'Building for the future' by expanding the Southampton Approach Channel

British Ports (ABP) has received consent from the Marine Management
Organisation (MMO) to improve the marine access to the Port of Southampton with
an extensive programme of dredging.

dredging, in Southampton Water and the Solent, is part of an extensive
programme of investment centred around improving the capability of the port to
receive the largest vessels in the world long into the future.

consent marks the final piece in the jigsaw of licences, consents and
permissions to complete the programme.

Southampton is blessed with a unique double tide that ensures a wide access
window for shipping, the requirement for deeper drafted vessels to call at
facilities such as Fawley Oil Refinery and the container terminal has placed
some limitations on access.

work will see the main navigational channel used by commercial shipping
deepened from a current minimum depth of 12.6m, at various points along its
length of 25 nautical miles.

channel will also be widened to 100m in some areas to allow vessels to pass one
another as they enter and exit the port.

than 23 million tonnes of material will be dredged along the route, from the
Nab Channel to the east of the Isle of Wight through the central Solent and
extending as far as the most northerly berth of the container terminal in the
Test Estuary.

material will be taken to a licensed deposit ground, located in the English
Channel to the south east of the Isle of Wight.

dredging works aim to:

  • improve
    the safety of navigation;
  • improve
    the ability of vessels to pass each other in the approaches to the port;
  • increase
    the marine tidal access window for large vessels; and
  • safeguard
    existing direct and indirect port-related jobs by ensuring that the Port of
    Southampton remains a competitive and viable deep-sea port into the future.

has proposed a series of measures to minimise the effects of the works on the

As well as managing
water quality and monitoring sediment levels, a compensatory intertidal habitat
scheme is in its advanced stages of completion at Cobnor Point in Chichester

The scheme will provide a new home for water voles, a protected
species native to Britain’s coast and inland waterways.

consent follows hard on the heels of permission to widen the channel at
Marchwood, work which is now underway.

ABP port director for Southampton, Doug Morrison, said: ‘This is fantastic news for the
long-term future health of the port, for the 12,000 people reliant on it for
work and for our customers who can be assured that we will continue to welcome
their vessels to the port in the years to come.

shipping gets bigger, the port needs to adapt in order to retain its place at
the forefront of the industry and to continue to be able to meet our clients’

dredging works are just the latest in a series of investments by ABP in
safeguarding the future of the Port of Southampton, including the ongoing work
to redevelop the container terminal that is so important to the region’s future
economic prospects.

information and the licence document is available from the MMO’s marine licensing public register (reference
34302/090114) and selected cases page.