Solent News – October 2020

News relating to the Solent Area, edited from source material from the Solent Forum and members of the Solent Protection Society and its members.

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

Local News

Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is running Restart and Recovery & Kickstarting Tourism Grants. These have been created specifically to help SMEs in the Solent LEP area to adapt and diversify in response to the impacts of coronavirus, with at least £157,000 ring-fenced to support the visitor economy.

Read the latest edition of Chichester Harbour Conservancy’s publication ‘Harbour Life’

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is launching four new itineraries from Portsmouth, on their ship Balmoral.  Passengers sail along the Seine, search for the Northern lights, visit the Canaries or Christmas markets in Germany.

Cowes Harbour Commission has confirmed that after over 20 years as CEO/Harbour Master, Captain Stuart McIntosh is planning to retire in 2021. The Board of Commissioners will split his combined role of Harbour Master and Chief Executive Officer. This move will see the progression of Deputy Harbour Master Marine Services, Ed Walker, to the role of Cowes Harbour Master with responsibility for the safety and security of the Trust Port.

Listen to a podcast on ‘Oysters in the Solent – cleaning up our waters’ by Dr. Joanne Preston.

A new Economic Recovery Plan sets out how the Solent LEP, working with other local partners, will bring forward actions and interventions to help our region respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Portsmouth Water is offering a grant scheme from 2020 to 2025 for environmental improvements. The biodiversity fund is to the value of £250,000 (£50,000 per annum over 5 years).

A £10 million investment is set to see Ryde Pier’s redundant tram line transformed into a dedicated cycle and pedestrian walkway. It comes following a successful bid to the government’s Transforming Cities Fund (TCF) by the Isle of Wight Council. The proposals include the regeneration of the town’s transport interchange with improvements for pedestrians and cyclists along the entire length of Ryde Esplanade to Appley.

Portsmouth University scientists who re-engineered the plastic-eating enzyme PETase have now created an enzyme ‘cocktail’ which can digest plastic up to six times faster.

Henry VIII’s flagship the Mary Rose has received £250,000 of National Lottery funding to help it survive “financial peril” caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Registration is now open for the National Oceanography Centre’s Marine Autonomy & Technology Showcase (MATS 2020), which will be held as a virtual event for the first time from 10 to 12 November.

The ‘winter season’ has officially started for the Bird Aware rangers and they we will be heading out for their first site visits around the Solent. In a new blog post meet this year’s three seasonal rangers.

Dorset Council are advertising two posts within Dorset Councils Urban Heath Partnership focussed on mitigating recreational effects from increased residential development on Poole Harbour SPA.

One year ago, the Help Our Kelp Partnership was formed with the aim of regenerating the much depleted West Sussex kelp forests.

Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust has been given a grant of £698,600 to continue to maintain their historically important buildings and boats, and keep open the doors of the International Boat Training College.

The Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership has been renamed ‘Coastal Partners’. The new web address is:https://coastalpartners.org.uk/. Their 2020 Annual Report is available here. They have also published the Langstone Alternative Alignment Options report.

Notice has been given by the Queen’s Harbour Master Portsmouth that small arms firings at Tipner Range have permanently ceased, the Danger Area in Portchester Lake and associated measures are now rescinded.

There has been a huge arrival of Brent geese from their arctic breeding grounds to Chichester Harbour.

Buckler’s Hard Yacht Harbour on the Beaulieu River has been nominated for Marina of the Year in The British Yachting Awards 2020, as the second phase of its £2m redevelopment is about to get underway.

Bird Aware Solent has been presented by the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment (IEMA) with a prestigious environmental award. They won their category for effective planning and a strategic vision in protecting local nature reserves, while also engaging with policymakers, local government, and housing developments.

Hampshire County Council, Portsmouth City Council and the Isle of Wight Council have jointly secured nearly £56 million from the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund for new infrastructure to improve the way people travel around South East Hampshire and the Isle of Wight by foot, bicycle, or bus.

When evading predators and hunting prey, stealth is often key. Luckily our marine life has lots of cunning ways to hide in plain sight, from changing colour to self-decoration. Read a fascinating blog from the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.

Plans to build new homes on greenfield land at Newport Harbour have been reconsidered by the Isle of Wight Council.

The redundant tramway on Ryde Pier looks set to be transformed into a dedicated cycle and pedestrian walkway as part of a multi-million pound package of active travel and public transport improvements.

Portsmouth has welcomed Galicia, Brittany Ferries’ brand-new ship serving routes to Spain and France. She will undertake berthing trials in port before her entry into service for passengers in December 2020.

Southern Water’s Unflushables team visited the Isle of Wight to help prevent blockages of wet wipes, fat, oil, grease and other nasties. The team knocked on 258 doors in total, and more than 130 manhole covers were lifted between two of its pumping stations at Main Road, Ryde. Material clogging up its pumping stations was also removed. Unblocktober is the world’s first month-long national campaign and awareness month to improve the health of our drains, sewers, watercourses and seas.

Lymington Harbour are seeking to appoint a Harbour Commissioner with current experience of commercial operations within the leisure marine and/or commercial marine industries.

On 8 October, RRS Discovery sailed from Southampton to the Iceland Basin and Rockall Trough, as part of a research expedition aimed at enhancing understanding of the role of this critical part of the ocean in the climate and weather in Europe and the Arctic.

The fifth and final of Britain’s next-generation patrol ships will make her debut in Portsmouth before the end of the month after successful trials. HMS Spey is undergoing fine-tuning and final tweaks following an intense ten-day workout around the Firth of Clyde and waters of western Scotland before preparing for a long-term mission thousands of miles from the UK.

Southampton is bidding to become UK City of Culture 2025.

The 59th Annual General Meeting of Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust is to be held online via Zoom, on Tuesday 10 November 2020 at 7pm – 9pm.

Southern IFCA members decided at their September Authority meeting to apply the Temporary Closure Byelaw to all native oyster beds in the Solent, Southampton Water, Portsmouth & Langstone Harbour for the 2020/2021 season. Chichester Harbour oyster beds will also not be opening for the 2020 dredging season.

National News

The Environment Agency has set out new information and methods to understand the possible impacts of a changing climate on deterioration of flood defence assets. 

The MMO is recruiting for a Head of Marine Conservation. Apply by taking this link.

Government has published UK sea fisheries annual statistics report 2019.

Running from 2016 – 2020, The USAR project aims to introduce a resource-efficient approach based on the potential for re-use of dredged sediments in a number of novel applications.

A webinar, to show how coastal resilience to flood and erosion hazard could be measured and applied within policy-making processes, using England as a case study, is being held on 28 October. Register at this link.

The ban on supplying plastic straws and stirrers and plastic-stemmed cotton buds came into force in England on 1 October.

The government has a new Port Infrastructure Fund as part of the preparations for life outside the European Union. The scheme will enable ports in England, Scotland and Wales to bid funding for capital projects for infrastructure that will be used to accommodate new customs and border process in 2021.

Ecostructure are studying eco-sensitive designs on artificial coastal structures (harbours, seawalls, breakwaters) along the Irish Sea coast. Watch a video here.

The final report for the Pembrokeshire Coasts ‘Surveying the Waterway Environment for Pollution Threats Volunteer Project 2018-19’ can be viewed by taking the link.

Natural England has published its priorities for Nature recovery, for 2020 to 2025. One objective is to establish marine by-laws which protect and improve the environment in Marine Protected Areas by working with marine regulating authorities, and advising Defra on how to reach Good Environmental Status.

Cefas has new kit to detect microplastics. They are able to detect microplastics in marine samples using FTIR imaging microscopes as small as 5 micrometres.

Local leaders from all around the country have co-signed a letter calling on the Chancellor to invest £1bn in the maritime sector to kick-start a world-leading maritime decarbonisation programme, creating tens of thousands of new green jobs as part of a green industrial revolution.

The organisers of the Coastal Futures conference and Restoring Estuarine and Coastal Habitats (REACH) project have joined with World Wildlife Fund-UK to develop a major online conference. This will take place from January 19th to the 21st, 2021. There will be 12-15 sessions covering a wide range of major themes that relate to the way we are intending to restore and recover our coastal and marine environment. If you have any agenda suggestions please take this link to email the organisers.

Watch a video on how eco-engineering can improve biodiversity on concrete coastal protection structures.

JNCC have published UK biodiversity indicators for 2020, take the link to view.

A three-year project funded by the Natural Environment Research Council aims to assess how tyre particles, as a form of marine litter, affect our seas and the species within them. Bringing together the Universities of Plymouth, Exeter and Newcastle, together with Plymouth Marine Laboratory, the research will aim to quantify tyre particle concentrations at their points of entry to the marine environment. It will then explore how far they can spread, and any harm they might cause, by measuring concentrations in the sediment, water and biota up to 15km from the shoreline.

The Swiss scooter pioneer Micro Mobility Systems is launching a sustainable children’s scooter line that uses recycled ocean plastic. The new Micro ECO kids’ scooters will be available in over 80 countries from January 2021.

The UK’s first sea-going electric ferry has set sail for the first time in Plymouth. The e-Voyager is the result of a project designed to reduce the environmental impact of maritime transport.

On 20 November, join experts for a webinar to share the latest scientific evidence on the relationships between blue spaces, health and wellbeing in Europe. The team will also highlight how the quality of blue spaces can be measured and improved to address health inequalities and environmental challenges, both now and in the future.

ABPmer was recently commissioned by Natural Resources Wales to understand the role marine habitats play in climate change mitigation. The study confirmed that marine habitats in Wales, such as saltmarshes and seagrass beds, can lock up huge amounts of carbon every year; the volume of carbon they can store is similar to those of terrestrial areas such as the Welsh woodlands and forests.

Consultations

In 2016 Solent Gateway Limited (SGL) was awarded a 35 year concession by the Ministry of Defence to manage, operate and develop Marchwood Port on the River Test.   SGL is consulting with the local community and stakeholders on its emerging plans for Marchwood Port from 10 September to 23 October 2020

Portsmouth City Council’s Planning Service has now prepared the draft Seafront Masterplan SPD for consultation.  The updated Seafront Masterplan SPD sets out a vision for Southsea seafront, providing planning guidance, identifying development opportunities, and highlighting elements of the seafront that should be enhanced and conserved. Deadline is 30 October.

Defra is seeking views on the updated marine monitoring programmes for the state of the UK’s seas for each of the UK Marine Strategy descriptors. The consultation document sets out the monitoring programmes it proposes to use to measure  progress towards Good Environmental Status across biodiversity, productivity, and pressures in UK seas; it notes the progress made since Part Two was originally published in 2014; and identifies the gaps and opportunities to address in the near future. Deadline is 17 November.

Havant Borough Council is reviewing the rules for dogs in designated public places and wants to hear from residents. A public consultation has been launched to seek resident’s views on plans to continue the current Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) for dogs on beaches and in parks and open spaces in the borough. Deadline is 27 November.

Participate in the South Marine Plans monitoring survey by 15 December,

Solent Marine License Applications

Visit: https://marinelicensing.marinemanagement.org.uk/mmofox5/fox/live/ to find the detail and status of a marine licence application and type in the case reference number.

Licence Applications Open for Public Consultation:·        None reported.

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

  • Minor Amendment to Layout of Town Quay Fishing Boat Pontoon Moorings.  Case reference:  MLA/2020/00292.
  • General enquiry – Construction, 14-20 Quayside Road, Southampton. Case reference: ENQ/2020/00121.

Wildlife Applications

None reported.

SPS Article in ‘The Yachter’ – Autumn 2020

The following article written by our Chairman, David Sizer, appears in the Autumn edition of ‘The Yachter’, the house magazine of the Royal Southampton Yacht Club.

The Solent Protection Society (SPS) is a registered charity which was established over sixty years ago at the time when controversially, a Nuclear Power Station had been proposed in Newtown Creek. The Solent is constantly under huge pressure from shipping, leisure and development along its shoreline.

The aim of the Society is to protect the Solent and its environment for future generations and our interest extends from the Needles Channel to Selsey Bill, just to the East of Chichester Harbour, including the adjoining rivers and estuaries. Our membership includes individuals, clubs and other stakeholder organisations led by our Council, many of whom have particular expertise and professional interests relevant to our purpose.

Having originated as a protest group, our activities have, over the years, developed to provide independent and constructive advice, together with observations in the best interests of preserving the natural environment of the Solent. Our observations and reports are forwarded to an increasing number of central and local government organisations and quangos which plan the future of our shores. We always aim for constructive engagement rather than simply raising objections.

Hurst Castle

SPS has, for example, been involved in the consultation processes that led to the designation of Marine Conservation Zones for the protection of our most important wild-life habitats. SPS has also made representations to the various Local councils involved, Natural England and the Government on the creation and routing of our local Coastal Paths, all of which have now been published for consultation, except for a small part of the Northeast coast of the Isle of Wight.

We are pleased to say that many of our comments have been taken into account in the final plans so far published. SPS has a particular interest in protecting our coastline from unsightly development and from time to time submit comment and when necessary, objections, to Planning Authorities when visual intrusion could and should be avoided.

The Solent Protection Society has frequently been invited to join consultation groups on various projects in the Solent and currently we are represented on the panels of six different local groups. It is interesting to look back through our records to discover how many years we have been pressing relevant authorities on such topics as marine pollution and the management of waste both of which, today, have a high profile. Back in 2005, after a long crusade, SPS was successful in persuading the oil companies using the Solent waters to use only double hull tankers, significantly diminishing the possibility of an oil spoil in the Solent, which would of course, have had devastating consequences. Pollution remains high on our list of priorities particularly to ensure that foul water discharge does not contaminate our rivers and coasts. We are pleased to see that Planning Authorities are now required to pay particular attention to this in regard to new housing developments, but we will continue to monitor the situation closely. From our own observations and reports made to us, there has been a notable improvement in water clarity since the Covid-19 pandemic and following the closure of harbours and marinas and a reduction in commercial traffic. We are awaiting the result of tests measuring water quality itself to see if this has improved during “lockdown”. This may present some guidance as to how water quality can be improved and a consequential enhancement of the prospects for marine life.

New proposals have been submitted for the redevelopment of Fawley Power Station. This is a major scheme and, although we still have some reservations, we are pleased to see that some of the observations we have made on the earlier application have been addressed. This project will take many years to complete and will have a longstanding impact on the shoreline.

Erosion of Hurst Spit – Undercutting the foundations of Hurst Castle

Another potentially long running saga will be the work needed to address the erosion on Hurst Spit and consequent damage to the Castle. The Society has been invited to join a discussion group that is intended to develop proposals for the future of Hurst Spit together with the coastline through to Lymington. This is of great importance, not only for the Spit but also for the protection of the salt marshes and birdlife. We are pleased to see that essential preservation work to secure the Castle is now well under way.

Two other concerns that have been drawn to our attention within the last couple of months; firstly, the use, or misuse, of the shore line by commercial shellfish diggers, reports have been made to the Environmental Health teams at Portsmouth and Farnham. The second is the increasing use of recreational craft, such as jetskis and paddleboards which enable easy access to previously undisturbed shores with consequent disturbance to bird and other wildlife. Of particular concern is Gull Island at the entrance to the Beaulieu River. Income raised by SPS is used for such recent causes as supporting PhD students in their maritime research, the restoration of Yarmouth Pier and the Maritime Archaeology Trust, who have discovered two areas of Mesolithic Settlement dating from 8,000 years ago at Bouldnor Cliff on the Isle of Wight. This incredible discovery was made following an inspection along the eroding edge of the drowned forest at Bouldnor Cliff which now lies 11m underwater.

Society Members are invited to hear monthly talks on subjects of interest within the Solent area; these have recently included the development of Fawley New Town, Bembridge Harbour and re-establishment of our Native Solent oyster fisheries by the Blue Marine Foundation. We are dependent on our members for the continuation of our work, so should you wish to learn more about, or join the Solent Protection Society, please visit our website.

David Sizer – Chairman, SPS

Reproduced by permission of the Royal Southampton Yacht Club.

Protesters line shoreline in Portsmouth to oppose Aquind cable plans

Story from the Portsmouth News, October 10th 2020

More than 150 people have lined the shoreline in Portsmouth to show plans for a massive electricity infrastructure project in the area will be met with stiff resistance.

Aquind aims that undersea cables will run ashore in Eastney as part of a £1.2bn project connecting the electricity grids of France and England. Fears that the project will damage wildlife habitats and hinder access to allotments led to more than 150 people showing their opposition with a static and socially distanced protest along the shoreline today.

According to one of the protest’s organisers, Linda Spence, residents were not properly consulted on the plans, which remain unclear.

Linda Spence, one of the organisers of the protest.

The Eastney resident, who helped set up the Facebook page Let’s Stop Aquind, has warned that residents who could become ‘militant’ if their concerns are not addressed. She said: ‘I don’t know if I will have an allotment after April.

‘I would be devastated if I lost it.

‘Some people have talked about occupying the site. I’m not saying the whole group would do that, but I would be willing to do that.’

An aerial drone shot of protestors who are angry about the Aquind interconnector plan

Picture: Solent Sky Services

A drone flew over the protest to help demonstrate the size of the resistance to the plans, with Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan – who attended the event – saying it was ‘humbling’ to see so many Portsmouth residents demonstrating their opposition.

He said: ‘Portsmouth’s green and open spaces are precious.

‘The developer’s plans do nothing to benefit our city, only cause disruption to our environment and to our daily lives.

‘Together we can, and we will, stop this.’

It comes as The News has revealed that Portsmouth City Council has earmarked £250,000 to fight the scheme.

Councillor Matthew Winnington, who represents the Eastney & Craneswater ward, is concerned that building work for the scheme will close Fort Cumberland Road, causing ‘huge disruption’ for residents.

Cllr Winnington said: ‘It’s a mess of a scheme, and it seems to have been done with next to no consultation.

‘It makes no sense for the cables to come ashore here – it’s being done purely for convenience for a massive company.’ Conservatives from Portsmouth City Council were also at the protest. The Planning Inspectorate is due to hold a public hearing on the project in December.

Fawley New Town

View of the site from the west

In the Autumn 2018 issue of the Society’s Newsletter we reported on the proposal to build a new town at Fawley on Southampton Water. This article is an update of developments since then. This is perhaps the most important development on the shores of the Solent this century and as such it is receiving close scrutiny from The Solent Protection Society. The new small town would be built on the site of the Fawley Power Station, which was closed in 2013. This is a brown field site but it is surrounded by the New Forest National Park and a small part of the scheme would be on National Park land.

The developer, Fawley Waterside Ltd., applied to both New Forest District Council and to New Forest National Park in May 2019 for Outline Planning Approval. The two applications are being considered together. NFDC invited comments by 31 August. Full details of the Plans, responses by interested parties, and comments from official bodies including local authorities and government departments are to be found on the NFDC Planning department website: at the last count there were 406 documents. NFDC had originally hoped to make a determination by 31 August but need more time and have now agreed with the developers to an extension of the time to 15 January 2019. Even when NFDC have made their determination the scheme might need to be referred to the Secretary of State for a potential call-in.

Illustrative view of Fawley Waterside across Southampton Water

We, Solent Protection Society, submitted our response on 27 August. Of course we have concentrated on those aspects of the plan which directly affect the Solent, such as view from the sea, and possible effects of pollution of the sea and of the Solent air.  The full text of our response is reproduced here.

“Dear Sirs,

These comments are from the Solent Protection Society (SPS) which exists to protect the Solent and its tidal rivers and estuaries for future generations.  The comments are primarily directed at the element of the scheme within the control of NFDC however we have copied them to NFNP as that aspect of the scheme in the national park, while of less concern to SPS, is an integral part of the whole and does have some impact on the waterfront.

SPS is generally supportive of the planning policies laid down by both NFDC and NFNP, however, we are concerned that aspects of the proposals that front the waterside do not adequately meet some of those policies.

In particular:

  1. We consider that the size and scale of the buildings fronting the water, being much further forward than the former power station could be over dominant, with no landscape mitigation and will be unacceptable when viewed from Southampton Water. They do not sufficiently ‘scale down in density towards the water front’ as set out in policy ii a).
  2. We consider that the light pollution from these building will be to the detriment of the marine environment and have a far greater impact than the existing power station.
  3. We would expect to see the waterfront buildings set  further back with extensive tree planting in front to mitigate the impact and enhance the coastal margin, the coastal path and the proposed ‘Solent Promenade’.
  4. We would remind NFDC and NFNP that there is a real risk of storm water overflows from the proposed sewerage system and we would expect to see this fully mitigated with complete separation of storm and foul water and full storage capacity for foul water to prevent any storm discharge of foul water into Southampton Water or the Western Solent. Petrol interceptors to all roads and parking areas should be provided before discharge of storm water. Such storage capacity should not rely on Southern Water.
  5. We would expect to see regular monitoring reports on water quality adjoining outfalls and in the salt marshes as a legal condition of any approval with adequate penalties for any breach of EA standards and that this applies both during demolition and construction as well as in the future once the development is complete.
  6. We would expect any approval to condition by legal agreement any dredging activity and to ensure that there was beneficial use of dredging to replenish the salt marshes.
  7. While not of direct concern to SPS we note that the infrastructure of roads in particular will be seriously impacted by the size of this development and that more extensive works than those proposed will be needed if it is not to cause serious congestion and further pollution to the north.
  8. We would expect the scheme to include mitigation of climate change and for a substantial proportion of the development to be to Passive House standards.
  9. The proposal is likely to substantially increase the footfall on the coastal path and we would expect to see moneys from planning obligations directed to ensuring that the coastal margin and the many protected areas in the vicinity falling as spreading room, whether or not there is a Section 26 notice, are adequately protected by fencing to restrict both pedestrian and dog access in particular.
  10. We note the National Grid building on the waterfront is to remain which is a pity as it will assume a greater prominence and has no merit in the landscape. Planting in front of this would be of assistance in mitigating the impact.
  11. We have not been able to find a specific reference to the ‘view from the sea’ which is critical from the busy shipping lane of Southampton Water. It may be in the documents somewhere but we would expect to see a photomontage of the view from Southampton Water superimposed on the existing buildings and including the National Grid building and the landscape to the south. Only then will it be possible to really judge the scale and mass of the proposals.”

The Principal Development Management Officer of NFDC, Mr Ian Rayner, has written to Deloitte, the agent of Fawley Waterside Ltd, to set out the latest position of the Local Planning Authority on their application proposals, and has published his letter on the NFDC website. It is 12 pages long so we will not reproduce it here, but pick out the points which may be of most interest to SPS members:-

He says:

  1. we do need to have a clear understanding of the scheme’s viability”.
  2. “The south-east corner of block 11 extends very close to the harbour entrance and ought to have a greater setback.”
  3. “In my view, 3 of the landmark buildings are of particular concern. The 98 metre high tower would be a very significant building. It seems that the driver for the height of this landmark building is to provide a structure that is visible from both ends of the Solent. I don’t believe this should be the overriding driver for determining the height of this building. The key objective should be to design a landmark building of a scale that is appropriate to the new townscape and to its location on the edge of the National Park, which I think could be equally achieved by a lower building.”
  4. “The 49 metre high landmark building in the site’s north-west corner is set fairly close to the taller 98 metre high landmark building. We need to see clearer images of how this tower would work in proximity to the larger tower, but together I do feel that these 2 landmark buildings would present too dominant an edge to this part of the development.”
  5. “The 56 metre high crystal tower has been designed to reflect the glass end of the existing power station building. However, it has been confirmed that it would not be viable to rebuild the existing structure and that the proposed new building would therefore need to be built with new materials… I think this building, as proposed, is inappropriate.”
  6. “In the light of the Environment Agency’s response, we would ask you to clarify the detail behind the foul drainage proposals, and to confirm what discharge consents are being utilised for these works.”
  7. “As set out in Natural England’s response, you need to better demonstrate how nutrient neutrality will be secured. This a critical matter, and unless you can demonstrate that nutrient neutrality will be achieved, it will not be possible to grant planning permission.”
  8. “In their consultation response, our Environmental Health team have asked that you provide additional information in order to clarify the development’s potential impact on air quality, as well as to ensure that future occupants have an appropriate quality living environment. I would ask that you respond to the specific questions that have been raised.”
  9. Our Environmental Health team have also posed a number of questions relating to noise and lighting (aside from the noise concerns raised earlier in this letter). Again, I would ask that you provide additional information to address the concerns that have been raised.”

We believe that, if approved, this project is likely to take about 10 years to complete. We intend to keep members up to date by reporting on progress in future SPS newsletters and on the SPS website.

Fawley Waterside and Calshot development plans

A major development is being planned on the site of the Fawley Power Station by a new company, Fawley Waterside Ltd. The company has ambitious plans to create a new small model town, with echoes of Poundbury, the prettiest New Forest Villages, and Old Lymington, with about 1500 homes. There will be a marina accessible from the Solent 24/7. They also plan to build an Hotel, a Yacht Club, shops and restaurants and marine industries, with the objective of creating more than 2000 jobs in the new community.

Proposed site plan for Fawley Waterside and Calshot Village

Work has already started on demolition of the old power station structures and the iconic chimney, which can be seen from most of the Solent, is to be removed. In its place, Fawley Waterside propose to construct a glass tower 100m high, subject to grant of approval for an outline planning application yet to be submitted. We will bring you details of this application when available.

Artist impression of the ‘canal side’ development and glass tower

The same development company are also planning to build 30 new homes in nearby Calshot village. Both projects are described in brochures published by Fawley Waterside Ltd., all of which can be accessed and downloaded by selecting this link. The link will take you to an index page for all documents published by the developer. Their recently published Calshot Village Exhibition brochure provides a high level summary of both projects.

Solent Protection Society is keeping a very close eye on these projects: we aim to influence the plans to help to achieve a development of which the Solent community can be proud and which enhances our environment.

Coastal Squeeze and Rollback

It is generally accepted that sea-levels are rising in Britain, although there are many opinions about the causes and the rates. Most scientists believe that the rate of sea-level rise has already accelerated and will continue to do so until levels of atmospheric carbon-dioxide start to be reduced.

Regardless of the cause or rate of sea-level rise the effects are the same, in a natural system land is “lost” and becomes sea. With a high coastline this manifests itself as erosion of the cliffs, but with a gently rising coastline the result is a slow movement of the shoreline inland – so over time a particular piece of land will change from dry land to shoreline shingle or mud, then foreshore and eventually to sea. The rate of change will depend on sea-level rise, but also on how “dynamic” the environment – how exposed it is to tide and waves.

In the case of a defended coastline if defences are maintained and increased to take into account the sea-level rise (Hold the Line in SMP’s etc) this results in the seaward side of the defence continuing to develop naturally – ie change from foreshore to sea, but the landward side remains the same. The result, known as “Coastal Squeeze” is that the foreshore (Sand, shingle or salt-marsh) is slowly lost together with the natural transition zone from land to sea.

The habitats of these ephemeral transition zones are both rare and important and as a result many are designated under international, European and National designations which require them to be protected.

We are very fortunate locally as the New Forest Coastline contains some of few areas where there is natural gently rising coastline. This is rare, particularly in Southern England, where most of coastline is heavily managed and defended to provide flood and erosion protection. These areas show a natural graduation from farmland, often to a narrow strip of woodland, then to a foreshore, often with the remains of fallen trees, to foreshore and salt-marsh.

The narrow strip of woodland provides a unique habitat, and the tree-roots will slow, and control the rate erosion. The fallen trees also provide a unique habitat and make the shoreline interesting and very different from most other places.

Within the Solent Protection Society we believe that these unique habitats should be maintained, by natural processes, and that they cannot be maintained by traditional engineering works. The most effective way to maintain the habitat is to allow natural roll-back. This should be done by allowing natural regeneration of indigenous vegetation, particularly woodland, along a margin between farmland and the coastal strip.

We would welcome members opinion of how these habitats should be managed and whether this should be funded by public authorities, or whether the landowner should be expected to manage appropriately.

Marine Licensing Applications – 31st December 2018

The December 31st SPS summary of Marine Licensing activity applicable to the Solent area can be found by taking this link.

The update post displays a list of applications published by the Marine Management Organisation since the last SPS summary update issued, and project background for those applications open for public consultation.

Applications for burial of human remains at sea are not included.

If an application is of particular interest to you, take a note of the application number and enter it into the MMO Public Register to view the detail on the register.  For guidance on how to access and search the MMO Public Register, please follow this link.

 

 

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.

Marine Licensing Applications – 3rd December 2018

The December 3rd SPS summary of Marine Licensing activity applicable to the Solent area can be found by taking this link.

The update post displays a list of applications published by the Marine Management Organisation since the last SPS summary update issued, and project background for those applications open for public consultation.

Applications for burial of human remains at sea are not included.

If an application is of particular interest to you, take a note of the application number and enter it into the MMO Public Register to view the detail on the register.  For guidance on how to access and search the MMO Public Register, please follow this link.

 

 

Marine Licensing Applications – 30th October 2018

The October 30th SPS summary of Marine Licensing activity applicable to the Solent area can be found by taking this link.

The update post displays a list of applications published by the Marine Management Organisation since the last SPS summary update issued, and project background for those applications open for public consultation.

Applications for burial of human remains at sea are not included.

If an application is of particular interest to you, take a note of the application number and enter it into the MMO Public Register to view the detail on the register.  For guidance on how to access and search the MMO Public Register, please follow this link.