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The Chichester Harbour Trust, of which I have the privilege of being patron, is playing such an important role in preserving and improving the environment of Chichester Harbour. I urge you to support this vital fighting fund campaign, which will benefit the whole community for the future.

The Duke of Richmond and Gordon,

Campaign Patron of the Fighting Fund and Patron of the Chichester Harbour Trust

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Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is a unique landscape and a jewel on the south coast. It is one of the few remaining unspoilt oases on the developed south coast plain, with a rich network of habitats supporting tens of thousands of migrating shore birds, as well as rare mammals, plants, insects and marine life.

 

The Chichester Harbour Trust is a registered charity dedicated to protecting the Harbour. However, the Harbour’s special environment is fragile, and is under threat now more than at any time in its past.

 

In our 20th year, in order to achieve this goal effectively, we are launching a “Fighting Fund” Appeal to raise at least £1.5m for the purchase of land in the AONB to ensure its permanent conservation. I ask you – alongside myself and my fellow trustees who have all made pledges to the campaign – to consider supporting this urgent Appeal.

Yours sincerely,

John Nelson CBE DL, Chairman, Chichester Harbour Trust

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Trustees:

Nick Backhouse, Professor Sir Malcolm Green, Patrick Green, Trevor James, Amanda Jupp, Fiona MacFarlane, Chris Newell, Stuart Popham, Stephen Smyth, Andrew Winch.

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The Chichester Harbour Trust

 

Founded 20 years ago, The Chichester Harbour Trust is a registered charity dedicated to protecting Chichester Harbour.

Our Charitable Objectives are:

…to acquire land, sites and buildings within the Chichester Harbour AONB and its setting of landscape, environmental, recreational or historic value and to ‘promote the conservation and protection and improvement of the natural beauty and wildlife of the area for the public benefit.’

We believe that the best way to do this is to continue with our successful programme of land acquisition; confident that ownership of key sites held ‘in trust’ in perpetuity by an independent charity will safeguard the Harbour landscapes and habitats for posterity.

 

We have a small network of supporters and very low running costs, with one part time member of staff.

 

We now hold in trust over 275 acres of land across 13 sites around the harbour, working in partnership with Chichester Harbour Conservancy, the local authorities and the wider harbour community.

OUR CHALLENGES

The ever-increasing demand for housing land is squeezing our rural areas, land use changes affect our scenic landscape and the rising sea levels threaten to change the character of this low-lying coastal area.  In 2021 Natural England downgraded the status of the SSSI to “unfavourable declining” and without intervention the trend is set to continue.

SEWAGE

Discharges into the harbour consistently breach environmental regulations and caused the downgrading of Chichester Harbour’s SSSI designation.

WILDLIFE LOSS

WILDLIFE LOSS The number of migratory birds is in decline, together with water voles and other vulnerable species suffering from the consequences of over development and pollution.

FLOODING

Developers are buying up Grade 1 Agricultural land to build unsustainable housing on known flood plains.

LAND ACQUISITION

To date, when a piece of land comes onto the market we have launched appeals for funds to buy the land. These appeals for funds take time and increasingly we find that individuals with large free as-sets are able to buy swiftly for their private use. This is also inflating the price of land.

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WE NEED YOUR HELP

We urgently need to build a Fighting Fund so that we can move fast when pieces of land or harbour coastline come onto the market.

 

We plan to raise restricted funds of at least £1.5m, designated specifically for the purchase of land when the occasion arises, and we want to raise it by the end of 2023. This will not happen unless we find donors who are prepared to make some large gifts to ‘put wind in our sails’ early on in the campaign. Campaign costs have been covered by a local trust, so every penny donated with go to the Fighting Fund. All the Trustees of The Chichester Harbour Trust have already made donations or pledges to the Fighting Fund.

 

We now ask you to join us.

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Thorney Deeps

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Fishbourne Channel

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Thorney Deeps

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As a patron of the Chichester Harbour Trust, I am delighted to support this

campaign. The impact of the landscape, beauty and biodiversity of Chichester Harbour is vital to our region, and I hope you will support the Trust in its endeavours.”

The Duchess of Norfolk,

Campaign Patron of the Fighting Fund and Patron of the Chichester Harbour Trust