Posted on 23 May 2006
Solent Protection Society celebrated its 50th anniversary with a lunch for over 140 people at the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes on 19th May.
Members and guests including Chris Huhne, MP for Eastleigh and Peter Viggers, MP for Gosport, heard the Society’s former President, Maldwin Drummond, a founder member of Solent Protection, talk about the Society’s work since its inception in 1956, including the successful opposition to an oil refinery in the Hamble River, a nuclear power station at Newtown River and an oil fired power station at Fawley.
More recently Solent Protection Society worked with other organisations and associations to oppose successfully the Container Ship Port at Dibden Bay and larger ferries on the route between Lymington and Yarmouth.
The Society continually monitors planning, development and pollution matters in the Solent area and, as a result of a successful campaign in 2004/05, reached an understanding with oil companies operating in Solent waters that they will use only double hull tankers, significantly diminishing the possibility of an oil spill in the Solent.
Mr Peter Nicholson, who became Solent Protection Society’s President last November, said that there were even more challenges for the Society in the future including the pressure for more development, the demand for more marina space, the importance of developing sustainable energy programmes and, in particular the Society is keeping a close eye on developments with the Government’s Marine Bill which is now pending.
Solent Protection has put forward a proposal for a Marine National Park in the Western Solent and has recently commissioned a research project on the subject, the results of which will be available later this year.
Referring to the proposed Marine National Park, Mr Nicholson said: “If properly set up this must make sense although many people will be afraid that it will simply bring with it increasing levels of bureaucracy and management by civil servants with no relevant local experience. It will need careful planning to be successful and existing harbour authorities will probably be reluctant to support any proposal like this, but the Department of the Environment has reacted quite favourably so far to our paper on the matter and we expect to hear more in the autumn.”