There are over numerous management plans and initiatives covering all or part of the Solent that address issues such as nature conservation, coastal defence and emergency planning. They operate at a range of scales from the European level down to site specific. The main types of plans are detailed below; they are split into statutory and non-statutory plans.
The European Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) aims to achieve Good Environmental Status in Europe’s seas by 2020. Member States are required to produce a Marine Strategy for their waters, in collaboration with other Member States in their marine region. On 20 April 2009, the UK Government, Welsh Assembly Government, Northern Ireland Executive and Scottish Government published their joint High Level Objectives for the UK marine area. They set out the vision and outcomes that all UK Administrations are seeking to achieve in the UK marine area.
The European Community has adopted two Directives in response to its obligations under the Bern Convention: Council Directive 79/409/EEC (the Birds Directive), and Council Directive 92/43/EEC (the Species and Habitats Directive). These Directives provide for the protection of animal and plant species of European importance and the habitats which support them, particularly through the establishment of a network of protected sites. This network and its associated management schemes are commonly referred to as European Marine Management Schemes.
Schemes covering the Solent are:
The Water Framework Directive (WFD) sets out a detailed framework for the improved protection and management of water, from source to sea, and requires all inland and coastal waters to reach 'good ecological status or potential' by 2015. It aims to do this by establishing river basin districts within which environmental standards and objectives will be set, including ecological targets for surface waters. Developing the plans is the responsibility of the Environment Agency.
The WFD requires the identification of river basin districts (RBD). River basin districts are made up of groups of catchments (rivers, streams, lakes and the land that drain into them). Groundwaters, rivers, estuaries (transitional waters), coastal waters and artificial waters (such as canals) are assigned to the most appropriate districts. For each RBD the water bodies have been identified according to the biology, hydrology and physio-chemical characteristics, following guidelines from the Directive. Environmental standards and objectives will be defined for these water bodies. The Solent lies within the South East River Basin District.
The Marine Policy Statement will set out the policy objectives that will contribute to the achievement of sustainable development in the United Kingdom marine area. It will create the framework for consistent and evidence based decision making offering certainty about government policy intentions. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ consulted on the draft Marine Policy Statement during summer 2010 and should finalise the Statement by spring 2011.
The UK Government and the Devolved Administrations have prepared separate draft national strategies on either ICZM or more generally on marine and coastal management. ‘A strategy for promoting an integrated approach to the management of coastal areas in England’ - sets out the Government’s vision for coastal management, objectives and future actions to achieve the vision, and explains how all the changes currently being taken forward will work together in coastal areas.
National Policy Statements (NPSs) are provided for by the Planning Act 2008. The Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC), also created under that Act, will be required (subject to certain statutory exceptions) to determine planning cases in accordance with the relevant NPS, once it has been ratified after consultation. Under the present system, harbour developments are subject to harbour revision or empowerment orders under the Harbours Act 1964. In some cases additional planning consents under Town and Country Planning legislation, and/or the Transport and Works Act, are required in parallel. The new system will simplify applications by providing for these consents to be combined in one Development Consent Order.
The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 made substantial changes to the English Development Plan system. It did away with both Structure Plans and Local Plans, in favour of Local Development Frameworks (LDFs), which are made up a number of Local Development Documents (LDDs) and Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs). Local Authorities are also now required to produce Local Development Schemes (LDS) - which outline the work the LDDs/SPDs they intend to produce over a three year period, and Statements of Community Involvement (SCI), which outline how the Council will involve the local community. All LDDs and SPDs also have to be accompanied by a Sustainability Appraisal (SA) and a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). The SEA is a requirement under European Union laws. Planning Policy Guidance Notes are also being gradually replaced by Planning Policy Statements.
Local authorities will have a specific regard to the Marine Policy Statement and adjacent Marine Plans in their coastal planning and decision making. Use our members directory to find the contact details of local authorities in the Solent.
SMPs provide a large-scale assessment of the risks associated with coastal processes and present a long term policy framework to reduce these risks to people and the developed, historic and natural environment in a sustainable manner. An SMP is a high level document that forms an important element of the strategy for flood and coastal erosion risk management. Many operating authorities adopt the recommendations of their SMP as a basis for the production of individual strategic plans, monitoring programmes and studies for all or part of their coastline.
The Environment Agency has the strategic overview role for managing all sea flooding and coastal erosion risk on the coast. The Solent lies within the Southern Coastal Group, which is the body that gives advice on coastal issues and influences strategic and sustainable policies, plans and programmes to best manage coastal risks.
The primary purpose of the AONB designation is to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the landscape, with two secondary aims: meeting the need for quiet enjoyment of the countryside; and having regard for the interests of those who live and work there. To achieve these aims, AONBs rely on planning controls and practical countryside management. There are two AONB plans covering the Solent:
In 1993, the UK government consulted over three hundred organisations throughout the UK and held a two day seminar to debate the key issues raised at the Convention of Biological Diversity. The product of this was the launch of 'Biodiversity: the UK Action Plan' in 1994 which outlined the UK Biodiversity Action Plan for dealing with biodiversity conservation in response to the Rio Convention.
Solent specific plans include the following:
Coastal management plans cover a distinct geographical area of coast and review the issues occurring within that location and identify management measures to address these. The Forum's Strategic Guidance for the Solent is a Solent-wide coastal management plan. Other plans around the Solent include:
Estuary and Harbour Management Plans review the uses and issues that take place within that harbour or estuary and seek to promote good practice and resolve any conflicts. They also facilitiate partnership working for all the relevant stakeholders and develop partnership based projects.
Plans within the Solent include:
The SOLFIRE plan is the voluntary emergency plan covering maritime incidents in the Solent. The Solent is dividied into SOLFIRE West, SOLFIRE East and SOLFIRE South with command centres at Southampton, Portsmouth and Lee-on-the-Solent respectively. This plan includes SOLSPILL, the reporting system for oil spillages.
The Marine Coastguard Agency takes the lead role in all maritime pollution and search and rescue incidents. Local authorities have responsibilities for marine emergencies (such as oil pollution or stranded passengers) once they come ashore or above the mean low water mark.