Information for developers, landowners and managers about how you can work with Poole Harbour’s Bird and Recreation Initiative (BARI) to protect overwintering SPA bird species from recreational disturbance.   

Poole Harbour is an outstanding natural feature on the south coast of England. It provides a resource for a variety of local businesses and port activities. The quality of the natural environment in Dorset makes it an attractive place to live, work and recreate.

Poole Harbour was classified as a Special Protection Area (SPA) in 1999 due to the important bird species that inhabit the area. The special site was designated under the EU Birds Directive to protect rare, vulnerable and migratory birds. Disturbance can be defined as any human activity that influences a bird’s behaviour or survival.  Studies show that public access in and around the harbour, and various forms of recreational activities can cause disturbance (boats, walkers, dogs, bait digging etc) 

The Habitats Regulations require any development, strategic plan or policy likely to significantly affect a European site be subject to an appropriate assessment.  

National Planning Policy Framework  and Planning practice guidance  outline the procedure that should be followed in deciding whether to approve a proposal. 

Mitigation delivery

In compliance we have agreed an avoidance and mitigation strategy through the Poole Harbour Recreation 2019-2024 Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) 

There are two approaches in the strategy: 

  1. Strategic Access Management and Monitoring - focusing on wardening, education and monitoring the strategy. BARI is managed by  Urban Heath Partnership 
  2. Poole Harbour Infrastructure Projects - physical infrastructure projects that provide facilities to manage visitor access to Poole Harbour.  This includes the creation or improvement of an alternative access around the shoreline or rationalising multiple access points into one principle access point to an area of shoreline.   

How we plan to do this

We are looking to support project applications both internally and external of Dorset Council and BCP Council. Proposals may range in size and nature of mitigating function. For example, a proposal may Improve access and zone off sensitive areas with a viewing platform and screens, or raise awareness with improved interpretation on site. 

Projects must demonstrate their ability to mitigate locally recognised recreational pressures.  There is currently no minimum or maximum limit of financial contribution that can be sought.  

The governance

The allocation of Community Infrastructure Levy funding for Poole Harbour mitigation is overseen by a steering group made up of representatives from Dorset and BCP Councils, Natural England and Urban Heaths Partnership. Final sign-off lies with Senior Officers depending on the level of funding commitment.  Mitigation needs to be secured in-perpetuity to mitigate for the life of development and this is secured by the Council using standard management agreements.  

How you can apply 

If you have a project idea for mitigating recreational disturbance to overwintering SPA bird species then please email BARI with your contact details, a brief description of your project or enquiry and your BARI Project Coordinator will be in touch.  

BARI Recreation Mitigation Project Coordinator

Name: Ria Loveridge
Full contact details

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