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5.2.3 Poole Harbour: Governance Arrangements

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With such a wide range of commercial and public activities occurring in and around the harbour, the need to manage these different interests has long been recognised.

As with many coastal and marine environments, there are a plethora of statutory and non-statutory bodies in place that govern various aspects of the harbour, with the majority of these having their own planning documents and strategies.

The Poole Harbour Commissioners (PHC) have jurisdiction over water based activities that take place in the harbour and regulate these to ensure the safety of all harbour users.

5 2 3 Poole Harbour Managementl

Figure: Poole Harbour Governance Framework

A number of activities are zoned. Some activities are permitted; for example, jet skiing and waterskiing.  Harbour access and speed restrictions are also used to manage these activities for safety and to reduce conflict between users, for example, encouraging launching of jetskiers at manned slipways with parking for cars and trailers, and restricting access to southern parts of the harbour where there are environmentally sensitive areas.

5 2 3 Poole Harbour Map

Figure: Map showing zoned areas for water based activity in Poole Harbour [PHC, 2014]

A key management framework that covers the entire site and integrates several organisations and issues is the Poole Harbour Steering Group’s Aquatic Management Plan.

This seeks to provide a coordinated and effective framework for the management of Poole Harbour. It encompasses both the present and future needs of nature conservation including the previously mentioned SPA, of recreation, commercial user and other interests in the harbour. The plan is monitored and reviewed regularly. This document also serves as the Management Scheme for the Poole Harbour SPA.

5 2 3  Poole Harbour Aquatic Management PlanThe Poole Harbour Steering Group (PHSG) oversees the Aquatic Management Plan. It is a voluntary partnership that provides a framework for coordination between statutory bodies with responsibilities in the harbour.

The Poole Harbour Steering Groupmembership includes:

  • Borough of Poole
  • Dorset County Council
  • Environment Agency
  • Marine Management Organisation
  • Natural England
  • Poole Harbour Commissioners
  • Purbeck District Council
  • Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority
  • Wessex Water Services Ltd

There are a number of relevant national bodies that are not members of the Poole Harbour Steering Group but are important to the site’s management. These include the Crown Estate and English Heritage. In addition, there are other organisations and associations with an interest in the management of Poole Harbour and its surrounding coastline, namely Dorset Coast Forum, Dorset Wildlife Trust, RSPB, and local recreational user groups and clubs.

A culture of stakeholder liaison and interest in the management of the harbour is to the benefit of the governance of this case study site.

Despite this complex situation, the Poole Harbour Steering Group and the Aquatic Management Plan provide a focal point for the management of recreation within the harbour, bringing together managers and other stakeholders.

Furthermore, the Poole Harbour Commissioners, whose primary responsibility is to ensure safety of navigation, commercial revenue of the port and environmentally sustainable management, undertake extensive stakeholder liaison to balance environmental, commercial and leisure interests in the harbour.

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