Conservancy Fights 'Flawed' Coastal Strategy

Chichester Harbour Conervancy is concerned about the future management of East Head. Photo by Matt Simmons.
Industry Database

The Chichester Harbour Conservancy, statutory harbour authority for Chichester Harbour in the UK, has expressed disappointment at the draft Coastal Defence Strategy drawn up by the UK Environment Agency. It will determine how East Head, the sand dunes at the Harbour Entrance, will be managed in the future. 

It is the Conservancy's view that the Government's initial Strategy (2000) and a subsequent Strategy Review (2001-2006) have failed to consider what impact the 'Preferred Option' of managed realignment at East Head will have on navigation in Chichester Harbour, the Harbour's 28,000 regular users, their 10,000 vessels and over 700 people who depend on the harbour for their livelihoods.

The Conservancy believes the Environment Agency and Chichester District Council have failed to meet a clear and fundamental Government requirement that Coastal Defence Strategies assess what impact a preferred option will have on adjacent coastlines. In the Conservancy's view, the Strategy is flawed for failing to assess what impact widening the harbour entrance by Managed Realignment will have on the hydrodynamics of the harbour and consequent sedimentation in the navigable channels. It has failed to identify and quantify what impact the sedimentation will have on the range of vessels using the harbour. It has failed to establish the social, economic and amenity value of the harbour, how that might be affected by the loss of navigability, and whether there is an overriding public interest in preserving that value. The Conservancy believes there is an overriding public interest because it is a nationally important asset. The Strategy has also failed to consider properly how, within the Managed Realignment and other options, the socio-economic value of the harbour can be maintained for as long as possible in an environmentally and economically sustainable way.

Over 11,000 users of Chichester Harbour received a letter before Christmas from Harbour Master John Q Davis OBE, urging them to respond to the consultation with Letters of Objection. The Conservancy has indicated that it will also object to the proposals in the Consultation Document but will work with the Environment Agency, Chichester District Council and the National Trust, which owns East Head, to overcome present shortcomings in the Strategy and find a balanced and sustainable solution for the management of East Head.

MJ Information No:22641

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