Voluntary management schemes
Local liaison groups
Codes of practice
Successful management schemes for mSAC areas
rely on the support and collaboration of the recreational users
of the area. Where such support is strong, it is likely that
voluntary management at site level can be effective in addressing
the potential impacts arising from recreation.
Voluntary measures of management have a number
of distinct advantages over their regulatory counterparts:
they engender greater ownership from the
local recreational community which may encourage a system
of self policing, both of local participants and also new
participants in the area who may be unaware of the local
they require fewer resources for enforcement
making them more cost effective
they provide a positive two way communications
link between relevant authorities, site managers and recreational
Voluntary methods can facilitate a valuable
two way dialogue with participants, many of whom have an in-depth
knowledge of the environment in which they walk, boat etc. and
any existing problems in those areas. They may also offer good
suggestions as to how problems can be overcome, based on their
experience of the activity. By encouraging such ownership, management
of the areas can be enhanced both in terms of effectiveness
Although the effectiveness of the voluntary
approach is widely recognised, there are some drawbacks to its
use. For example, where few user representative groups exist,
or in areas with very high proportions of informal activities,
it may be difficult to achieve voluntary restraint. It is also
important to note that some environments may be unable to sustain
a ‘wait and see’ approach to voluntary management.
The following sections outline various voluntary
management techniques which can be used in mSAC areas.
Volunteers can play an important role in the
protection of mSAC areas. They can be instrumental in supporting
public education and awareness efforts. They can also contribute
to increasing community participation in the process of protecting
and maintaining mSAC areas. Research, monitoring, education
and office and administrative tasks can all be supported through
volunteer action and effectively free up valuable resources
both in terms of time and money for mSAC officers and relevant
In addition, they provide a hands-on opportunity
for the public to become involved in the protection and preservation
of their local mSAC area.
Examples of volunteer
Local Liaison Groups.
Consultation with and between users is essential
for agreeing and implementing sustainable management objectives.
Local liaison groups can be formed to help with the communication
of information to all parties and to encourage them to participate
in local management discussions.
Such liaison groups will often need to be ‘kick
started’ by one group or individual who sees the potential benefits
that may arise from such a consortium. Although this may require
resources in terms of funding and time, the outcome can be cost
effective and worthwhile.
Examples of local liaison
Codes of Practice
As noted in chapter 7, environmental codes
of practice can be useful voluntary management techniques. If
effectively developed and followed by the end user such codes
can be a cost effective method for minimising the effects of
recreation. The provision of such codes can also encourage recreational
participants to become interested in the marine environment
as well as motivate them to look after it.
It has been estimated that approximately sixty
individual sports and leisure activities have codes of practice
(House of Commons Environment Committee, 1994), although not
all of these cover environmental issues. Most codes have been
drawn up by the governing bodies to prevent or minimise damage
or nuisance caused by recreational activities.
Although the quality of the code is of primary
importance, the effectiveness of its communication and distribution
to the target audience will determine its success. Because of
limited monitoring of the efficacy of codes of practice, it
is unclear how effective many of them are in addressing the
key issues. It is also important to bear in mind that continued
funding is required to maintain momentum during the implementation
of a code.
The development of codes of conduct which cover
the three important issues of conservation, amenity and safety
can be cost effective. In addition, most recreational participants
consider safety issues to be of the greatest importance, particularly
for an activity such as diving. Codes which provide such information
may therefore receive a greater readership and be ‘taken on
board’ by more participants. However, the provision of too much
information in a code of conduct can result in end users being
unwilling to read it.
Examples of code of
Maps are a useful resource for putting across
complex management information in a clear and easily understandable
form. However, they can be expensive to develop as interpretative
tools, particularly if a licence has to be purchased from the
Ordinance Survey or Hydrographical Office.
Examples of interpretive
Recreational participants can provide an excellent
source of up to date information on the current state of the
marine environment, and in particular in relation to pollution
incidents or the occurrence of prohibited activities.
Examples of hotlines