Solent News – August 2020

Each month we will bring you news relating to the Solent Area, edited from source material from the Solent Forum.

Select from this list to jump to the appropriate section:

In all articles, clicking on underlined text will open the referenced article in a new browser window.

Local News

Natural England and the Environment Agency have developed a Project ‘tool’ which can be used by members and external organisations to see what projects are happening in the Greater Solent catchment. This has recently been updated and the latest version can be accessed here.

A £1bn plan to build a 1,380-home community on the site of Fawley Power Station has been given the go-ahead. It will also encompass a canal, as well as a 2,100-space car park and open areas for the public. An amendment was also passed that proposed cycle routes must be completed before any of the homes are occupied. The oil-fired power station, between the New Forest and Southampton Water, was decommissioned in 2013 after operating for more than 40 years. As the proposals encompass land within the New Forest District and New Forest National Park, separate outline planning applications were submitted to both authorities. Both have worked closely together over the past five years to draw up policies in their Local Plans which set out their requirements and expectations for the site. These were subject to several rounds of consultation and an examination in public by Government planning inspectors.

Take a virtual tour of RRS James Cook in your web browser by taking this link.

New Forest DC have received funding from the Local Government Association to help it tackle a rise in littering in the district, and have launched a litter intervention initiative at the coast. Find out more here.

Wightlink has partnered with the Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE) to place cages containing hundreds of young oysters into the Lymington River as part of its initiative to re-introduce the shellfish to the Solent. View the online video here.

The Total Ecosystem Management of the InterTidal Habitat (TEMITH) project evaluation webinar will take place in early September. It will be pre-recorded and so can be accessed at the convenience of the participants.

The Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership (ESCP) is developing the next iteration of its Coastal Management Strategy, which aims to continue to sustainably address coastal flooding and erosion around Hayling Island. You can find details at this link.

Read a fascinating study of the history of Oyster fishing in Chichester Harbour prepared for the Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority.

The Isle of Wight Council and the Environment Agency have agreed to work together over the next six years on several flood defence schemes representing around £37 million worth of potential Government investment. The new partnership has already secured £400,000 in funding to accelerate early design work on four projects in Ventnor, Bembridge, Sandown and Shanklin.

The New Forest Tour bus is back for 2020 running from Saturday 18th July until Monday 31st August.

Chichester Harbour Conservancy have been counting the number of seals in the Harbour since the 1990s and last month recorded the highest number yet with 65 spotted.

HMS Victory’s new support system is in place featuring 134 props. Each one contains a load cell which monitors the ship’s weight and distribution on a minute by minute basis, mimicking the variable pressures of the sea. More importantly they provide early warnings of any faults and weaknesses.

Bird Aware Solent are asking Solent based recreational clubs whether their members would like to learn more about the Solent’s diverse birdlife. Its rangers are offering free online presentations. Email Bird Aware Solent to find out more and book a date.

Havant Borough Council is urging groups from across the borough to apply for a share of around £500K to help support projects which deliver new or improved community services and facilities. Funding has been made available using Community Infrastructure Levy, an income which is generated by new development taking place in the borough.

The new Dorset Mariculture strategy aims to provide a route for sustainable marine aquaculture development across Dorset for the next five years.

It was two storms in February and one pandemic lockdown lasting four months that made it late, but finally the Bouldnor Isle of Wight MARINEFF research project with Bournemouth University is underway with the installation of forty five Vertipools on the sea defences.

Buckler’s Hard Yacht Harbour has completed the first phase of a major redevelopment plan and is now taking reservations for an increased capacity of permanent berths and moorings, which include deeper berths, a greater number of walk-ashore pontoons and improved facilities.

British Marine has announced that Southampton International Boat Show Ltd will present Boats 2020 at Mayflower Park, Southampton from 11 – 20 September 2020. This outdoor and on the water event will be a not-for-profit showcase of boats and equipment.

Bembridge Harbour Authority (BHA) is remodelling its Duver visitors’ pontoon in the wake of Covid-19 restrictions. Historically, boats have rafted out on what was one long pontoon. Now, BHA has invested in 36 additional finger pontoons (72 berths) which arrived by barge from Portsmouth in July.

Pioneering research from the University of Portsmouth, that aims to find a solution to the global plastic pollution crisis, is to share in £15.9 million of investment from the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). The Solent LEP will use the Government’s ‘Getting Building Fund’ allocation to finance the expansion of the University’s Centre for Enzyme Innovation (CEI), which takes enzymes from the natural environment and adapts them in the laboratory to recycle and reuse some of our most polluting plastics. The CEI will receive £1m investment from the Solent LEP.

Southampton based HPW Architecture are submitting a planning application to Test Valley Borough Council to transform the old World of Water site on Greatbridge Road, Romsey into a nature based campus, whilst also providing enhanced access to the adjacent Fishlake Meadows Nature Reserve. The scheme is being developed to attain “Building with Nature” accreditation standards which recognises the design and delivery of high quality green infrastructure.

Southern Water are adopting a new approach to plan for the future of drainage, wastewater and environmental water quality. As part of this, they are currently developing 11 Drainage and Wastewater Management Plans (DWMPs) across their region.

A Mayflower 400 rally, hosted by the Royal Southampton Yacht Club and Royal Naval Reserve Yacht Club, following the route sailed by the Mayflower and Speedwell in 1620 takes place from the 15 – 26 August, linking Southampton, Dartmouth and Plymouth. The flotilla will be carrying ‘Mayflower Badges’, created for Southampton’s 1920 Mayflower Pageant, to gift to these cities.

Six organisations have come together to launch a new code to help protect the landscape, livestock and wildlife of the New Forest. The New Forest code focuses on nine simple ways visitors and residents can help care for this unique place.

Progress continues on the construction of a new £23 million distribution centre in the Port of Southampton, which will strengthen capacity for Import Services, a leading port-centric logistics company. Once complete, the 200,000 sq ft warehouse facility will adjoin Import Services’ existing distribution hub, which will double operational capacity.

National News

Oxford University are carrying out a survey to determine attitudes towards marine wildlife growing on historic blockwork or masonry maritime structures by those responsible for their management. Specifically, the survey focuses on structures built pre-1960 that are regularly submerged and exposed by the tide (harbours, ports, jetties etc.).The survey will ask you to consider how marine wildlife (e.g. seaweed, limpets) is managed at structures under your care and whether you perceive the colonisation of marine wildlife as beneficial or detrimental. The survey should take approx. 12 minutes

Associated British Ports (ABP), has announced it has successfully embedded drone technology into its asset management practices and policies, following an 18 month programme. Development in the past 6 months has been focused on site testing across 8 locations in the UK. Analysis and data collection from the flights has demonstrated considerable cost saving and benefits; operations were safer, 25% more cost effective; and took 55% less time compared to traditional methods for selected assets.

The Protected Wreck Association, in partnership with MSDS Marine, has been awarded a grant of £29,000 from Historic England to support the licensed volunteer divers that are invaluable in helping to protect our nationally-important wreck sites.

On 23 July, IUCN launched the first-ever Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions.

BCP Council have launched a Beach Check app with a simple traffic light system to show which of its beaches are the most congested.

The MMO have published an ad hoc statistical release: UK Sea Fisheries Statistics June 2020. It was published in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to provide evidence on impacts on commercial sea fishing activity.

Google has announced plans to build a new undersea network cable connecting the US, UK and Spain. The tech giant says it is incorporating new technology into the cable, which it claims is a significant upgrade to older existing lines. The project is expected to be completed by 2022.

Watch an Environment Agency short video about how tipping dirty water down the wrong drain can impact marine life.

In July 2021, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) will present its statutory advice on UK climate change risks and opportunities to the UK Government. To inform that advice, around 450 people from over 130 organisations are contributing to the Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) Evidence Report. A new independent website collates and presents that evidence. Factsheets on marine life and flooding and coastal change will be published.

Government has announced a fund of up to £40 million to create jobs in nature recovery and conservation. The ‘Green Recovery Challenge Fund’ will fund areas such as protecting species, finding nature-based solutions to tackling climate change, conservation rangers and connecting people with the outdoors.

Protecting large areas of ocean will play a key role in capturing carbon emissions from the atmosphere, George Eustice, Environment Secretary, told Blue Marine Foundation’s conference entitled ‘Rewilding the Sea’. Mr Eustice revealed that his department is considering restoring habitats such as seagrass and saltmarsh.

RNLI are looking for ‘local ambassadors’ to promote its safety messages and to encourage local community and visitors alike to contribute to raising much needed funds to support lifeboats.

Cornwall, Buckinghamshire, Greater Manchester, Northumberland and Cumbria local authorities have been selected by the government to help kick-start nature recovery on a countrywide scale. The selected authorities will receive a share of £1 million of funding to set up ‘Local Nature Recovery Strategies’ (LNRS) pilot studies to help map the most valuable sites and habitats for wildlife in their area and identify where nature can be restored. The forthcoming Environment Bill will require all areas in England to establish LNRSs.

Scallop fishing in the North Sea around Dogger Bank will continue to be suspended until 29 August 2020.

Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE) and Barclays have announced a new three-year, £5 million partnership to promote a stable climate through marine conservation.  BLUE will seek to increase its ambition to secure world-class marine reserves, combating overfishing, proving the value of carbon-capturing marine habitats and restoring vast tracts of sea as part of a four-pronged joint programme.

British Marine, the Zoological Society of London and the Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE) celebrated  World Oyster Day (5 August) with an award of £1,180,000 to boost British native oyster populations – the biggest project of its kind in the UK.  The funding has been raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery and awarded as part of the Dream Fund, which gives charities the opportunity to bring a dream project to life. It will help the ‘Wild Oysters’ project to recover the native oyster populations.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency is investing more than £170m in a new radio network built and maintained by telent Technology Services. The programme will replace old existing copper telephone wiring with modern fibre-based technology to each of the HM Coastguards 155 remote radio sites, as well as adding new connection points to increase resilience.

New research led by Centre for Environment, fisheries & Aquaculture Science (Cefas) and Substance provides estimates of the numbers of sea anglers, participation rates, catches and economic impact across the UK in 2016 and 2017.

A new EU report presents findings from a review of over 30 EU-funded research and innovation projects conducted as part of the EC’s Valorisation of Nature Based Solutions Projects Initiative.

The Environmental Audit Committee is launching a new inquiry into biodiversity and ecosystems. The inquiry will examine how best to protect and enhance biodiversity whilst considering nature-based solutions to climate change and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Hong Kong-based marine scientists have created 3D printed terracotta tiles they say will act as artificial reefs to help give corals a fighting chance against climate change.  Each tile is almost two feet in diameter and gives the coral lots of ‘nooks and crannies’ to anchor to, they interlock organically, allowing expansion when needed without disturbing existing settings. The tile design can also be adapted for the specific environment and underwater conditions where they are placed.

The climate change team at Natural England ran a series of webinars in May to introduce a range of climate change topics. All four sessions and an introductory video are available on Natural England’s YouTube channel.

As part of preparations for mandatory biodiversity net gain, Natural England is leading a pilot project which will support the design of the national Biodiversity Credits Scheme.

In the wake of recent fatalities involving personal watercraft (Jet Ski’s) in UK waters, the UK Harbour Masters Association have written to the Minister for Maritime calling for action in regulating the use of such non-defined craft within ours Ports and along our coasts.

The Royal Navy has shown its commitment to using autonomous and robot systems for underwater survey work. It comes as the navy, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) and the National Oceanography Centre have renewed and expanded their Memorandum of Understanding for the underwater environment. The agreement will see the organisations continue to collaborate in trials and testing of marine autonomous systems and sensors to collect data, broadening the navy’s capabilities in this area.

Recent Consultations

Natural England invited comment on conservation advice packages for a range of sites including Utopia MCZ. Visit this site and look for sites that are ‘draft’. The deadline for consultation was 28 August.

The Rivers Trust and partners launched the new Catchment Monitoring Cooperative Consultation Hub on the contribution of citizen science and community monitoring.

The Environment Agency launched a consultation on the future approach to managing the water environment and it will also be used to update the existing river basin management plans in 2021. You can watch a video relating to the consultation here. Deadline for consultation was 24 September.
Read the Partnership for South Hampshire response.

Government is consulting on reforms to the tax treatment of red diesel and other rebated fuels. Deadline is 1 October.

Solent Marine License Applications

Visit: to find the detail and status of a marine licence application and type in the case reference number.

Licence Applications Open for Public Consultation:

Capital Dredge in Ashlett Creek (New Forest). Case reference: MLA/2020/00255. Deadline 11 September.

Other Marine Licence application variations, completions and requests in the last month in the Solent are shown below. 

Gosport Sea Wall Repairs.  Case reference: MLA/2019/00509/2.

Wildlife Applications

None reported.