When making local coastal management decisions along our coastline, it can be difficult to understand whether or not our proposals could harm the wider Solent environment. This can lead to missed opportunities and may delay works on the ground which are required to protect our community from flooding and erosion. We are therefore working to improve our understanding.
To give an example, we may no longer be able to justify maintaining a seawall, resulting in coastal flooding to land that is used by birds to roost. Birds require dry land to roost whilst the tide is in, covering the saltmarshes and mudflats from which they feed.
This may not be considered a problem if there are other roosting sites available along the Solent coastline, however, if these are a significant distance away, the birds may not have the energy to fly from where they are feeding to where they are roosting. If this were the case, certain species of bird may no longer visit the Solent because the roost sites are too far away from the feeding areas. This has the potential to harm migratory birds who rely on the Solent’s habitats to feed and rest during their long migrations.
We need to better understand these site links to prevent such a situation and help advise our coastal management decisions. For this, we are proactively working in partnership with Stakeholders to understand site links and seek to protect or improve them. An Action Plan has been agreed with project partners, which contains 14 Actions summarised within the leaflet available on this webpage. The full project outputs to date are also available here.
We have significant stretches of coastline which rely on this knowledge to confirm how they will be managed in the future, and therefore we are currently bidding for funds to deliver the Action Plan. The end result should be that we can continue to protect our community from flooding and erosion, whilst maintaining the important network of sites as rich and diverse habitats that plants, wildlife and people can continue to enjoy.
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