Southern Water is arguing that the Solent should be classed as the sea, rather than an estuary. Anyone with any knowledge of this area knows that the tidal regime does not allow the complete exchange of water that is experienced in the sea.
There are well-known areas where circulation takes place, and there is no great exchange. For example, Pennington, just outside the Lymington river, is a rich shellfish area. However, this is no longer available because of the standard of effluent that comes from the Pennington outfall. As a consequence, the fishery has been officially closed.
The Solent has been recognised as an estuary from earliest times, and the Department of the Environment would be failing in its duty if it gave so much as a nod to Southern Water's application to reclassify these waters.
Regional Rivers Advisory
National Rivers Authority