what would that recommendation be? (250 words)

That sustained and sufficient funding is provided to enable RAGs to deliver management actions effectively.

If I could have a second point it would be to have a joined up single work programme for Wales, this would with consistency, joint working etc.

Question 10

Do you have any other comments or issues you wish to raise that have not been covered by the specific questions? (250 words)