Chichester Harbour Conservancy has today published new guidance for building and maintaining sea defences, called ‘Sustainable Shorelines’. The document, now available to download from the Conservancy’s website, was co-written with expert coastal engineers at Royal Haskoning DHV, and was specifically prepared for use in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Chichester Harbour is the largest natural estuary in south east England and 43% of the AONB is fully submerged at high tide. In recognition of its high environmental value, the Harbour is designated as a Ramsar site for its wetlands, a Special Protection Area (SPA) for its birdlife, a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) for its habitats, and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for its flora and fauna. As a result, all proposed developments on or near the foreshore are scrutinised by the Conservancy, Natural England and the Local Planning Authorities, to ensure any potential adverse impacts are minimised. Roger Price, the Chairman of the Conservancy, said, “As wonderful as it is to live in an AONB, it is not always clear what is, and indeed what isn’t, acceptable development. Our new Sustainable Shorelines document introduces some of the quite complex concepts of shoreline management and is intended as a starting point for anyone thinking about defending their land and property.” Residents are urged to consider the guidelines before submitting a planning application for a shoreline location and to discuss their intentions with the Conservancy and Natural England at the earliest opportunity.