This glossary has been compiled for the purposes of fostering understanding of this management scheme and therefore should not be taken as definitive.


Taking water from rivers or ground water.


Marine plants including green, red or brown seaweed and microscopic organisms.

Algal bloom

A massive reproduction and growth of marine algae, usually free floating, in response to the presence of higher than normal level of nutrients.

Algal mats

Where a algal growth has become interwoven to form a mat. When a mat forms it can smother other algae.


The total variety of life on earth. This includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems.


The total living or dry weight of biological life either occupying a level in the food chain, inhabiting a particular area, or in a particular population – depending on the context


All the biological life (plants and animals) inhabiting a particular site, area, or period.


The physical habitat with its biological community; a term which refers to the combination of physical environment and its distinctive assemblage of conspicuous species.

Chalk aquifer

A geological formation which holds an underground reservoir of water.

Coastal Habitat Management Plan - (CHaMP)

These plans will provide a framework for managing European (and Ramsar) sites that are located on or adjacent to dynamic coastlines in fulfillment of obligations under the Habitats and Birds Directive (and the Ramsar convention) to avoid damage and deterioration at these sites particularly in relation to coastal defence issues.

Characteristic species

Special to or especially abundant in a particular situation or biotope. Characteristic species should be immediately conspicuous and easily identified.


The official note describing the reasons a site has been selected for a particular designation. (Eg cSAC, SPA, SSSI)


Any naturally occurring group of organisms occupying a common environment.

Competent authority

Any Minister, government department, public or statutory undertaker, public person or person holding a public office that exercises legislative powers.

Conservation objective

A statement of the nature conservation aspirations for a site, expressed in terms of the favourable condition required for the habitats and/or species for which the site has been selected.


A class of invertebrates including crabs, shrimps and barnacles.


Drying out by the sun and wind.

Dune slack

A hollow between dunes which has a high water table (ie the ground water is close to, at or above the ground surface).

Dune feed sediments

The sands which are moved onto the shore as a result of wave action and which are then built up by the wind to form dunes.

Encrusting animals

Marine animals which from colonies – like crusts – on hard surfaces.

Energy budget

The expenditure of energy in relation to it’s accumulation. In this context a bird which has been disturbed is using up energy to fly away which it may otherwise have used to lay down reserve fat in preparation for migration.

European marine site

A European site – SAC or SPA – which consists of, or in so far as it consists of, areas covered intermittently or continuously by seawater.

Favourable conservation status

A range of conditions for a natural habitat or species at which the sum of the influences acting upon it are not adversely affecting its distribution, abundance, structure or function throughout the biogeographic region

Favourable condition

A range of conditions for a natural habitat or species at which the sum of the influence reacting upon it are not adversely affecting its distribution, abundance, structure or function within an individual Natura 2000 site.

Flood Defence Strategy

A strategy which identifies options for defending sections of the coast.

Food chain

Plants or animals which are linked together in a sequence as one organism eats another and food energy is passed along


The part of the shore which lies between normal high and low water marks.


Newly hatched or very young fish.


The study of the formation and development of the land surface and its physical features.


Marine animals which feed by scraping off microalgae from rocks and other surfaces.


An environment defined by specific biological and non-biological factors in which the species lives at any stage of its life cycle.

Habitats Directive

The abbreviated term for Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Fauna and Flora. It is the aim of this Directive to promote the conservation of certain habitats and species within the European Union.


A decrease in the level of response over time to the same level of stimulation ie getting used to something.

Highly Protected Marine Area

offer the strictest possible environmental protections with only non-damaging activities allowed eg swimming kayaking, scuba diving (but no fishing, construction, digging or similar).


The scientific study of seas, lakes and rivers.


Excessive level of nutrients (plant food).

Interest feature

A natural or semi-natural feature for which a European site has been selected. This includes any Habitats Directive Annex I habitat or Annex II species and any population of a bird species for which a site has been selected under the Birds Directive (see also sub-feature).


The area of the shore between the highest and lowest tides.


An organism which is composed of algae and fungus.


The action required for an interest feature when it is considered to be in favourable condition.

Management scheme

The framework established by the relevant authorities under Regulation 34 at a European marine site under which their functions are exercised to secure compliance with the Habitats Directive in relation to that site.


Marine Conservation Zones are areas that protect a range of nationally important, rare or threatened habitats and species, established by legal order made by DEFRA under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009.


Microscopic marine plants – when grouped together they are visible as a coloured zone on e.g. cliff faces.

Microbial pathogens

A minute living being which can cause disease.


The small scale and detailed natural surface features of an area.


Species of animals that move regularly between areas – often movements are between breeding and wintering feeding grounds.


Soft bodied unsegmented animals usually with shells e.g. limpets, periwinkles. whelks, cockles, muscles, oysters and piddocks.

National Nature Reserve

A designation given to Sites of Special Scientific Interest that are amongst the finest wildlife and earth heritage sites in England, containing examples of a wide range of ecosystems, habitats, communities and species, and of geological and geomorphological features and formations.

Nationally scarce/rare

For marine purposes, these are regarded as species or biotopes of limited national occurrence.

Natural change

Change which is attributable to natural causes rather than those which result from human activities.

Natura 2000 series

The European network of protected sites established under the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive.

Nutrient enrichment

When a water body has an extra input of plant nutrients such as nitrates or phosphates, which under the right conditions cause excessive plant growth and can reduce the oxygen content of the water.

Objective 2

‘Objective 2′ is one of the objectives for European Union structural funds. This objective is for areas which have been subject to industrial decline or long term structural economic problems.

If an area is identified as an Objective 2 area it has access to funding through the European Regional Development Fund and the EU Social Fund.

Operations which may cause deterioration or disturbance

Any activity or operation taking place within, adjacent to, or remote from a European marine site that has the potential to cause deterioration or disturbance to the habitats or species for which the site has been designated.

Organic enrichment

When a water body has an extra input of small particles of organic material. These are broken down by micro organisms to become plant nutrients contributing to nutrient enrichment.


In the form of many tiny separate particles.


Polychlorinated Byphenyls, chemicals which have been used in the electronics industry. They can build up in the food chain and are poisonous.


A type of bivalve mollusc.

Plan or project

Any proposed development that is within a relevant authority’s function to control, or over which a competent authority has a statutory function to decide on applications for consents, authorisations, licences or permissions.


The natural preying of one animal on another.


Prey species

A species which is the food source for a another.


Marine rocky surfaces colonized by biological life.


The way water is deflected off a hard surface at a certain angle having hit it from a different angle.

Relevant authority

A body which has powers or functions which have or could have an impact on the marine environment within a European marine site.


A place where birds regularly settle to sleep.

SAC - Special Area of Conservation

A site of Community importance designated by the Member States where the necessary conservation measures are applied for the maintenance of restoration, at a favourable conservation status, of the habitats and/or species for which the site is designated. A candidate SAC is a SAC formally submitted to the European Commission, but yet to be adopted by the Commission and designated as a SAC.


A process of abrasion of surfaces caused by the action of sandy particles carried in moving water. Usually occurs as a result of tidal water movement or, in shallower areas, by wave action.


The level of intolerance of a habitat, community or individual to damage or disturbance from an external factor.

Shoreline Management Plan

Plans which identify appropriate lines for coast defence based on land use and coastal processes.

SPA - Special Protection Area

a European designation for the protection of birds and their habitats.


The activity of producing eggs.


(Of algae) microscopic reproductive cells produced in vast numbers.

Sub feature

An ecologically important component of the interest feature.


Zone of the sea below low water.


A swell of waves moving powerfully forward.

SSSI - A Site of Special Scientific Importance

A designation given to sites considered to be of nature conservation and/or geological importance in a National context.

Synthetic compounds /non-synthetic compounds

In this context synthetic compounds are chemicals created by chemical processing and that do not occur naturally. Non synthetic compounds are those compounds which can occur naturally but not in the concentrations resulting from chemical processing .


The behaviour involved in occupying and then defending a division of space.


A chemical, tributyltin, which is toxic to marine life and which is used as an anti-fouling paint on large vessels.

Thermal regime

Regularly changing patterns in the temperature of the sea.

Toxic contamination

Pollute with poisonous chemicals.


Chemicals which are poisonous.


Waters that contain high levels of particulate matter through which light penetration is poor.

Type locality

The locality from which the original specimens used to describe a new species were taken.

Typical species

A species that is considered to be a typical component of a feature or sub feature.

Upper Cretaceous

Chalk rocks formed from small sea creatures deposited during the Cretaceous period – a period in time usually dated as 135-136 million years before present and lasting about 70 million years.


The likelihood of a habitat, community or individual of being exposed to an external factor to which it is sensitive.


A species which has migrated to the area to find adequate food during the winter months.

  • In a planning context this means: areas which are designated for particular use.
  • In a natural context this means: the natural division of the habitat into particular communities.



Canterbury City Council


Coastal Wildlife Project


Department of the Environment Transport & the Regions


Environmental Agency


European Commission


European Union


Foreign & Commonwealth Office


Food & Environment Protection Act


Geographical Information Unit


Highly Protected Marine Area


Health & Safety Executive


Inshore Fisheries & Conservation Agency


Kent County Council


Kent Wildlife Trust


Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries & Food


Marine Conservation Association


Marine Conservation Zone


Marine Management Organisation


North East Kent European marine sites


North East Kent Marine Protected Area


National Federation of Sea Anglers


National Nature Reserve


Polychlorinated biphenyl


Special Area of Conservation


Site of Community Importance


Sea Fisheries Committee


Special Protection Area


Site of Special Scientific Interest


Southern Water Services


Tributyl tin


Thanet District Council


Urban Waste Water Treatment


Water Resources Act