The Port of Southampton wanted to improve access to the port to retain existing trade and develop in line with likely future customer demand. This required both deepening and widening the channel at various locations along the navigation route. ABPmer led the EIA work that was undertaken for this development.
The EIA involved scoping the key issues and evaluating the potential impacts on all relevant aspects of the marine and terrestrial environment including the physical environment, nature conservation, ecology, water and sediment quality, fisheries and navigation.
The EIA was supported by a large resource of available literature and data, together with a number of additional investigations, including: Hydrodynamic numerical modelling studies; Benthic invertebrate surveys; Seabed sediment characterisation; Seabed sediment contamination analyses; Underwater noise monitoring and modelling; Bird surveys; and Ship wash study. In addition, signposting Appropriate Assessments were produced as part of the Habitats Regulations Appraisal (HRA) process, which involved assessing the potential direct and indirect impacts of the proposed works on relevant designated conservation features.
We also provided support to consultations with stakeholders and interested parties, including Natural England, the Environment Agency, Cefas, MMO, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and local authorities. These discussions helped to identify the scope of potential impacts and define appropriate impact reduction measures.