Ambassador profile


  Name: John Houston
  Function: Biodiversity Project Officer, Sefton Coast Partnership
  Country: United Kingdom
  E-mail: john.houston(at)leisure.sefton(dot)
  Tel: +44 (0) 1519 342 967

Organisation profile


  Organisation: Sefton Coast Partnership
  E-mail: info(at)seftoncoast(dot)
  Tel: +44 (0) 1519 342 967
  Established: 1978
  Category: Voluntary Partnership
  Number of staff: No full time employees. Support given by Sefton Council and other partners.
Site profile
  Site name: Sefton Coast (also part of Ribble and Alt Estuaries)  
  Location: Sefton, Merseyside, UK  
  Land area: SAC 4,564 ha  
  Nearest urban settlement: Liverpool to south, Southport in north.  
  Natura 2000 ID: SAC UK 001 3076 (also part of SPA UK 900 5103 Ribble and Alt Estuaries)  
  Annual visitor count: Total c. 1,4 million across all sites.  
  Majority of visitors from: Liverpool and Merseyside conurbation, North West England  
  Site description:

Sand and mud flats, sand dunes, dune heath (also saltmarsh and freshwater grazing marsh).


Priority species
  Species code Latin name Common / local name
    Triturus cristatus Great crested newt Annex II
    Bufo calamita Natterjack Toad Annex IV
    Lacerta agilis Sand Lizard Annex IV
    Petalophyllum ralfsii Petalwort Annex II
Priority habitats (* indicates priority habitats)
  Habitat code Common / local name
  2130* Fixed Dunes (Grey Dunes)
  2150* Atlantic Decalcified Fixed Dunes
Stakeholder profile        
  Stakeholder activity in the management planning process:
  Stakeholder group activity level
  hi ←       → nil
  Local Government        
  Central Government        
  Private landowners        
  Green NGOs        
  Private sector        
  Private individuals        
  Port authorities        
  Recreational groups        
  Other: Civic societies        
Stakeholder success stories

Forest Plan

Development of a Forest Plan for the woodland area –over 20 landowners involved in management of over 450 ha.


Beach Management Plan

Development of a Beach Management Plan for the area involving a wide range of stakeholders –and a zoning plan.


Nature Conservation Strategy

Development of a nature conservation strategy based on Eurosite management planning guidance.

Photo credit: Sefton Coast Partnership
Communication profile

Activities and products for the communication of Natura 2000


Action plan meetings
Guided visits


  Event frequency
At least once per week


  Use of seasonal workers / volunteers


  Kind of work / volunteering opportunities
Various –from regular time commitments (rotas) to ad-hoc presence. Volunteers help with guided walks, patrolling, site clean-ups, practical work etc


  Communication literature produced
Magazines / periodicals
Other: Explanation given in management plans.


  Communication target groups
Local community


  The organisation has a dedicated communication strategy for Natura 2000


  Site involved in joint working / networking


  Details of joint working / networking activity
  • Currently involved in Interreg III project Coastal Practitioners Network
  • Led to development of Quality Coast initiative
  • Plans underway for Interreg IV involvement
  • Informal links over many years with managers in Netherlands and Belgium.-occasional visits.


Site management profile
"Development of an integrated nature conservation strategy for the Sefton Coast"
  Key site management issues:


  • Coordinating the work of land managers following principles of Integrated Coastal Zone Management
  • Seeking to balance the interests of sea defence, nature conservation and recreation
  • Developing long-term sustainable actions for the management of dunes, heaths and woodlands
  • Maintaining public support for management work
  • Information, communication and research


  Integration of Natura 2000 in overall site management:


Most of the area is covered by the Natura 2000 designation. Natura 2000 interests are set within the wider management of the coastal area and people’s use of the area.


  Key site management objectives:


  • To develop a nature conservation strategy for the Sefton Coast which takes account of statutory and non-statutory conservation interests, the range of land uses and land ownership and the views of local communities.
  • To reassure the local communities about the large-scale habitat restoration works (removal of plantation woods to restore open dune habitat) proposed by the Government agency, Natural England.
  • The local authority (Sefton Council) view was that such projects should be seen within the context of the SAC as a whole (2000 ha) not a single site.
  • The project addressed the need to respond to coastal erosion, the value of restoring wetland habitats and the value of restoring dry dune habitats.


  Stakeholders targeted as part of management action:


  • Landowners
  • Land managers
  • Local politicians and authorities
  • Government agencies
  • Voluntary organizations
  • Local communities
  • Specific interest groups and members of the public.


  Description of work carried out / methods and methodology:


A step-by-step approach was taken to developing shared solutions to the problems, following Eurosite guidance documents.

Work began on the strategy in late 2005. An Issues Report was prepared to stimulate discussion on the management of the coastal area. A series of working groups were convened to discuss specific topics. These were supported by field visits and further workshops. This led to the adoption of a list of ‘features’ special to the area, some of these are Natura 2000 habitat types, others reflect additional local interest.


  Results of action and activities:


A draft nature conservation strategy and biodiversity delivery was prepared by June 2007. This will be published for further consultation so that a final strategy can be approved and endorsed by the partners by April 2008. The strategy is holistic; it includes the management of the Natura 2000 features, alongside less natural features such as plantation woods, agricultural land and ditches and also addresses landscape and cultural heritage. The strategy sets landscape and nature at the heart of work of the partnership whilst supporting plans for improved access, tourism development, education and economic use of the land.

The draft strategy has been published and stakeholders will have an opportunity to become involved in ongoing discussions. The Sefton Coast Partnership will consider how to establish a permanent communication mechanism and forum for nature so that local people can feel more engaged in debates about management and can become more involved in practical work.


  Indication of budget allocation for these tasks:


The main cost was that of the Project Officer’s time. The whole process will take about two years, of which consultation is a key element.


Financial overview
  European funding:



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Sefton Coast: UK