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Southern Water supporting a new management role to restore nature across the ‘Three Harbours’ area

Southern Water is joint funding a dedicated manager role with the RSPB, which will focus on developing an ambitious landscape scale nature recovery strategy to strengthen restoration work in and around the internationally important habitats of Chichester, Langstone and Pagham harbours.

Southern Water is joint funding a dedicated manager role with the RSPB, which will focus on developing an ambitious landscape scale nature recovery strategy to strengthen restoration work in and around the internationally important habitats of Chichester, Langstone and Pagham harbours.

Kate Rice, Natural Capital Strategy Manager at Southern Water, said:

“We’re working with key parties across the Three Harbours area to identify how we collectively tackle the complex issues around habitat degradation and water quality. The harbours are suffering due to climate change, pressures from development and the impact of nutrients and other pollutants from both agriculture and wastewater which threaten the ecological health of the harbours.

This new role will bring people and current plans together to identify opportunities to deliver more by working together and pooling resources. We have heard our customers’ concerns that the sector’s impact on the environment is below their expectations and we’re keen to explore new operating models to address the issues that matter most to our customers and visitors. It will build on the positive work already being done by projects such as the Chichester Harbour Protection and Recovery of Nature project.”

One of the key opportunities is the number of partners wanting to proactively address these challenges. Southern Water first convened a Harbours Summit in 2019 which drew together a coalition of organisations to work together to collaborate and drive change, and this Three Harbours role is designed to build on this.

Fay Pisani, Three Harbours Project Development Manager at RSPB, said:

“This is such an important and beautiful landscape and I’m lucky to call it my home. But it’s facing mounting threats and pressures from every angle. There is lots of interesting and promising work going on already, but we need to ramp up our efforts to get the land and biodiversity thriving, which in turn supports healthy, prosperous communities. Our waterways are central to this and so their urgent restoration led by water companies and supported by wider partners is pivotal. My role is to help the Three Harbours partners focus on what will deliver the greatest benefit for nature, prioritise the opportunities to maximise the energy and the potential of working together. This involves developing more effective, collaborative ways of working with a range of partners and thinking across a wide range of interests and opportunities. I’m thrilled to be given such an important opportunity.”

The RSPB has a strong history of working in collaboration with a range of corporate partners to deliver effective and large-scale nature positive outcomes. This partnership will aim to shape water management plans to ensure these involve nature-based solutions, that deliver genuine benefits for both people and nature. This strategy will maximise the opportunities for future planning.

Southern Water is investing £72 million into the Three Harbours area to treat more wastewater, reduce storm overflows and further reduce nutrients from our wastewater treatment works entering the harbours. We want to help ensure that this investment delivers maximum benefits for nature