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Southern Water puts up £150k of support to protect precious harbour habitats

Up to £150,000 in  Harbour Conservation Grants are being handed out by Southern Water to protect and enhance the environments of Pagham, Chichester and Langstone Harbours.

Up to £150,000 in  Harbour Conservation Grants are being handed out by Southern Water to protect and enhance the environments of Pagham, Chichester and Langstone Harbours.

Some £50,000 will be awarded annually until 2025 to help the planting of trees and hedgerows, creation of wildlife ponds, and other green projects locally. The funding is part of Southern Water’s £5 million special Environment Fund set up to support work to protect the harbours..

It is in addition to the £27,000 already handed out in the last round of Conservation Grants, including to the RSPB and Manhood Wildlife and Heritage Group to protect nesting habitats on the Selsey Peninsula, and groups in Stansted Park within the South Downs National Park where work in taking place to restore 1,800 acres of forest affected by Ash die back disease.

The new awards will be split into individual £10,000 grants, and smaller amounts of up to £1,500 to provide expert advice.

Jennifer Pollitt, Nature Based Solutions Senior Officer at Southern Water, said: “People assume we are all about big infrastructure projects, because we are spending £2 billion between 2020 and 2025, and there is some truth in that.

“For example, we are spending £22 million to improve our Budds Farm wastewater treatment works, and we are investing £75 million in the Chichester area to prevent groundwater getting into sewers and move nutrient-laden wastewater away from sensitive waters to enable growth in the region and habitat recovery

“But concrete and steel ‘grey solutions’ can only go so far, and nature-based green engineering is critical too and vital in ensuring environmental protection – and that’s why we set up a separate £5 million environment fund to tackle this kind of project

Southern Water is already taking the lead in bringing together a wide range of partners to protect and enhance the water quality in the harbours – which are designated areas of nature conservation.

The grants are aimed at:

  • Reducing the amount of nitrates entering the harbour which cause algae to bloom and choke invertebrates at the bottom of the food chain.
  • Enhancing and connecting available habitats for wildlife and birds.
  • Enhancing public access to reduce bird disturbance

Jennifer added: “We are seeking to support projects where we hope to make the most impact, ranging from footpath resurfacing and fencing, hedgerow and woodland planting, pond creation and ditch enhancements.”