The Cross Solent water mains are a vital component of regional water supply infrastructure. Southern Water’s water resources management plan, endorsed by the Environment Agency, concluded that as part of an overall strategy which included the improvement of existing facilities on the Isle of Wight, there was no alternative way of supplementing the Isle of Wight’s indigenous resources other than to increase the water transfer from the mainland to serve the Island.
The Cross Solent scheme involved the provision of a new twin water supply pipeline across the Western Solent between Lepe, Hampshire and Gurnard, Isle of Wight. The pipeline passes through the New Forest National Park and Isle of Wight Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Solent Maritime Special Area of Conservation and the Solent and Southampton Water Special Area of Conservation. The Solent is also an important commercial waterway and internationally noted sailing area and important for both commercial and non-commercial fish species, oysters and clams.
The EIA process and the comprehensive consultation exercise managed by Adams Hendry provided constructive and informative planning advice and recommended a number of amendments to the proposed scheme designed to minimise potential adverse environmental effects.
Planning permission was obtained from the New Forest District Council and the Isle of Wight Council for those elements of the scheme that fall within their jurisdictions, i.e. which are above mean low water. Consent for works on and below the seabed were sought from the Marine Consents and Environment Unit within the Department of Food and Rural Affairs under the terms of the, then, Food and Environment Protection Act 1985 (FEPA) licence and Coastal Protection Act 1949 (CPA) licence that have now been replaced by marine licences.