Delivering compensation habitat through the Regional Habitat

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					Delivering compensation habitat through the Regional Habitat Creation Programme:
Approval of Shoreline Management Plans and FCRM strategies.

Key issue
The adoption of policy options within Shoreline Management Plans and Flood and Coastal Risk
Management (FCRM) strategies may lead to the loss of habitats that require compensation where
they occur within internationally important sites of nature conservation.

In carrying out our FCRM functions, the Environment Agency is required to create wildlife habitats
to replace those lost through coastal squeeze or construction of flood defences. We are also
required to enhance the natural environment1. These requirements arise from both statutory
obligations and Government policy. The Environment Agency has developed Regional Habitat
Creation programmes that can be used to deliver the required habitat.

The Environment Agency recognises the benefits of a strategic, planned approach to creating new
habitats to meet legal requirements, outcomes measures and corporate targets. Therefore, in
liaison with other flood and coastal erosion risk management operating authorities, each region
(except Wales) has now developed a regional habitat creation strategy, which is implemented,
where appropriate, through a habitat creation programme (RHCP)2.

The role of the Environment Agency’s Regional Habitat Creation Programme is to coordinate
habitat creation projects that are required through flood risk management activities in the Region.
The RHCP aims to help to deliver FCRM schemes of work whilst meeting these legal obligations
and contributing to the achievement of these targets3.

Shoreline Management plans and FCRM strategies are now beginning to rely on the Regional
Habitat Creation programmes to deliver the necessary compensatory habitat. It has been agreed
with Defra what approach is required within the RHCP to ensure that a strategy can be approved.

This approach will need to be documented within the SMP or FCRM strategy or in a supporting
document that clearly demonstrates the link between the RHCP and the SMP or strategy requiring
approval. This document will need to ensure that it has accounted for and reported against all of
the points above. It is essential that a clear audit trail is established and maintained.

Way Forward
A full briefing note is being developed which clarifies how compensatory habitat can be delivered
through the Regional Habitat Creation programme will be presented at the next meeting on 8th
October 2009.

Amy Parrott
Policy Advisor – Environment Management
July 2009

  634_08 - Flood Risk Management - conserving and enhancing of biodiversity
  1123_08 – Regional Habitat Creation Programme Policy
  635_08 - Conserving and enhancing biodiversity: our legal obligations, policy drivers and targets

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