The UK Marine SACs Project website was a vehicle for communicating and distributing the learning, knowledge and outputs from the UK Marine SACs Project to its wider audience. Since the project was completed in 2001, this website has been closed and all its documents and background information can now be accessed through the UKMPA Centre.

Monitoring and assessment

There is a requirement within the Habitats Directive (Article 17) for Member State governments to report on the conservation status of the habitats and species which SACs and SPAs aim to conserve.

The monitoring programme for each marine site should work towards distinguishing changes that are brought about by human activities from natural changes. Knowledge about this varies, and in some circumstances a precautionary approach may be necessary towards activities that are considered, by the best scientific view, to be likely to cause significant damage. It is this significant human-induced damage to the condition of the conservation features of the site that management scheme is primarily intended to prevent.

The aim of monitoring on European marine sites is to determine whether the conservation objectives for the site have been, or are in the process of being, achieved. Its value is to record changes in the conservation features, for which the site has been designated in response to the management measures taken to conserve it, and to serve as a guide to help identify any additional measures which need to be taken.

A monitoring programme will be developed for each European marine site and should assess the effectiveness of the management scheme in achieving the conservation objectives. The results of the monitoring will inform he management scheme and allow for effective revision of the management measures. The responsibility for carrying out the monitoring programme will vary between sites but it is hoped that many of the relevant authorities will contribute to this through the exercise of their normal functions. It is likely that, where appropriate, the conservation agencies will co-ordinate the monitoring programme for each site.