Recreation : sensitivity

The sensitivity of Annex I habitats and Annex II species to recreation pressure

This section seeks to provide a brief overview of the designated features and their potential sensitivities. It should be stressed that this is only a generalised starting point for relevant authorities, site managers and recreation participants when considering the relationship between feature sensitivity and recreational activities.

It is vital to bear in mind that many types of marine habitats are, by their nature, dynamic systems. They are constantly changing and reshaping through such processes as erosion and accretion. This makes an assessment of their vulnerability to different human activities extremely difficult. Such features require long term monitoring to determine precisely the changes that are taking place and the extent to which these are caused by human influences. A summary table gives a quick overview of the threats to these features from waterborne and land originating sources.

Further information on different approaches to assessing feature sensitivity is contained within the appendix "An approach to sensitivity assessment". It should be noted that the method of sensitivity assessment examined in this appendix is only one example of how sensitivity can be measured. It is not the accepted method of the statutory agencies and it is only used in this study to highlight some of the issues and complexities associated with sensitivity assessment.


Mud and sand flats not covered by seawater at low tide

Subtidal sandbanks

Large shallow inlets and bays

Saline lagoons


Submerged or partly submerged sea caves

Grey and common seal

Bottlenose dolphins

Summary of the threats to Annex I and Annex II features