Save Chichester Harbour - WATCH as trust chair explains why action must be taken to stop development and sewage causing environmental crisis

A three-point plan to protect threatened Chichester Harbour – including a pause on housing development in the district – was unveiled this week.
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Chichester Harbour Trust said on Tuesday March 7, 2023, that it had become increasingly apparent there was an environmental catastrophe unfolding in Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and in the district more widely. The Trust claimed that sewage discharges, flooding and traffic chaos were all causing a huge threat to public health, wildlife, recreation and ultimately the future of the Harbour.

To tackle this, the Trust is demanding in the short term:

1 A moratorium on housing development in the district until the new national and local planning policy is finalised, and the infrastructure plans are in place.

Chichester Harbour: Photo Derek MartinChichester Harbour: Photo Derek Martin
Chichester Harbour: Photo Derek Martin
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2 A change in the water treatment regulatory framework to encourage accelerated investment in new sewage treatment capacity.

3 The removal of the legal requirement for Southern Water to connect their main sewers to new housing where they do not have the capacity; and directions to allow and compel Southern Water to take short term measures to alleviate the raw sewage discharges continuing in the Harbour.

The Chichester Harbour Trust said it and others have been warning of this impending crisis for the past five years. “And yet we are now faced with a draft local plan which will finally destroy all that we have been fighting to protect. It calls for further massive housing development (over 10,000 dwellings) squeezed into areas around the Harbour which have already borne too much development.

“This local plan is being rolled out in phases, some of which will be built in the short term with no solutions in place to provide the necessary infrastructure. This plan lacks common sense.”

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With local elections approaching, to be followed by a General Election, the Trust is calling on candidates to set out their approach to the Local Plan, to the environmental and infrastructure issues it raises and to the protection of Chichester Harbour.

John Nelson, Chair of the Chichester Harbour Trust, said: "The time has come for common sense to prevail. We simply cannot continue with the path outlined in the local plan. We do not have the infrastructure; we have a sewage crisis already; we have traffic gridlock already. We have the Chichester Harbour environment facing an existential crisis; we have the local landscape about to be destroyed; we are already seeing the impact on wildlife.

“It also makes no sense to implement the local plan before the new national policy on planning is finalised. We have a national government who appear to be responding to public opinion by singing a different and more encouraging tune on over-development.

“I call on our local councillors and MPs to show leadership. We must put a halt to this with a moratorium”.

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The Chichester Harbour Trust is a registered charity established in 2002 to protect the natural beauty and wildlife habitats of Chichester Harbour, through the acquisition of land within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Trust now holds over 375 acres of land in 15 sites around the harbour.

The Chichester Harbour Trust Fighting Fund campaign to raise at least £1.5m over the next year to protect the Harbour is live at