The Clean Solent Shores and Seas (Clean Solent) project is a framework to address water quality concerns, by improving awareness and influencing behaviour in the Solent.
The Solent Forum manages the secretariat for the Solent European Marine Site (SEMS) Scheme of Management. The SEMS Annual Monitoring has identified that there is concern amongst some Statutory Authorities (Relevant Authorities to SEMS) in the Solent about the impacts of littering. Although at present there has not been a proven link that littering is having an adverse effect on SEMS at a site level, it is important to acknowledge that on a national level evidence shows that littering is damaging the environment. In the Solent that there are the gaps in current knowledge with respect to both the direct and indirect impacts of litter and hotspots exist within the Solent's designated sites.
Concerns have also been expressed about diffuse pollution causing nutrient enrichment of the Solent, particuarly in the harbours. As a result of these concerns the SEMS Management Group has tasked its Natural Environment Group (NEG) to manage this project. In the Spring of 2018, a small Project Group taken from members of NEG was set up to launch the project; the group approved key project actions and the release of an evidence report produced by the Solent Forum entitled 'Clean Solent - Report on littering impacts and reduction initiatives'.
The initial Clean Solent report focuses on litter and does not include wider environmental quality concerns in the Solent that will be covered by Clean Solent. The concerns listed below affect not only designated and protected sites and species but biodiversity generally, as well as human health in bathing and non-bathing waters.