The vulnerable environment of Southampton harbor comprises ecological areas like the coral reefs, water, animals, air, plants, human, birds, maritime life of fish with their migration routes, mammals, plants on the land, and the sea bed with the activities taking place there. The activities that affect these environmental elements come by the processes at the harbor which is emissions (from machines, vehicles, ships and boats), developments (buildings, berth expansions, and construction), noise (from machines, ships, vehicles boats and people), activities (dredging, loading and offloading of hazardous materials, vessel movements, vibration from machines, commercial and recreational navigation).
Southampton port water with the Solent (part of the Solent European Marine Site) is of importance to nature and biology. This has triggered the conservation of several areas which include RAMSAR, SAC (Special Areas of Conservation) and SPA (Special Protection Areas). With this in mind the current and future activities, development, and construction including Berth 201/202 construction are all out of these locally, nationally and internationally designated areas for conserving nature. This means that they are out of reach of impact and any impact inflicted will not be direct. For effective management of all these aspects, environmental impact assessment which is a systematic way of predicting and evaluating the effects and impacts of the activities on the environment will be embraced. The environmental impact assessment includes the following steps.
Consultation: This is to be done not only with governing bodies but also with interested parties and stakeholders during the environmental impact assessment and the scoping period to acquire baseline information and discuss issues.
Scoping study: to inform the MFA (Marine and Fisheries Agency) and relevant bodies on issues the environmental impact assessment should carry out.
Preparation of ES: preparing and submission of ES (Environmental Statement) for consultation with stakeholders.
Characterization of Seabed Sediment: to determine the kind of particles and the distribution of the sediments that would be affected during dredging.
Hydrodynamic Numerical Modelling Studies: for the prediction of effects (physical) of the planned development on the marine estuarine environment.
Sediment contamination: Seabed and sediments to be assessed to determine the quality and levels of contaminations in berth pockets and other areas.
Benthic Invertebrate Surveys: For assessing ecological value of berth pockets with areas adjacent likely to be affected.
Underwater modeling and noise monitoring: to gauge the impact this might have on marine life.
Bird Surveys: to gauge the potential impacts on species of birds that live on water.
Ship wash: to assess the potential impact of receiving a deeper-draughter ship in Berth 201/202.
Sound Monitoring and Noise propagation Modelling: To avail baseline levels and the prediction of the impacts on humans.
Biodiversity Plan for Hampshire: the implementation of the drafted action plan by the Hampshire biodiversity partnership. This aims to conserve biodiversity through LBAPS (Local Biodiversity Action Plans) and local partnerships prioritizing both national and local ones. Local Biodiversity Action Plan addresses UK habitats of priority and species it also includes other habitats of local interest. The plan contributes to international conservation efforts while involving local organizations and people to promote awareness.
|Level of |
|coast||Ship wash |
|Birds directive |
Activities at the port and their environmental impacts
While dredging in berth pockets sediment suspension concentrations occur. Change magnitudes concerning conditions of the background are considered to be small and negligible, which means changes won’t affect estuary physical functioning. This shows that impacts are insignificant. The change in thickness of the sea bed is almost negligible. The changes of sedimentation thou are short-term and cannot have impacts on the estuary functions. Thus impact is insignificant. Increase maintenance and dredge requirements for berths are small and they are within variability in the needed requirements. Change magnitude outside berth pockets is negligible. Thus impact is insignificant.
Potential changes to processes (physical) have been assessed according to the best practices. The expected hydrodynamic and sediment transfer change coming out of morphological alteration on Berth 201/202 is seen to be negligible in scale. The predicted changes are also impossible to measure in the field; this is due to being indistinguishable from usual variations and is below working accuracy of standardized recording instruments. During dredge and disposing of (construction) phase, magnitudes of change, with respect to increasing in sediment suspension concentration will be notable, although it will be short-termed with variable magnitudes and locations. Thus the overall environmental impacts on the functions of the estuary will be insignificant
Deposit of dredged sediments especially from the Berths 201/202 is widely dispersed. Nab Deposit Ground has the effects of disposal returning to background conditions inside about seven days after stopping disposal operations. The change in magnitude is small; this is particularly with the existing maintenance and dredge (capital) deposits site. Here the impact is insignificant.
Potential Impacts Due to Ship Wash
Berth 201/202 deepening will create space for draughter vessels and bigger ships to access the berth. The effects of ship wash will be negligible with the circumstance of wave energy getting to the shore. Consequently ship wash impact on coastal flood protection will be insignificant. The planned works are dependable on policies in PPS25. There won’t be any direct effect on the coastal defense in the area of study following the planned Berth 201/202 works. The indirect effects from modification to the hydrodynamic and sediment establishment brought by the deepening of berth pockets are insignificant to coastal defense, and no impacts are of mitigation scale. Ship wash impacts during berth operations are also seen as insignificant to coastal protection.
Salmon Migration during Percussive Piling
Environment Agency confirmed that considering salmon movements effects from percussive piling will not be significant if the process will be done between September and March.
A number of measures for reducing interruption from construction vibration are established and agree with the required bodies (Environmental Health Officers of Southampton City Council and New Forest District Council). They include the following vibration survey, to be undertaken throughout the appropriate stages of percussive piling to show actual external levels. Actions taken would depend on levels of vibration calculated. If the levels at footings of buildings are to equal or go beyond 1mm/s PPV to any specific residential property, comprehensive vibration survey to record the levels within the property that could be subjected will be taken on demand. This will also offer more opportunities to explain to residents effects of vibration on structure and human perception. If the levels exceed 2mm/s PPV at footings of structures, the contractor will be required to re-evaluate its pile driving exercise or seek to modify ways of driving the piles to decrease the levels of vibration. If the levels are greater than 5mm/s PPV at footings of the buildings will occur, it is projected that the pile driving exercise is halted as soon as possible while building surveys are undertaken in all potentially affected areas. At the end of the exercise, properties will be resurveyed for structural or cosmetic damage, which will be identified as having happened directly as a result of pile driving and necessary reconstruction measures taken.
Table of Levels of significance
|Activities||Environmentally Sensitive Features|
The report has been prepared with the intention of avoiding and mitigating possible environmental impacts. To attain this, discussions with key stakeholders have been done before and during the assessment, to recognize potentially affected areas and possible solutions. The report has exposed that in many cases the effects will be insignificant or minor it has also shown that where adverse impacts can occur; they will be mitigated, dropping the residual effects to manageable levels.