Solent Forum News – February 2023

The post below reproduces the content of the Solent Forum Newsletter emailed to the forum members in February 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 Communities
  6. Fisheries, Shellfisheries and Aquaculture
  7. Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management
  8. Grants, Jobs, Funding and Research
  9. Litter and Plastics
  10. Ports, Harbours and Shipping
  11. Recreation and Tourism
  12. Water Quality
  13. Consultations

 Archaeology and Heritage 

  • Read a blog from the Maritime Archaeology Trust that looks at whether shipwrecks are friend or foe to the natural environment.

Biodiversity and Conservation

Boating and Watersports

  • New legislation is being introduced to crack down on the dangerous misuse of watercraft such as jet skis, with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency being granted more powers to prosecute perpetrators of accidents. It will come into force on 31 March 2023, before the busy summer period and will enable watercraft users to be prosecuted and bound by the same laws that apply to ships in order to help to prevent accidents.

Business and Industry

  • The UK government’s decision to refuse permission for a £1.2bn electricity link between England and France has been overturned in the High Court. Aquind Ltd wants to lay cables through Portsmouth, Hampshire, to Normandy. The project is now expected to be referred back to the Business Secretary to make a final decision.
  • The Solent Freeport is consulting on two projects proposed to receive Seed Capital Funding – one for funding towards a new Solent Maritime Innovation Hub and one for enabling works at Fawley Waterside.
  • A £200m plan for a new waterfront development has been unveiled at Town Quay in Southampton. It would include restaurants, food halls, flats, a marina and hotel, as well as spa and conference facilities. A public consultation is expected to be undertaken in the next two months, with a planning application likely to be submitted later this year. The plans would not include the area occupied by the Red Funnel terminal, the Royal Pier and Mayflower Park.
  • Maritime UK Solent are surveying those who work in the maritime, or associated sectors in the Solent region, to collect views on the type of services, events and information that would be most useful to them. Have your say.
  • Did you know? Seafloor cables carry over 95% of all digital data traffic worldwide, including financial trading information and social media communications. This vast undersea network is designed to be as resilient as possible to natural hazards such as storms, earthquakes, and sea level rise.
  • Portsmouth International Port will accept an offer from Scottish and Southern Energy Network (SSEN) to secure extra power. In under two years they will be able to support multiple ships that have capacity to plug-in when they’re alongside the berth, reducing harmful emissions from running engines along with meeting net carbon neutral ambitions.

Coastal Communities

  • Clarence Pier in Portsmouth could see a redeveloped hovercraft terminal with check-in facilities for hovercraft travellers alongside visitor information and commercial space. Bus provision and other sustainable transport options would also form part of the scheme. Portsmouth City Council has set aside £50,000 for a feasibility assessment.
  • New waterfront housing development has been put on hold after concerns were raised about flooding. Housing association Vivid submitted plans for 835 homes in 11-storey tower blocks at Tipner East in Portsmouth. Portsmouth City Council deferred its planning decision after last-minute objections from the Environment Agency and flood management specialists.
  • The LGA Coastal SIG are working in partnership with the MMO and Defra marine licensing teams to develop more effective processes for coastal local councils.
  • Trinity House has joined with ferry operator Red Funnel to create a new joint venture as part of the Merchant Navy Scholarship Scheme.

Fisheries, Shellfisheries and Aquaculture

  • The Louisiana coastal wetlands are being washed away, leaving the region more vulnerable to hurricanes and flooding. Now, restaurants in New Orleans are recycling their oyster shells so they can be used to build sea walls.
  • On 30 November 2022, the APPG on Fisheries organised an event bringing together Parliamentarians, policymakers, fishing industry representatives, and other marine stakeholders to discuss challenges around marine spatial planning (MSP) and potential policy solutions. The resulting policy brief is out now.
  • Grants of up to £40,000 are on offer through £100m UK Seafood Fund to trial greener engine technology, helping to create a safe and sustainable fishing sector whilst tackling rising fuel costs.
  • The Fleet Modernisation round, part of the £100 million UK Seafood Fund, is now open for applications until 31st October 2023 to support the catching sector.

Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management

  • The Environment Agency have created a web page to provide easy access to information on the Embankment Road (Bembridge) project, one of four priority coastal defence projects on the Isle of Wight.

Grants, Jobs, Funding and Research

Litter and Plastics

Ports, Harbours and Shipping

  • A multi-million-pound Zero Emission Vessels and Infrastructure (ZEVI) competition, was launched on 6th February 2023. This will see companies apply for funding to decarbonise technology both on board and shoreside.
  • Associated British Ports has announced an agreement to acquire Solent Gateway Ltd the operator of Marchwood Port on Southampton Water. The agreement paves the way for development that would upgrade Marchwood’s capabilities as a defence facility serving the Ministry of Defence. The Marchwood site has the capability to support a range of vessels, 158 acres of space zoned for port-centric logistics and existing rail connectivity.
  • KHM have updated their small craft guide to Portsmouth Harbour.
  • More than 100 metres of worn-out rope, previously used to tie up Wightlink’s ferries at Lymington, have been handed over to Monkey World in Dorset. The surplus supplies will be used in the various enclosures to help the apes exercise.

Recreation and Tourism

  • Coast and Country Canines was created by Bird Aware Solent because of recreational disturbance to overwintering coastal birds. It seeks to champion responsible owners and inform people of the issue. 

Water Quality

  • More than 90 Gurnard residents were given updates about the Southern Water’s Sandown Pathfinder Project. The project has been set up by Southern Water’s Clean Rivers and Seas Task Force in partnership with Isle of Wight Council, the Environment Agency and Island Roads to tackle storm overflows and surface water flooding.
  • Portsmouth City Council has started seawater sampling. Officers will take regular samples at Southsea, Langstone Harbour and Portsmouth Harbour, to monitor water quality and track any changes.


  • Southern Water’s Water Resources Management Plan ( Deadline 20 February 2023.
  • Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is seeking views on a draft byelaw, and associated Impact Assessment, to manage fishing using bottom towed gear in 13 marine protected areas (MPAs). This includes the Wight-Barfleur reef. Deadline 28 March.