SMILE Project

The aim of the Solway Marine Information, Learning and Environment (SMILE) Project is to update the 1996 ‘State of the Solway Review’, using innovative communication methods to gather pan-estuary information, learn from stakeholders and promote a better understanding of the Solway Firth ecosystem.   The update is required in the light of new demands made on the estuary’s resources and in the context of marine planning. The Review will provide some of the evidence by which a sustainable approach to planning and management may be achieved; thereby helping to deliver the ecosystem based marine planning frameworks developed for the Solway.

The SMILE Project offers a significant opportunity to develop the foundations for a cross-boundary ecosystem approach to support the future management of the Solway Firth through provision of high quality data and local information.  A SMILE Project Officer will be responsible for identifying gaps in existing data while gathering information and sharing knowledge through the development and production of the revised ‘State of the Solway’ review.  They will undertake wide-ranging sectoral and stakeholder engagement using innovative communication methods, working with and learning from the Severn Estuary’s similar cross border situation with England/Wales, so that the information and evidence gathered can subsequently be disseminated across the Solway Firth in support of other initiatives and projects.

The project will be running until December 2020.

If you would like to find out more or share your thoughts on the Solway, please contact the Project Officer, Georgina, on: 01387 702362 or email:

Below is a Wordle of local peoples’ Vision for the Solway for the next ten years, captured at Dumfries and Galloway Environment Fair 2018. You can clearly see that the themes of ‘Clean’, ‘Clean beaches’ and ‘Nature’ were dominant amongst respondents.

This Wordle is being updated as the project progresses, with the newest one available below, as of May 2019. You can see how originally the themes of ‘Clean’, ‘Litter’ and ‘Plastic Free’ have continued in popularity with themes of industry, infrastructure, and emotive words such as ‘Beautiful’ and ‘Peaceful’ increasing in frequency.

The ‘Vision for the Solway’ excercise will be repeated at various events on both sides of the border over 2019. All responses are counted and the final, accumulated Vision will form part of the updated Solway Review. In the meantime, if you would like to contribute your thoughts for a Solway Vision, send an email with three to five words to Georgina (