Solent Forum News – December 2022

The Solent Forum was established in December 1992, in order to develop a greater understanding among the authorities and agencies involved in planning and management in the Solent area, and to assist and influence them in carrying out their functions. The Forum has been set up to consider and provide advice on strategic issues – that is, issues which have implications for a wide area. The Forum does not have any executive powers and its members have no voting rights. As far as possible the Forum is to operate on an ‘equal partners’ basis.

Solent Protection Society was one of the founding members of the Solent Forum, providing the forum with its first Chairman in Maldwyn Drummond who had previously held the chair of SPS.

The post below reproduces the Solent Forum Newsletter emailed to members in December 2022. Use the following table of contents to jump to a specific topic.

  1. Biodiversity and Conservation
  2. Boating and Watersports
  3. Business and Industry
  4. Coastal and Climate Change
  5. Coastal Communities
  6. Fisheries and Shellfisheries
  7. Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management
  8. Ports, Harbours and Shipping
  9. Recreation and Tourism
  10. Water Quality
  11. Grants, Funding and Research
  12. Consultations

Biodiversity and Conservation

Blue Marine’s 5m USD scheme to restore marine habitats along the Solent over the next five years has been formally announced. The Solent Seascape Project will cover an area spanning about 522 sq. km. It will see 10 organisations work together on four types of habitats – seagrass meadows, oyster reefs, saltmarsh and seabird nesting sites.

Chichester Harbour Protection and Recovery of Nature (CHaPRoN) is a long-term partnership initiative to help respond to the increasing pressures on Chichester Harbour. The project has now launched its website.

A positive sign of nature recovery was seen in Sussex, as kelp fronds are found washed up on Worthing beach for the first time in 12 years by a local free diver.

Read an insightful blog on saltmarsh restoration from the Environment Agency and CIEEM.

Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust has been working with Southampton-based artist and illustrator, Hannah Horn, to create a series of large, interlocking artworks that celebrate the Solent’s marine life. See: new mural project unveiled.

Three years ago, Forestry England and the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation released six white-tailed eagles on the Isle of Wight after an absence of over 240 years. Read a blog on how the reintroduction has progressed.

Land and Water is applying for a five-year marine licence for a combined dredge disposal and saltmarsh restoration site west of Itchenor in Chichester Harbour, where they are aiming to trial their new Saltmarsh Restoration Drag Box (SRDB) technique this winter. This project will involve beneficially using dredged sediment from elsewhere in Chichester Harbour to enhance and protect the harbour’s eroding saltmarsh habitats at West Itchenor. 

Boating and Watersports

From 31 December 2022 HM Coastguard will stop disposing of expired or redundant flares handed in by private individuals. From then, you will need to use a third-party service to dispose of them safely and legally. The Green Blue’s Environmental facilities service from British Marine and the Royal Yachting Association will provide contact details of businesses offering disposal services.

A coroner plans to write to the UK government and Tesco to raise concerns over the safety of paddleboards. A woman died in July while out in the River Conwy estuary on a paddleboard sold by Tesco. The senior coroner said he had concerns over advice on the use of leashes, and whether safety advice should be given by retailers selling paddleboards.

Ever experienced motion sickness when participating in paddlesports? Read an interesting blog about the causes.

Interested to know what is happening in Studland Bay with the management of recreational activities? Then view the Studland Bay Marine Partnership | information.

Following the launch of its recyclable Optimist in Summer 2022, Northern Light Composites and not-for-profit Clean Sailors are offering sailing clubs to apply to own one of the first ecoOptimists. The boats will be built in the winter season and be ready for the opening of the next sailing season. The ecoOptimist is not only built from sustainable materials but is also recyclable, more than 90 per cent of the hull is already recyclable.

Business and Industry

Ecostructure’s website has been redesigned to showcase the tools and outputs the project has produced over the past five years to support eco-engineering and biosecurity solutions for coastal and marine structures.

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), working as part of an integrated project team, has delivered an £83m project to upgrade the Oil Fuel Depot at Gosport to meet the future requirements of the Royal Navy, including the new Queen Elizabeth Class carriers.

Coastal and Climate Change

The ‘Greenprint is a joint initiative led by New Forest National Park Authority, University of Southampton, University of Portsmouth, and Southern Policy Centre, working with Partnership for South Hampshire. The objective of the Greenprint framework is to enhance collaboration across and within sectors to achieve a green recovery.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Ocean has released “The Ocean: Turning the Tide on Climate Change”, which examines blue carbon and ocean-based solutions to climate change. The report calls for the government to prioritise and facilitate investment in blue carbon and ocean-based solutions to combat climate change, making several key recommendations.

Coastal Communities

The Secrets of the Solent’s People of the Solent photography exhibition is now online for everyone to enjoy.  See: https://youtu.be/gBQTVoeM3GM. 

The Local Government Association Coastal Special Interest Group (LGA Coastal SIG) is championing to raise the profile of coastal landfill and bring together partners to work collaboratively to better understand the issue and to increase awareness.

UKSA has announced a new partnership with The Marine Society and Sea Cadets (MSSC) which will expand its apprenticeship offering for young people across England. The Isle of Wight based charity, together with MSSC, will deliver apprenticeship schemes and provide young people with employment, while undertaking training in specialist sectors within the marine industry.

Hampshire County Council has committed to work with local groups over a potential six-month period to investigate a transfer of Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve to new ownership.

Fisheries and Shellfisheries

An international team of scientists, led by the University of Southampton, have produced new recommendations to help ensure a more sustainable future for UK fisheries in the post-Brexit era.

Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management

The draft Hayling Island Coastal Management Strategy sets out a vision for managing the island’s coastline. The strategy has explored the most suitable options for the island’s entire 38km coastline. View the draft strategy and provide feedback at: https://bit.ly/3C8BKUn.

Despite challenging weather conditions during early November, New Forest District Council (NFDC) successfully completed a shingle recycling operation at Hurst Spit.

Following a storm event which affected Hayling Island on 24th November 2022, the beach levels decreased below the 1:200-year Standard of Protection. To restore the beach profile again, Coastal Partners are undertaking emergency beach recycling works, extracting shingle from Hayling Golf Club land at Gunner Point, and placing the material along the residential frontage at Eastoke.

The Environment Agency have published a report that explains the methods used and lessons learned during the Natural Flood Management Programme.

Ports, Harbours and Shipping

Captain Wood will join the Cowes Harbour Commission team as Harbour Master in February 2023. He will take on the statutory duties and areas of responsibility currently managed by Cowes Harbour Master, Ed Walker.

Earlier this year Cowes Harbour ran a survey to find out what users of Cowes Harbour think about the harbour and the facilities they provide, what they do well, and how they could improve. The survey report has now been published.

A new intermodal train service is connecting DP World’s container terminals at London Gateway and Southampton. The service is scheduled for every Saturday carrying cargo including fresh fruit, beverages and consumer goods in less than five hours. The train takes up to 120 lorries a week off the roads. There are plans to increase the frequency of the train next year. 

The Royal Navy has ordered its first crewless submarine. In just two years’ time Cetus (named after a mythological sea monster) will move stealthily through the oceans, monitoring hostile activity, listening out for ships or submarines which may pose a threat to the Fleet, or to key national infrastructure such as deep-sea cables and pipelines. 

The Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP joined Leader of Portsmouth City Council Gerald Vernon-Jackson and port director Mike Sellers in November to view Portsmouth International Port’s carbon neutral terminal extension as it reaches the halfway construction stage. The port received £11.25m funding from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to build the new facilities.

Recreation and Tourism

Buckler’s Hard Yacht Harbour has won Marina of the Year in the British Yachting Awards 2022, with the Beaulieu River marina voted as the best place for sailors to call home.

Water Quality

Scientists have been trialling wool rope on seaweed farms as an alternative to  plastic in Scotland – Scientists use wool as plastic-free alternative for seaweed farms.

Five new projects investigating pollution in our rivers and freshwater ecosystems have received funding from NERC.

Southern Water have published their Bathing Water Season Update from their Clean Rivers and Seas Task Force.

Chichester Harbour Conservancy, together with the Manor of Bosham, are sponsoring a PhD led by Brighton University, with a particular focus on research into contaminants found within the sediment of seagrass beds and native oysters and the subsequent impact on these ecosystems. 

From December 2022, Natural England will approach landowners to invite them to offer their land as potential sites for nutrient mitigation. These sites will start to provide the mitigation needed by LPAs and developers and contribute to nature recovery through the creation of new woodlands and wetlands.

View the findings of Fidra’s Great Global Nurdle Hunt, 2022.

Southern Water has revealed plans to spend £13m investing in a new underground storm shaft that will hold more storm water in Woolston Wastewater Treatment Works. It will contain five million litres of water, which will be treated before going back into Southampton water.

The Marine Conservation Society is joining as a co-claimant in a legal case against DEFRA to protect English seas from sewage dumping. The case seeks to compel the Government to rewrite its Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan 2022, impose tighter deadlines on water companies and redevelop the Plan to effectively apply to coastal waters.

The Environment Agency plans to review the permits of waste-water treatment works discharging into the Solent and Southampton Water in line with the 2024 price review requirements. This now includes the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill (LURB) requirements for nutrient pollution reduction. These requirements place a statutory duty on water and sewerage companies in England to upgrade wastewater treatment works to the highest technical achievable limits by 2030 in nutrient neutrality areas.

Grants, Funding and Research

Backed by over £13 million in funding from the Department for Education, the South Coast Institute of Technology (IoT) has been officially launched. Portsmouth International Port is an anchor partner of this new initiative, which will open to new students from September 2023 and is expected to welcome over 1000 students across the educational partners in the first academic year.

The University of Plymouth, together with The Coastal Process Research Group (CPRG) and the National Network of Coastal Monitoring Programmes are hosting the inaugural UK Coastal Research Conference on 04 to 06 July 2023 in Plymouth. Calls for abstracts and posters are now open.

Ever considered taking on an Intern? The University of Southampton (UoS) has announced funding to support organisations in taking on its students for internships. University internships are an opportunity for students to work shorter-term on a meaningful project and for employers to benefit from their skills, knowledge and enthusiasm. Email: employ@southampton.ac.uk for details.

The final round of the Fisheries Industry Science Partnerships (FISP) scheme is open until 19 January.

The Rewilding Challenge Fund is a new fund of up to £100,000 per year, awarded by Rewilding Britain to the rewilding project which shows the maximum potential to upscale rewilding on land or at sea. Expressions of interest for this first fund need to be submitted by 17 January 2023.

Consultations

Southern Water’s Water Resources Management Plan (southernwater.co.uk). Deadline 20 February 2023.

[Content provided by Solent Forum.]