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The Interreg IVB North Sea Region Programme


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Legislative Drivers & Sectoral Plan Review of TIDE Estuaries

4b. SWOT Analysis

Results of the SWOT analysis for all the management plans in each of the four estuaries can be found in Tables 5-8. The SWOT results are discussed below with examples of best practice highlighted within tables.

Water Quality

Each estuary has on-going implementation of the WFD by adopting river basin management plans (RBMPs) and measure programmes for their estuaries. The plans address the pressures facing the water environment in the river basin district, and the actions that will address them. The plans have been prepared in consultation with a wide range of organisations and individuals and are the first of a series of six-year planning cycles. Some of the larger estuaries which include multi-national borders e.g. the Elbe, have RBMPs being delivered at both the international level and the national level. Estuaries such as the Elbe and Weser have several Federal States with governance over the estuary, which has led to these estuaries having a number of regional (federal) RBMPs. As the Scheldt estuary is shared between the Netherlands and Belgium (Flanders), consequently management challenges have in large part stemmed from the cross-border nature of the management activities. The RBMP for the Humber Estuary has been delivered as a single plan.

The RBMPs provide a mechanism to improve the ecological and chemical status of the whole river basin, and provide the means in multinational estuaries to overcome administrative boundaries. However the two Dutch RBMPs covering the Scheldt estuary have given a greater awareness to the issues of recreation, shipping and ports, and ICZM issues within the estuaries than the RBMPs covering the Humber, Weser and Elbe. The plans have been implemented since 2009 (with the exception of the Scheldt RBMP) with further reviews every six years (2015).

The International and the national RBMP of the Elbe and its connected activities fulfilling the targets in different working groups provide a good basis for international activities to improve the quality of the water and especially of the sediments. A basin-scale international sediment management is under development which intends to understand the movement of sediments and sediment-bound contaminants in terms of source, pathway, receptor, relationships and how these respond to natural and anthropogenic changes. Different remediation projects in the upper catchment area of the Elbe in Germany and the Czech Republic are planned to prevent the still on-going pollution from contaminated sites. This is of special interest for those having to deal with these polluted sediments within the Elbe estuary as the Hamburg Port Authority and the Federal Waterways Administration.

While the WFD as the main statute is legally binding, and the European Commission will control the accomplishment of the WFD targets, the RBMPs and measure programmes of the Weser and Elbe outline the intended management framework and the planned actions within the river basin districts. However these may not be realised for these two estuaries.

Given the scope of the national/international RBMPs for the Elbe and Weser, a limited focus has been given to the tidal sections of the rivers. However, this has been addressed in both estuaries by stakeholder working groups (Elbe: AG TES; Weser: Regional Cooperation Groups) who have been contributing to a successful implementation of the WFD and have written non-legally binding lists of measures for the estuaries of Weser and Elbe. This practice has allowed the further integration of other issues such as ports, shipping and agriculture into the implementation of the WFD. For the Elbe estuary, the non-binding list of measures is planned to be updated every six years.

Water quality is also addressed by water companies around the estuaries in relation to the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive. In the case of the Humber Estuary, Asset Management Plans (AMPs) are prepared every five years which set out the proposed spending plans for infrastructure improvements and treatment requirements. Although not a multi-sectoral plan, the AMPs provide an opportunity for future management needs to be incorporated and for the consultation process to highlight where the plans can deliver other objectives to protect the estuary. Water companies have a duty to ensure that they can deliver their statutory obligations for Natura 2000 sites, SSSIs under their control and Biodiversity Action Plans (BAPs).

The Weser and Elbe have water heat load management plans (Wärmelastplan) which set water quality standards for estuarine waters. In the case of the Weser estuary, these standards were set over thirty years ago and need to be updated. For the Hamburg section of the Tidal River Elbe a Cooling Water Management Plan is in process. The SWOT analysis for the Elbe Estuary has identified that although these plans try to balance economic needs with conservation objectives for the estuary, implementation is difficult because of the overriding economic interests of industry and power stations.

No additional water quality plans were provided and therefore assessed for the Scheldt.

Best practice examples include:

Estuary Good/Best Practice
Weser Stakeholder groups (Regional Cooperation Groups) were founded in Lower Saxony and Bremen on a regional level. Their aim is to contribute to a successful WFD implementation and establish a list of non-binding measures referring to the tidal section of the river Weser and plans to be updated every six years.
Elbe Stakeholder working groups have written non-legally binding lists of measures for the tidal section of the Elbe. This practice has allowed the further integration of other issues like ports, shipping and agriculture into the implementation of the WFD. This plan lists the non-binding list of measures for the Elbe and is planned to be updated every six years. A basin scale international sediment management is under development to improve the contamination of the sediments within the estuary.
Scheldt The RBMPs give greater awareness to nature conservation, recreation, ICZM, shipping and ports than plans for the other three estuaries.
Humber A good network of advisory and stakeholder groups for the Humber feeding into the RBMP for the estuary.


Nature Conservation

The TIDE estuaries have management plans prepared to protect habitats and species of importance as suggested by the Habitats and Species Directive and the Wild Birds Directive.  These integrated management plans, although being the result of Natura 2000 objectives, are multi-sectoral and detail the proposed management actions required to ensure the conservation of features from potentially threatening activities.  The common weakness in all of the plans is their non-statutory nature and their success is based on stakeholder implementation. This seems to pose greater difficulties when more than one country is involved or when there are cross-border administrative issues e.g. Elbe (Federal states) and Scheldt (Belgium and Netherlands). It should also be noted that while a Natura 2000 management plan has been developed in the Netherlands, as required by the Dutch Nature Protection Act, a Natura 2000 management plan is not required in Flanders for the Scheldt.

The Humber Estuary Management Scheme (HEMS) has undergone an extensive review of both the management of the Humber Estuary European Marine Site and its governance. This has updated the aim, objectives and action plans for the management of the Humber Estuary European Marine Site launched in 2011. Actions and management to meet the conservation objectives and sustainable management of the Humber have been agreed and will be delivered by both statutory and non-statutory organisations individually or as a partnership through the Humber Estuary Relevant Authorities Group (HERAG) and the Humber Advisory Group (HAG).  As a non-statutory plan, HEMS cannot force any changes to be made, but only encourage stakeholders to make these changes. However, even on the Humber Estuary, there can be a lack of coordination at a strategic level. For example it is not clear how much liaison and coordination there has been historically between the four local planning authorities (municipalities) surrounding the estuary.

Many other non-statutory plans exist for the protection of conservation features of importance on the Humber Estuary. These include biodiversity action plans (BAPs) as required by the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006.  When BAPs were first set up they were generally local authority led but also placed a duty on other authorities, for example the Internal Drainage Boards (IDBs) to conserve biodiversity. BAP partnership groups were established whose membership included a wide range of interested parties. The BAP initiative in general has met with mixed results and has recently been somewhat over shadowed by newer initiatives stemming from the Lawton review (“Making Space for Nature”) and the government’s response to the Lawton review (the Natural Environment White Paper). Local Nature Partnerships and Nature Improvement Areas are now the mechanisms being considered.  Enthusiasm for a specific Humber BAP was always mixed since the area already had a high degree of statutory protection with the existence of the HEMS.

Good practice currently demonstrated in the estuaries of the Weser and Elbe is the development of integrated management plans, which aim to harmonise the different uses, including the needs of shipping and ports, in conjunction with the requirements of Natura 2000 and the Water Framework Directive.  The Integrated Managementplan Weser (IBP Weser) and the Integrated Managementplan Elbe (IBP Elbe) cover the whole estuary, which has led to close cross-border cooperation between the Federal States of Lower Saxony and the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen for the Weser and the Federal States of Hamburg, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein for the Elbe. Both plans (Elbe and Weser) were set up by the Nature Conservation Authorities of the Federal States with active involvement of the Federal Administration of Waterways (Elbe and Weser), and the Hamburg Port Authority (Elbe).  Also the Ministries for Economic Affairs of the Federal States were involved among other stakeholders (Elbe and Weser).

Natura 2000 management plans are joint, trans-state plans which although they have no legal standing provide guidelines for state actions and are aimed at the voluntary commitment of all stakeholders.

The Weser and Elbe estuaries have a series of Landscape or Framework Development Plans (e.g. LAPRO – Landschaftsprogramm Bremen). These form a statutory central planning instrument for conservation issues and sustainable land use at a state and local level. They give a definition of ecosystem services and provide a binding framework for local conservation plans. These plans are limited in extent to the area of the estuary covered by the federal state and some of the conservation objectives within these plans are older and may be in conflict with the concepts of the Weser Natura 2000 management plan. However, the “Landschaftsprogramm Bremen” is currently being updated, so that the aims and measures of the IBP Weser may become part of its legal standing (the plan is to be considered in any administrative decision), as far as Bremen territory is concerned.

It should also be noted that while a Natura 2000 management plan has been developed in The Netherlands as required by the Dutch Nature Protection Act, a Natura 2000 management plan is not required in Flanders for the Scheldt.

Best practice examples include:
Estuary Good/Best Practice
Humber The Humber Estuary Management Scheme (HEMS) and other non-statutory plans also exist for the protection of specific habitats and species in the estuary. This has ensured the cooperation between all users of the estuary to meet the conservation objectives.
Weser Integrated management plan (IBP), which tries to harmonise the different uses of the estuary, including the needs of shipping and ports, in conjunction with the requirements of Natura 2000 and the Water Framework Directive.  This ensures the cross-border cooperation between the federal states and ensures broad stakeholder agreement on integrated aims and measures on the conceptual level.
Elbe Integrated management plan (IBP), which tries to harmonise the different uses of the estuary, including the needs of shipping and ports, in conjunction with the requirements of Natura 2000. This ensures the cross-border cooperation between the federal states and ensures broad stakeholder agreement on integrated aims and measures on the conceptual level.
Scheldt Nature restoration is part of the Revised Sigmaplan in Flanders: habitat creation and flood protection are combined by Flood Control Areas (FCA) and Controlled Reduced Tide (CRT) areas. Area competition for safety purpose and nature restoration.


Flood Protection

Flooding is an issue of concern in all the four TIDE estuaries with the risk only expected to increase in the future due to relative sea level rise caused by climate change and/or isostatic readjustment. All the four estuaries have comprehensive flood risk management plans in place derived through their environment protection agencies and local authorities/federal states.

Several management plans exist to address the risk of flooding within the Humber Estuary. The Humber Flood Risk Management Strategy (FRMS) considers different ways of managing flood risk, raising defences where appropriate, but also introducing sites for managed realignment and flood storage which will help maintain valuable habitats. This plan covers the coastline from the mouth into the Humber beyond the Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) area.  In introducing the FRMS for the whole estuary, the Environment Agency has adopted a strategic approach demonstrating best practice. The FRMS could have been developed on a local authority or Environment Agency regional basis but, by developing the FRMS for the whole Humber Estuary, this avoids the duplication of effort and possible overlap and omissions. Two additional plans, which between them also provide coverage of coastal erosion and flood defences for the coastline and estuary, are the Humber Estuary Shoreline Management Plan (HESMP) and the Humber Estuary Coastal Authorities Group (HECAG) SMP. These non-statutory plans set out a long-term sustainable strategy for the estuary addressing a broad range of issues. Having a range of plans which deal with the management of flooding on the Humber could however have scope for confusion and contradiction where the FRMS and SMPs overlap. These two types of plans are also implemented by different bodies – FRMPs are Environment Agency led with SMPs led by the local authorities.

The Humber Estuary also has Coastal Habitat Management Plans (CHaMPs). These are mechanisms for delivering flood and coastal defence schemes which comply with the requirements of the Habitats Directive. They quantify habitat change (loss and gain) and recommend measures to prevent future losses. These measures include modifying flood and coastal defence options to avoid damage, or identifying the necessary habitat restoration or recreation works to compensate for unavoidable losses. The actions will be delivered through SMPs, flood and coastal defence strategies and schemes.

In 1999, Flanders and the Netherlands agreed to set up a common strategy for managing the Scheldt estuary. In 2002, both parties signed a memorandum of understanding which defined a long term vision strategy. The Scheldt Estuary has two long term plans addressing flood defence for the coverage of Flanders (Revised Sigmaplan) and Netherlands (Deltaprogram). The Sigmaplan has been fully integrated into the 2010 Development Plan.

In 2006, a strategy framework for the provision of flood damage was developed called the Flood Protection Plan Weser.  Integrated flood risk management plans according to the European Assessment and Management of Flood Risk Directive (FD) are also currently in production for the Weser and Elbe estuaries. These two plans involve all the water management administrations of the federal states and stakeholder interests of the respective estuaries as well as public participation.

A scheme to integrate the aims of nature conservation and flood/coastal protection has also been piloted in the Lower Saxony district of the Weser estuary called the Master Plan Coastal Defence (Generalplan Küstenschutz Niedersachsen/Bremen). This has involved the full participation of stakeholders.

Best practice examples include:
Estuary Good/Best Practice
All estuaries Flood risk management plans addressing flood protection of each estuary.  Highlights cooperation across administrative boundaries.
Humber Coastal Habitat Management Plans (CHaMPs).  These are mechanisms for delivering flood and coastal defence schemes which comply with the requirements of the Habitats Directive. 
Weser (Lower Saxony district) Pilot scheme (Generalplan Küstenschutz Niedersachsen/Bremen) to integrate the aims of nature conservation and flood/coastal protection involving the full participation of stakeholders.


Coastal Protection

All four TIDE estuaries have coastal management plans which impact on their management.

Two separate management plans cover the Dutch (Deltaprogramm (Kust)) and Flanders (Coastal Safety Plan) areas of the Scheldt coastline. They both have a long term vision which within the SWOT analysis has been identified as both a strength and a weakness, but a lack of cross border coordination between the two countries managing the issues of coastal flooding and erosion has been highlighted.

The Elbe estuary also has two main plans covering coastal protection measures, one for the Federal state of Schleswig-Holstein (Generalplan Küstenschutz) and the second covering the Federal states of Lower Saxony and the Free Hanseatic City of Hamburg (also called the Generalplan Küstenschutz). Each plan covers slightly different issues but both featuring coastal/flood protection.

The Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg has a programme for surge protection of private land in the Port of Hamburg (Anpassungsprogramm privater Hochwasserschutz), in which measures are partially financed by the owners.

The HECAG SMP (2010)¹ covers the coastline from Flamborough Head in the East Riding of Yorkshire to Gibraltar Point in Lincolnshire, including the outer Humber Estuary. The main aims of the plan are coastal erosion, flood protection and conservation and has been developed by a working group comprised of many relevant authorities with consultation from stakeholder groups. It is a comprehensive plan detailing the intent of shoreline management (a vision for the future of shoreline management for the Flamborough Head to Gibraltar Point frontage) for the short term (up to 2025), the medium term (2026 – 2055) and the long term (up to 2105). However, some overlap exists between the areas covered by the SMP and the Humber Flood Risk Management Strategy.

The authorities responsible for the Weser estuary have devised one plan to manage coastal protection. The Master Plan Coastal Defence details an extension scheme and builds in future climate scenarios.  With the different federal states and authorities with responsibility for the Weser, this plan provides a united management framework for coastal protection. However, because this plan is primarily a flood protection plan, it is not multi-sectoral. Other government obligations still have to be integrated.

Best practice examples include:

Estuary Good/Best Practice
Weser United management framework for coastal protection (Master Plan Coastal Defence).
Humber A comprehensive management plan considering management of the coastline in the short, medium and long terms.


¹ Scott Wilson, 2010. Flamborough Head to Gibraltar Point Shoreline Management Plan Prepared for the Humber Estuary Coastal Authorities Group (HECAG)

Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM)

An international integrated plan exists for the management of the Wadden Sea (Trilateral Wadden Sea Plan) which includes both the Elbe and Weser estuaries up to the brackish water line of each estuary. In this case the brackish water borders differ from that of the transitional water bodies due to the WFD in both estuaries as they lay approximately 20 km seawards.

This plan has been devised by the governments of Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands and although not legally binding, provides an integrated approach to the protection and sustainable development of the Wadden Sea area. The plan harmonises some of the major EU initiatives (e.g. WFD, MSFD and Natura 2000) and provides the opportunity through a Common Secretariat to integrate the interests of all three countries.

A German national ICZM strategy (2006) was developed by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) in cooperation with the five federal coastal states and discussed with a broad set of stakeholders. It is a non-binding strategy providing a flexible framework and a holistic approach to an integrated sustainable development of coastal areas on the German North Sea and the German Baltic Sea. The scope of the German ICZM-strategy includes the interactions between coastal waters, the transitional waters (according to the WFD) and the adjacent land areas. Based on an analysis of the ecological, economic, social and legal situation in coastal and marine areas, the strategy formulates basic principles and areas of action for the implementation of ICZM. As a result of the strategy, ICZM principles were realised by many stakeholders in administration and policymaking at different levels as well as the business sector and society.

The national ICZM strategy is taken into consideration by the Federal States of Lower Saxony, Bremen and Hamburg when setting up their subsequent ICZM-stategies and concrete projects on their territories.

A non-statutory ICZM plan exists for the East Riding of Yorkshire which includes a section of the north bank of the outer Humber Estuary. Although subject to overlapping plans, it is important to recognise that the SMP remains the coastal defence plan providing the plan for the management of the shoreline, whereas the ICZM plan lays out policies for managing all aspects of the coastal zone.

No integrated coastal zone management initiatives have been detailed in the SWOT analysis for the Scheldt Estuary.

Best practice examples include:
Estuary Good/Best Practice
Humber and Elbe Development of integrated coastal zone management plans both on a national (e.g. Elbe & Weser) or regional (e.g. Humber) scale.


Shipping, Ports and Pollution Prevention

According to §12 chapter V SOLAS (International convention for the safety of life at sea) the members of the United Nations are obliged to establish “Vessel Traffic Service Centers” (VTS-Cs) in areas with high maritime traffic density or high danger risks.

For the German Coast including the German Bight as well as the waterways Elbe, Weser and Jade up to the Ports of Hamburg, Bremen/Bremerhaven and Wilhelmshaven a “Traffic Safety Concept German Coast” was developed by the Waterways and Shipping Directorates. This concept consists of several cross-linked special components, the VTS-Cs being one of the most important. Other components are pilotage, accident management, buoyage, networking with neighbouring states, etc. Every component fulfils its own important contribution to maritime traffic safety. The safety concept differentiates preventive, accident combating and repressive measures. The primary aim is focused on the avoidance of dangerous situations to prevent accidents pre-emptively.

The Netherlands and Flanders governments have a Common Nautical Management plan and authority which organises, coordinates and monitors the traffic in the Scheldt estuary. It coordinates emergency events and provides advice, information and data exchange to and between the different players in the chain approach. It includes the cooperation of Flemish and Dutch Pilotage, agencies, traffic centres and VTS authorities, shipping inspection and ports. One weakness identified in this multinational plan is that there is an imbalance between the partners.

With only one port authority in the Humber Estuary, Associated British Ports (ABP) operate the four Humber ports of Grimsby, Immingham, Hull and Goole. As the statutory and harbour authority for the Humber, ABP have a number of plans and strategies to deal with pollution, port development and emergencies. These include the Humber Serious Marine Emergency Plan (HSMEP) and the Humber Marine Pollution Plan “Humber Clean”. Each plan has legal backing with ABP having statutory powers to enforce laws. The main weakness levelled at each plan is that they are not multi-sectoral. ABP also employ a sustainability officer who has a remit for all four ports in the Humber.

Following a considerable increase of dredging necessities in the upper part of the Tidal River Elbe and the Port of Hamburg, during the past decade and the challenges implicated by the designation of the fairway as EU-protected Natura 2000 sites, the Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) together with the Federal Waterways Administration (WSV) developed a long term strategy with the potential to benefit both nature and economy. This so called Tidal Elbe Concept is continuously being revised, adjusted and gradually implemented to sustain the tidal river seaport of Hamburg for the 21st century and beyond.

The management of dredged material in Germany is based upon the international regulations of the London Convention (LC), Oslo-Paris Convention (OSPAR) and Helsinki Convention (HELCOM). They were transposed into a German directive for dredged material management in coastal areas under federal administration (WSV-HABAK, 1999). A new so called ‘Transitional Regulation for the Handling of Dredged Material in Coastal Areas’ (GÜBAK) was agreed between the federal government and the five German federal coastal states in 2009. The management plan detailing the Handling of Dredged Material in Inland Waters (HABAB-WSV) is also applied. This guideline comes with an assessment scheme that takes sedimentological, river-morphological and chemical criteria into account. A common guideline for coastal and inland waterways is now under development (HABAG) which after its implementation will replace the GÜBAK and HABAB guidelines.

The given guidelines are both in charge of management of dredged material in the Elbe and the Weser, however a specific assessment for dredged material of the Elbe has been agreed upon by the environmental ministers of the Elbe Federal states called ‘Recommendations for the handling of contaminated dredged material of the Elbe, ARGE Elbe’. These recommendations also comply with international regulations, are Elbe case specific and today form the basis for dredged material handling in Hamburg.

The Elbe estuary has a management plan for the reduction of dredging works in the tidal Elbe called the “River Engineering and Sediment Management Concept” (RESMC). The implementation of this concept is founded in the Tidal Elbe Concept which adopts a holistic approach to reduce tidal range and thus the necessity for dredging. The concept contains a number of innovative approaches in form of possible measures to minimise the dredging needs. It also opens up certain synergies e.g. with nature conservation interests, but with many stakeholders involved and many administrative boundaries, the complete implementation of the RESMC is seen as difficult. However, the concept is very relevant, since it represents a common basis for maintaining the tidal Elbe between the Hamburg Port Authority and the Waterways and Shipping Administration.

The Elbe and the Weser estuaries as well as pollution incidents in the German Wadden and Baltic Sea are addressed in the Contingency Planning for Marine Pollution Control in German Coastal Zones (VPS). The VPS is administered by the five German coastal federal states and the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development. This plan considers nature conservation, recreation, the economy and ports and ICZM initiatives and sets high standards for tackling pollution events.

A cross-border Pollution Warning Plan for the Weser Estuary is in operation administered jointly by all the Water Management Administrators of the five federal states. The plan covers the whole of the estuary and uses cross-border information in cases of water pollution events. However the plan is not multi-sectoral and gives little consideration to informing conservation agencies of pollution threats.

The prevention of pollution events in the Elbe is managed by the International Commission for the Protection of the Elbe River (ICPRE), which is an integrated partnership group which administers the International Warning Plan and ALMO, a numerical transport model of pollutant dispersal for the Elbe.

The three above mentioned plans (VPS, International Warning Plan for the Elbe and the Pollution Warning Plan for the Weser) are able to optimise a fast response time to minimise pollution events. They also demonstrate a coordinated approach to this potential problem.

Best practice examples include:
Estuary Good/Best Practice
Elbe Two integrated partnership groups managing pollution warning (the International Commission for the Protection of the Elbe River) and contingency planning for pollution events (The Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development and all five federal states of Northern Germany). This overcame the issue of cross administrative boundaries.
Weser Two integrated partnership groups managing pollution warning (the Water Management Administrators) and contingency planning for pollution events (The Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development and all five federal states of Northern Germany). This overcame the issue of cross administrative boundaries.
Humber As the statutory and harbour authority for the Humber, ABP have a number of statutory plans and strategies to deal with pollution, port development and emergencies and has the statutory powers to enforce laws.


Economic Development and Spatial Planning

The three administrative districts (Cuxhaven, Osterholz and Wesermarsch) surrounding the Weser estuary each have a Regional Spatial Plan providing legally binding guidelines. In addition, the Lower Saxony area of the Weser has a plan covering economic development and spatial planning developed by the Lower Saxony Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Consumer Protection and Regional Development. There is a legally binding national development plan which coordinates the spatial extension of different uses such as shipping, wind energy fields, nature conservation, mining and others. This plan covers the exclusive economic zone (AWZ) which spreads seawards to the 12nm line, so there is no direct focus on the tidal river of the Weser. There is also a non-legally binding regional planning concept on coastal waters (Raumordnungskonzept für das niedersächsische Küstenmeer (ROKK)) which is an integrated approach. The ROKK considers different use and protection interests in the coastal zone of Lower Saxony und formulates informal guidelines.

Economic development on the Humber is guided by the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) which focuses on petrochemicals, renewable energy and logistics. The Humber LEP (created in 2011) is led by local authorities and businesses across the Humber economic area and provides the vision, knowledge and strategic leadership needed to drive the sustainable private sector growth and job creation in the Humber area. The Humber Enterprise Zones are at the heart of the LEP’s plans to create a Humber Renewable Energy Super Cluster. They will offer tax breaks and a vastly simplified planning process to manufacturers related to renewable energy. However for this initiative to represent sustainable development, it will be important that economic aspirations are planned and eventually met alongside and pay appropriate consideration of the natural environment.

The Scheldt Estuary has a Strategic Plan for the Port of Antwerp which has a long term vision focusing on the five key areas highlighted in the SWOT table. Although there has been a high level of participation within the plan, political and societal opposition still threaten its success. A second plan addresses the Scheldt deepening plan (Scheldt Deepening Programm) which is enshrined within a strong legal framework (Scheldt Treaty 2005) and provides an excellent cost-benefit balance. This plan has been developed with extensive cooperation and consultation between the Netherlands and Flanders governments. It is also integrated within the Scheldt Development Plan 2010 demonstrating good practice between the countries to address this issue.

The lower estuarine environment of the Elbe is addressed within two legally binding plans (Landesentwicklungsplan & the Regionalplan für den Planungsraum IV) setting the estuary within a greater planning context. In contrast, the Lower Saxony coastal waters of the estuary feature in a non-legally binding integrated region planning document (Raumordnungsbericht Küste und Meer 2005). This has been developed using stakeholder participation and uses conflict assessment in terms of use and conservation targets.

The Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg with the Hamburg Port Authority has a Port Development Plan (Hafenentwicklungsplan HEP) which sets out the development perspectives for the port. It gives a comprehensive and detailed overview of the land as well as the water situation in the port, and sets out guidelines for the Hamburg port policy. At regular intervals this plan is being revised (last 2005 and 2012). There is a broad involvement of stakeholders to reach a consensual political guideline.

Best practice examples include:
Estuary Good/Best Practice
Scheldt The Scheldt Deepening Programm is enshrined within a strong legal framework. Developed using extensive cooperation and consultation, it is also integrated within the Scheldt Development Plan 2010. This has negated separate and potentially opposing plans being developed for the Netherlands and Flanders governments.
Humber The Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is led by local authorities and businesses across the Humber economic area and provides the vision, knowledge and strategic leadership needed to drive the sustainable private sector growth and job creation in the Humber area.



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