On Air Now Nick Osborne 10:00am - 3:00pm Hozier - Too Sweet Schedule

Chichester Councillors Discuss Funding To Protect Waterways

Wednesday, 15 May 2024 06:00

By Karen Dunn, Local Democracy Reporter

River Lavant. Image: GoogleMaps

Plans to use £180,000 to protect and restore three waterways in the Chichester area have been discussed by the district council.

During a meeting of the cabinet on Tuesday (May 14), members recommended that the money be put towards the Arun and Rother Rivers Trust’s (ARRT) Chalk Stream Resilience project.

The recommendation will be put to the full council for final approval.

The ARRT is one of a national network of river trusts that aim to protect and restore rivers and streams –  in this case the rivers Ems and Lavant and the Hambrook stream.

The council has submitted £5,000 per year over the last two years to another project covering Rother.

If approved by the full council, £60,000 of general reserves will be used each year for three years, part-funding two chalk stream resilience officers – one focusing on the Ems and Hambrook and a second on the Lavant.

Jonathan Brown, cabinet member for environmental strategy, said:

“Chalk streams are globally significant habitats, very rare but unprotected. They’re almost exclusively found in the south of England.

“The new Local Plan seeks to protect them through the planning system and the creation of strategic wildlife corridors.

“But protection is not sufficient. We also need nature recovery.

“They’re already suffering from pollution, habitat loss, drought, interruptions to natural processes and flow and, in the case of the Ems, over-abstraction.”

All three waterways feed into Chichester Harbour, making the impact of the restoration projects wider than just the rivers and stream themselves.

Mr Brown said:

“Our funding would provide certainty for a sufficiently long period, to enable real progress to be made and to maximise opportunities to apply for grant funding from other sources.”

Plans for the river Ems restoration have already started, while those for the Lavant have not.

The principal aim of the ARRT’s work is to restore the natural function in river channels, to tackle invasive non-native species, and to carry out ‘re-meandering’ on rivers which have been artificially straightened.

The project also works with landowners and the community to carry out citizen science monitoring of
water quality, biodiversity and incident reporting.

They also run events to build community engagement and understanding of the issues affecting the rivers.

Mr Brown said that annual reviews would be carried out to ensure that ‘tangible results’ were being seen.

If they weren’t, the council could ‘stop throwing good money after bad’.

More from Sussex News

Your News

It’s easy to get in touch with the More Radio News team.

Add you phone number if you would like us to call you back