The Solent EMS

The wider Solent contains two EMS. The Solent EMS and the Solent and Isle of Wight Lagoons SAC.

The Solent European Marine Site

The Solent EMS is a complex cluster site encompassing a major estuarine system. The site contains 1 Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
  • Solent Maritime SAC
And 3 Special Protection Areas (SPA)
  • Solent and Southampton Water SPA
  • Chichester and Langstone Harbour SPA
  • Portsmouth Harbour SPA
The Solent and its inlets is a unique feature in Europe due to the complex tidal regime. The site provides protection for a range of internationally important Annex 1 habitats and associated sub-features along with bird interest features and their supporting habitats which include:
  • Estuarine habitat
  • Atlantic salt meadow
  • Intertidal mud and sand flats
  • Sub-tidal sandbanks
  • Saline lagoons
  • Sub-tidal muddy sand communities
  • Sub-tidal gravelly sand
  • Internationally important regularly occurring Annex 1 bird species and migratory bird species
  • Internationally important waterfowl assemblages
    • Seagrass
    • Intertidal sediments
    • Shallow coastal waters
    • Boulder
    • Cobble
    • Mixed sediment shores
Further information on the site can be found in the Solent EMS Regulation 33 Conservation Advice Package produced by Natural England.


The Solent and Isle of Wight Lagoons

The Solent and Isle of Wight Lagoons are designated as a special area of conservation. The site includes a number of lagoons in the marshes in the Keyhaven – Pennington area, at Farlington Marshes in Chichester Harbour, behind the sea-wall at Bembridge Harbour and at Gilkicker, near Gosport. The lagoons show a range of salinities and substrates, ranging from soft mud to muddy sand with a high proportion of shingle, which support a diverse fauna including large populations of three notable species: the nationally rare foxtail stonewort Lamprothamnium papulosum, the nationally scarce lagoon sand shrimp Gammarus insensibilis, and the nationally scarce starlet sea anemone Nematostella vectensis.  

The site is designated for the Annex 1 feature Coastal Lagoons.

The conservation objectives for the site can be found on the Natural England webpage

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