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Bird Aware Solent

The Solent coastline provides feeding grounds for internationally protected populations of overwintering waders and wildfowl, and is also extensively used for recreation. In response to concerns over the impact of recreational pressure on birds within protected areas in the Solent, the Solent Forum initiated the Solent Disturbance and Mitigation Project (SDMP) in 2009, to determine visitor access patterns around the coast and how their activities may influence the birds. The research into those potential impacts was undertaken between 2009 and 2013 and was managed by the Solent Forum's Natural Environment Group.  To take forward the research, develop a strategy and implement findings, the SDMP local authority and partner organisations established Bird Aware Solent.

A substantial amount of housebuilding is planned around the Solent and this new housing is likely to have potential impacts on the SPAs. One of these potential impacts is increased recreational activity at the coast resulting from population increases associated with the new homes.  Increased recreational activity is likely to lead to increased disturbance to waders and wildfowl within the SPAs. Such disturbance reduces the birds' opportunities to feed which can mean they have insufficient energy to survive the winter or to complete their migratory journey to their summer-time habitats. If that occurred, there would be a reduction in the bird population.