Solent Forum News – January 2023

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 the forum members in January 2023 with content reproduced here by kind permission.

Use the following table of contents to jump to a specific topic.

  1. Archaeology and Heritage
  2. Biodiversity and Conservation
  3. Boating and Watersports
  4. Business and Industry 
  5.  Coastal and Climate Change
  6.  Coastal and Marine Management
  7.  Coastal Communities
  8.  Fisheries, Shellfisheries and Aquaculture
  9.  Flood and Coastal Risk Erosion Management
  10.  Grants, Funding and Research
  11.  Litter and Plastics
  12.  Ports, Harbour and Shipping 
  13.  Recreation and Tourism 
  14.  Water Quality
  15.  Consultations

Archaeology and Heritage

  • Did you know? in 1872, the expedition of HMS Challenger set sail from Portsmouth, travelling nearly 70,00 nautical miles and cataloguing over 4000 unknown species over 4 years. This pioneering expedition, organised by the Royal Society, laid the foundations of oceanography.
  • The Grade II red-and-white-striped tower at the Needles could be upgraded as part of a project that would update navigation aids, as well as electrical and mechanical systems. The existing floor and door of the lighthouse, which dates to 1859, would also be replaced. The plans have been put forward by Trinity House, the official lighthouse authority in England. The keepers left at the end of 1994 and it is now monitored and controlled from Harwich, Essex.

Biodiversity and Conservation

  • Read the Ministerial statement on the Final Environmental Targets under the Environment Act 2021. This includes 70% of the designated features in the MPA network to be in favourable condition by 2042, with the remainder in recovering condition.
  • Natural England is launching the National Green Infrastructure Framework on 31st January 2023 with an online webinar. See: Launch of the National Green Infrastructure Framework Tickets, Tue 31 Jan 2023 at 10:00 | Eventbrite.
  • As part of the LIFE Remedies Seagrass Project The Green Blue are holding a short series of Anchoring and Mooring best practice webinars. Each of the webinars will cover the value of seagrass and the importance of careful anchoring. Speakers from partner organisations in the project will also be sharing local knowledge on project specific sites. The webinar for the Solent takes place on 7 March 2023.
  • Read a blog ‘Winter Beneath the Waves that explains how seagrasses prepare for winter.
  • The Nature Recovery Network team in Natural England are conducting research into a digital presence for the Nature Recovery Network (NRN). Please have your say by filling in a short online survey so they can understand citizen’s current awareness, interest, and engagement in the NRN.
  • Watch a video of Blue Marine checking on the progress of their oyster cages at Lymington at: Oysters in Lymington: status update.
  • Results from the Solent Great Coastal Birdwatch reveal 93 different bird species spotted by members of the public, including 16 birds in the red category for conservation concern.
  • Planning permission has been granted for The Moors at Arne, a scheme on the Isle of Purbeck adapting approximately 150 hectares of low-lying grassland into diverse wetlands.

Boating and Watersports

  • Following the end of HM Coastguard’s flare disposal scheme in December 2022, The Green Blue’s Environmental Facilities Map provides a way to find your nearest provider of flare disposal services.

Business and Industry 

  • Ofgem has approved the need for four new high-voltage subsea cables in Scotland to deliver electricity from wind farms to the National Grid. The projects, along with planned upgrades of powerlines across Scotland, would help deliver the UK government’s target to achieve 50GW of offshore wind power by 2030.
  • Kingston Wharf in East Cowes, on the Isle of Wight, is set to become a boat-storage facility with wash-down capacity. The site is also expected to have new mooring pontoons, 11 workshops and a 100-tonne boat crane. The Isle of Wight Council, which approved the plans, said the proposals would bring the site back into active use.
  • UKSA has announced it has partnered with Red Funnel in offering its Level 3 Workboat Crew Member Apprenticeship Programme as part of its maritime career pathways.
  • The Crown Estate has announced its first major investment in surveys to support the proposal for new clean energy capacity through floating offshore wind in the Celtic Sea. The awarding of the first contracts marks an important step in what is anticipated to be a multi-million pound series of technical and environmental surveys around potential locations for new floating wind farms.

 Coastal and Climate Change

  • Data published by the Centre for the Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) shows that sea temperatures across the south and east of England hit record-breaking levels in 2022. The data is provided by WaveNet

 Coastal and Marine Management

  • Read the latest MMO newsletter ‘Seaview‘.

 Coastal Communities

  • The Chichester Harbour Trust have bought two pieces of land in the Harbour. The first is 100 acres of environmentally sensitive coastal grazing marsh at Tournerbury Farm, running along the western shore of the harbour on Hayling Island. The second is a 2.5 acre site, Marina Farm, close to Emsworth marina.
  • As part of the UKRI funded Diverse Values project, Portsmouth City Council are interested in understanding how you connect with and value your local marine and coastal environment in and around Portsmouth and invite you to send your thoughts about issues relating to the ocean and coast through completing this questionnaire: Ocean Literacy in Portsmouth Survey (surveymonkey.co.uk).

 Fisheries, Shellfisheries and Aquaculture

  • The UK Gear Forum brings together industry, researchers and governments to discuss and advance gear innovations to drive sustainability in fishing. Find out more at: UK Gear Forum | Seafish.
  • MMO will hold a fresh set of quayside conversations with fishers in ports on the south coast to get their views on ongoing development of the Channel demersal non-quota species Fisheries Management Plan (FMP).

 Flood and Coastal Risk Erosion Management

  • Work to replenish the shingle at Selsey began in January for up to four weeks. The shingle beach at Selsey is the main defence against coastal flooding and erosion and each year shingle replacement work helps to bolster the defences in the event of potential storms.
  • The Environment Agency have started investigation work on the esplanade and beach in Yaverland for coastal erosion and flood defence work. Some footpaths will be diverted and some parking suspended for a short time.

 Grants, Funding and Research

  • Nasa has launched a satellite that’s expected to transform our view of water on Earth. The mission will map the precise height of rivers, reservoirs and lakes, and track ocean surface features. It should improve flood and drought forecasts, and help researchers better understand how the climate is changing. British scientists have been asked to help set up the spacecraft using the Bristol Channel as a benchmark.
  • Chichester Harbour Conservancy are recruiting a Nature Recovery Officer to be part of the Solent Seascape Project. Please click on the link below to find out more. Deadline: 23 January 2023: https://conservancy.co.uk/page/job-vacancies.
  • The Endangered Landscapes Programme planning grants support preparing landscape restoration plans, building alliances, establishing baselines for biodiversity, and drafting funding proposals. Find out more and apply before the 3rd Feb at: https://endangeredlandscapes.org/about/funding-opportunities/eoi-planning-grants/…
  • new project led by the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) will unlock new capability of an innovative satellite mapping technique to enable better large-scale management of intertidal zones.

 Litter and Plastics

  • Several catchment partnerships now undertake work to tackle plastics. A free Rivers Trust webinar on 21 February provides an opportunity for knowledge exchange, presenting case studies, sharing ideas and exploring opportunities for collaboration.
  • Read new research on ‘A hitchhiker’s guide to floating marine debris‘. This looks at how to curb threats to marine biodiversity.
  • Have you heard of the Fish and Click app? This enables beach cleaners to log discarded fishing gear as part of the INdIGO Citizen Science research.

 Ports, Harbour and Shipping 

  • A Royal Navy training site in Hampshire earmarked for disposal will now be kept. HMS Sultan in Gosport was among numerous Ministry of Defence (MoD) sites placed under a phased withdrawal and disposal in a 2016 review.
  • The number of people arriving at a UK port from France has more than halved after Brexit. Portsmouth ferry port saw 338,000 arrivals in 2019 but only 155,000 in 2022, according to Brittany Ferries.
  • The year 2022 was significant for cruise at the Port of Southampton, with a total of 600 cruise days in the port (489 cruise calls, with ships spending 111 days ‘alongside’ without passenger operations). The year saw eight plaque and key ceremonies to honour maiden calls from Azamara Onward, Celebrity Beyond, Silver Moon, Norwegian Prima, Aida Perla, Aida Cosma and Enchanted Princess. Most recently, the port celebrated welcoming P&O Cruises’ newest ship Arvia.
  • DP World’s container terminal at Southampton reported its greenest ever year in 2022 after delivering a 55% reduction in net carbon emissions from its fleet and installations.
  • A new five-year contract to manage Ventnor Harbour has been awarded by the Isle of Wight Council. From 1 April 2023, Ventnor Haven Management Ltd will operate all aspects of the harbour, including supervision, the collection of mooring fees, maintenance and the removal of seaweed.
  • Dredging of The Camber at Portsmouth is due to start this month. This work takes place every few years to make sure vessels can navigate safely.

 Recreation and Tourism 

  • The Countryside Code and its associated resources and guidance is now available online. It also applies to the coast.
  • The Angling Trust has launched a survey to get a better understanding of where anglers are fishing and awareness of invasive non-native species. Findings will be used to improve information on invasive species and invasive species prevention and control. https://surveymonkey.co.uk/r/amei2022.
  • The application window for the Coastal Fountain Fund is now open to applicants who want to install a water bottle refill station in a busy or environmentally important coastal location. Closing date 28th Feb 23.  Full details on how to apply at: https://sea-changers.org.uk/coastal-fountain-fund.
  • On 21 February a national online conference will take place to give an opportunity for site managers, conservationists/ecologists and recreation managers to hear the latest evidence around recreational disturbance and share experiences of managing people and places to minimise impacts on wildlife. Register your interest using: Microsoft Forms.
  • Year of the Coast 2023, is an initiative for everyone living, working and involved with the coast, including visitor-facing coastal businesses and destinations, to work together to promote this year as the Year of the Coast. There are toolkits and resources available to help with this promotion.
  • A coastal town in Cornwall has been awarded nearly £2m in funding to help it prepare for climate change. Bude and 10 surrounding parishes received the grant from the National Lottery’s climate action fund. The funding aims to build resilience (particularly in the tourism sector) against climate change and make Bude a “sustainable tourist destination.”
  • The Port of Southampton in the UK received 489 cruise calls during 2022, the port’s operator Associated British Ports has revealed. In total, teams supported 600 cruise days in Southampton, with ships spending an additional 111 days alongside without passenger operations.

 Water Quality

  • View the 2022 update to the river basin management plans which describe the challenges that threaten the water environment and how these challenges can be managed. The Solent lies in the Southeast Plan. Specific locations can be viewed on the interactive map.
  • Defra has published an unchanged set of final water targets to be delivered under the Environment Act 2021. The final water targets are: reduce nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment pollution from agriculture to the water environment by at least 40% by 2037 against a 2018 baseline. Reduce phosphorus loadings from treated wastewater by 80% by 2037 against a 2020 baseline. More details and interim targets will be set out in an Environmental Improvement Plan, due by the end of January 2023.
  • A new Environment Agency report looks at the sources and scale of plastics in the water environment, their impact, and how the issue is being tackled.
  • Government has agreed to make sustainable urban drainage systems (SuDS) mandatory for new developments in England.
  • More than 1,000 properties on the Isle of Wight could help in reducing storm overflows as Southern Water expands its roll-out of water butts by offering them to customers in Gurnard. It follows a successful trial in the village of Havenstreet last year on the Isle of Wight, which resulted in the local overflow going six months without releasing, despite a series of heavy storms.

 Consultations

  • BEIS are seeking views on a draft Appropriate Assessment of Likely Significant Effects Report for a review of consents for major energy infrastructure projects in light of new Special Protection Area nature conservation designations. Deadline 23 January.
  • Southern Water’s Water Resources Management Plan (southernwater.co.uk). Deadline 20 February 2023.
  • Marine Management Organisation is seeking views on a draft byelaw, and associated Impact Assessment, to manage fishing using bottom towed gear in 13 marine protected areas. This includes the Wight-Barfleur reef. Deadline 28 March.