Solent Protection Society submits evidence to the Landscape Review

In November 2018 the Government called for evidence to be submitted to the independent review of England’s National Parks (NPs) and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs). This is a brief summary of some of the key points SPS has made. The full submission can be found on the SPS website by selecting this link.

The Solent  Protection Society is primarily concerned with the shoreline and the view from the sea as it affects the National Parks, AONBs and the tidal river estuaries that make up the Solent from the Needles to Selsey Bill. We are concerned with the economic, social, leisure and environmental well-being of the Solent not just its appearance. Many of these aspects are interdependent and sometimes in conflict. The New Forest National Park and the AONBs on the north shore of the Isle of Wight and  in Chichester Harbour play a crucial role in safeguarding this special place and seascape.

The AONBs, however, hold less clout in the planning system than the National Park and in our view need strengthening to offset the pressure from development, particularly housing targets. The view from the sea is often not appreciated as much as it should be, particularly when this may be the only view that is easily gained of a densely wooded AONB, such as the north east shore of the Isle of Wight .

We have a concern that incremental enlargement of small scale houses and chalets or new builds which individually my not be great but cumulatively start to change the landscape is not sufficiently appreciated or controlled by local planning authorities. The effect on the AONB should have a greater priority in considering such applications.

In addition we would like to see the introduction of smaller area AONBs associated  with river valleys when viewed from the river or the opposite bank before such areas of important natural landscape are lost such as on the Hamble or the western shore of Southampton Water.

Finally Marine Plans in particular deliberately overlap land based plans and have a number of policies that have to be taken into account when considering changes to the landscape.  The difficulty with Marine Plans is deciding what weight to give to each policy in a particular circumstance. SPS considers that where NPs and  AONBs are concerned the protection of the landscape and seascape should be of a higher weighting and this needs to be endorsed by land based planning authorities and the Marine Management Organization.

Innovative sea defence repairs using ‘Concrete Canvas’

We are interested to note this piece from the Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership website.  Parts of the sea defences on the Warblington shore line, compromised during last winter’s storms, have been effectively repaired using a new technique.  IMG_5065

The repairs commenced on 1st August 2018 to the worst damaged sections of wall, where the concrete rendering had detached itself from the main wall structure and was laying on the foreshore of the harbour. The works were delivered by ESCP and were carried out by contractors Graham Attrill Civil Engineering Ltd., from the Isle of Wight on behalf of Havant Borough Council.

Within two weeks the works were completed using an innovative material called Concrete Canvas, used by Havant Borough Council for the first time. The Concrete Canvas was delivered to site as a roll of concrete impregnated fabric, which was cut to length and draped oIMG_5116ver the wall, allowing the fabric to follow the contours of the internal wall beneath. Once in place, the fabric was sprayed with freshwater to activate a concrete fibre embedded within.  The concrete fibre forms an impermeable, energy absorbing concrete casing, perfect for withstanding wave action. The material repaired the seawall and will protect the internal structure from further erosion.

Following completion of the works, ESCP staff will continue to monitor coastal structures within the harbour on an annual basis. This will help inform any future works and allow ESCP to identify changes in structure condition within the HBC borough.

(Information Source – Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership.)

Southsea Seafront consultation closes on the 27 August

The Southsea Coastal Scheme have had well over a thousand survey responses so far – but still want more.

You can view the consultation materials here. There is scheme visualisation on YouTube here with audio description. If you visited their events and want to jump straight to the survey, you can find it here.

Once the feedback has been analysed, a cross-party working group at Portsmouth City Council will review the evidence and make a decision on which options to take forward. The Southsea Coastal Scheme will hold further public exhibitions in early November, before seeking planning permission towards the end of this year. Residents will again be able to give feedback to the council at this stage.

The consultation closes at 11.59pm on Monday 27 August 2018.

The secret’s out!

Hampshire & Isle of Wight wildlife Trust has been awarded a £640,300 Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant through the National Lottery to deliver a new programme called ‘Secrets of the Solent’ (SOTS) over the next four years.

5.1 Secrets of the Solent PHOTO Seahorse and seagrass CREDIT Julie Hatcher
“Seahorse and Seagrass” © 2013 Julie Hatcher

Thousands of people live and work along the coast of the Solent, which supports important industries, fisheries and leisure businesses, and many more visit every year. Yet very few are aware of the incredible, hidden life under the surface, including beautiful seagrass meadows, chalk reefs, seahorses, thresher sharks and cuttlefish. Fewer still are aware of the threats that our Solent’s habitats and species face.

The aim of ‘Secrets of the Solent’ is to raise the profile, appreciation and understanding of the marine environment in the Solent, so that, in turn, its coastal communities can develop a sense of ownership, benefit and a desire to protect it. The project is in its initial phase at present. Secrets of the Solent will include the development of various creative ideas in order to build an understanding of the diversity and importance of the Solent’s marine wildlife. We are also trying to change public understanding of its locally-sourced seafood, and help increase the demand for those seafood species that are mainly sold abroad due to the lack of a market in this country. “Lives of the Solent” is part of the campaign that will bring an exhibition and photography project showcasing the lives and stories of those who work on the Solent.

One of the main ways the Trust is planning to achieve its aims is through creating the new role of a Marine Champion. Marine Champions are proactive, enthusiastic volunteers who want to give their time to inspire others to care for the Solent. Marine Champions will receive training to deliver a programme of inspirational and engaging marine activities that raise awareness about the importance of the marine life in the Solent. Secrets of the Solent will also be establishing a Marine Champion schools’ network in the years to come.

The Trust has already recruited Emily Stroud as Community Engagement officer for the project and look forward to welcoming its Project Manager, Rachel Bryan and Communications Officer, Sophie Evingar, at the beginning of October. Tim Ferrero, who has been working for the trust some years now, will be helping alongside the project as Marine Conservation Lead.

If you would like to find out more about the project  or would like to volunteer, please email Emily on