Annex to the report on changes to the South Marine Plan

Following on from our report on the South Marine Plan becoming law, we have made further analysis of the detail.  In brief the changes on which SPS may have had some influence would seem to be:

  1. Vision amended to be more relevant to SMP area. (Vision)
  2. More information on the Coastal Concordant. This may relate to our concern that local authority boundaries in the Solent did not meet up. (General considerations)
  3. Additional text on monitoring. (We had suggested 3 years was too frequent)
  4. Wording on aquaculture to define it as ‘sustainable’ not just any aquaculture. (Obj 1)
  5. No restriction on dredging for ports and harbours. We were concerned there should be no extraction in the Solent. (Obj 1)
  6. Wording to make clear that land based infrastructure must be ‘appropriate’. (Obj 2)
  7. Wording on employment to make clear the skills and activities to be supported. (Obj 4)
  8. The words ‘enhance and promote’ related to Marine Protected Areas. We had been concerned that these do not displace traditional use so may be the reverse of our comment, though from an ecological point of view we would support it. (Obj 5)
  9. Climate change defined as ‘greenhouse gas emissions.’ We had asked for clarification in the technical annex. (Obj 7)
  10. We had asked for the view from the sea to be specifically stated however the wording has not been changed. (Obj 9)
  11. MPAs. Wording added to ‘enhance and promote’ and to ensure boundaries can be changed until such time as all Marine Conservation Zones are confirmed. (Obj 10)
  12. Reference to the government’s litter strategy added. (Obj 11)
  13. Some ‘enhance’ text added on biodiversity though no specific mention of salt marshes as we had suggested. (Obj 12)
  14. Support for re-use of material. (Obj 12)
  15. More emphasis on water quality and moved to be under Obj 11 to add weight. (Obj 12)
  16. More strength and clarification given on the use of the hierarchical format of a) to c) or d). for each policy. We were concerned that the weighting appeared equal and in certain cases considered more emphasis should be given to avoid.

The South Marine Plan finally becomes law

In July 2018 the government finally approved the draft South Marine Plan (SMP) on which The Solent Protection Society (SPS) and many others had commented in early 2017 and which was covered in last year’s newsletter.1.1 South Marine Plan PHOTO of Southampton Docks

With the final plan, the Marine Management Organisation also published a Modifications report, setting out the changes that had been made in the light of the comments made.

Overall, as expected, there has been no significant change to the 12 main objectives or the 50+ individual policies. There has, however, been a change in emphasis or clarification on about 20 of the policies and on 7 of the general principles such as the Vision and the relationship to land based plans.

Eighty one organisations or individuals commented, generating over 1500 comments. Of these 81 organisations, some 50% came from 21 local authorities, 12 Ports and Shipping and 9 NGOs. We assume SPS was counted as an NGO but no breakdown is given.

We were asked to agree, or agree with comment, or disagree, with the 75 questions asked about the objectives and policies. Overall the percentage of respondents answering yes, no or no comment showed 58% agreed, 18% agreed subject to comment, 6% disagreed and 18 % gave no response.

In SPS’s case we agreed with 43% of the policies and commented on 57%. We did not disagree with any, nor did we not respond to any question.

This perhaps reflects the fact SPS has a broad range of interests in the SMP area, whereas many organisations are from a particular sector and focus. For example, referring to the second reference below, it is not clear exactly what the pie chart is showing… is it the % of respondents or the % of questions answered in a particular way.  So did we have any influence?

It is difficult to say as there is no direct correlation and the modifications report does not show the exact changes to wording on each policy. This requires a detailed-reading of the final Plan itself and the Technical Annex.

We had sought to make the vision more relevant to the Solent area and while supporting aquaculture we did not want a free for all. In both cases there have been changes of emphasis.

Other policies on which we may have helped to get a change in emphasis related to land based infrastructure, support for small scale marine industries, litter prevention, bio diversity and water quality.

The South Marine Plan is now an important consideration for both Marine Licence applications and land-based planning applications on the coastline of the UK. Any application must be judged against the policies in the plan and if it cannot comply fully, must demonstrate how it mitigates the impact. If this is insufficient then it is likely to be refused.

Judgement on Marine Licence applications falls to the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) in consultation with various statutory bodies and government departments. The public can also comment, although the process of finding out about applications is not as easy as it should be.

Within its area of concern SPS now monitors all applications monthly and more information can be found elsewhere on this site.

The South Marine Plan can be found at this link.

The Modifications report can be viewed by selecting this link.

New Hamble homes

NE Hamble, planning permission granted for 500 homes. The treated sewerage will now go into a brook running into the Hamble, however, the query has been raised regarding the potential failure of the proposed water treatment plant.  Botley Parish Council have requested Government intervention.

SPS will write to Botley PC to share their concerns and also to River Hamble Authority to ensure they have knowledge of this.

 

Bembridge, Red Funnel and the Coast Path

At the June SPS Council meeting, the Isle of Wight representative reported on Woodside Bay, namely the development next to it.  SPS had objected to the unlawful certificate which had been applied for.  No decision yet made.

Bembridge Harbour had produced a final Section 106 Agreement.

Red Funnel had applied for Planning Permission for the new commercial ferry and ground investigation had started.

The Coastal Path consultation would not be published until the end of 2018.

ABP Southampton Port Master Plan 2016-2035

One of the most high-profile campaigns that the Society ever fought was its vigorous opposition at the beginning of this century to Associated British Ports’ planning application to develop land at Dibden Bay in Southampton Water in order to expand its port facilities. The Society gave evidence at the long-running Enquiry and was greatly relieved when the Inspectors recommended rejection of the application and this recommendation was accepted by the Government.

It appears that ABP has never given up hope that it might one day be able to carry out the plan  which was rejected in 2002  and has recently published a consultation document entitled ‘ABP Southampton Port Master Plan 2016-2035 Consultation Draft’ .This wide-ranging paper running to some 50 odd  pages raises the idea in a section of it that ABP,  in  order to remain competitive in the 21st Century and in order to advance the economic well-being of the Country , must look at developing its land frontage at Dibden Bay.

Ranging as it does over a period of 20 years , the consultation document gives no detail of what is proposed but merely outlines what ABP thinks the future holds for them and the Port of Southampton and how its needs might be met. The document invites comment on its content and Solent Protection Society has been alert in submitting some preliminary observations. In summary , SPS has informed ABP that since its principles remain as they were in 2002 , the Society would scrutinise any plans in the light of those principles and would be ready to object to any proposals which were in conflict with the grounds which it relied upon at the public enquiry in 2002 . Those grounds cover the well-recognised areas of interest for SPS including the adverse effects on the seascape , the local water wild-life and the leisure activities ,in particular boating in the area.

It may well be months if not years before ABP translate their ambitions into concrete proposals but SPS has put down its marker and will develop its arguments as the need arises. SPS will examine any proposals on their merits and be constructive in its representations and comments. It will seek to co-operate with other organisations and groups where there is common interest in the ABP proposals. It is easy to envisage that Dibden Bay and the plans for its future may be on the SPS Council agenda for many moons to come

SPS Response to ABP – November 24th 2016

Brexit and the environment

As we reflect on the outcome of the recent referendum, our attention has been drawn to the potential risks associated with the UK proposal to withdraw from the European Union.  In particular, we have been considering the possible dismantling of EU regulations which have proved beneficial to the environment of the Solent area.

The Thompson Ecology website contains a number of helpful observations, both in general terms and also on the specific topic of the marine environment.

These links and wider content on the Thompson Ecology website may be of interest to SPS Members.