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Chichester Harbour Trust Visits Westminster

Representatives from the Chichester Harbour Trust visited Westminster last week to give briefings on the pressing environmental issues facing the Harbour and a manifesto of actions that need to be taken at a National level to address them.

At the last Harbour Summit meeting chaired by the Trust in December to update the Harbour Action Plan, it was decided that briefings should be offered to all major political parties in the General Election year, to ensure that greater environmental protections, and regulation of the water industry, are a high priority for the incoming Government.

The Trust reached out to the three main political parties in Westminster and were invited to present to the Labour shadow Environment team, Steve Reed MP and Baroness Hayman of Ullock; and the Libdem Spokesperson on the Environment, Tim Farron MP and his colleagues. 

John Nelson, Chair of the Chichester Harbour Trust said, “this was a great opportunity to impress upon the political parties the unique challenges facing the Harbour, which acts as a barometer for other sensitive landscapes nationwide, and to offer some specific ideas for solutions that we feel are key at a national level”.

The Trust highlighted a series of measures, including the need to:

  • Overhaul the planning policy nationally so that much-needed housing development, including affordable housing, better reflects local needs and conditions, rather than being driven by the major housebuilders

  • Incorporate greater community input into the local housing planning and development process

  • Ensure that suitable infrastructure (particularly wastewater treatment) is in place before developments are built-out

  • Overhaul the regulatory and permit framework for sewage discharging and for controlling the nutrient run-off from agricultural land

  • Reform water regulation to improve the incentive for water companies to invest in better treatment

  • Recapitalise water companies in order to properly fund infrastructure improvements

  • Grant statutory consultee status to Chichester Harbour Conservancy, as recommended by the Government’s 2019 Glover Review

John added, “We urged that greater weight must be given to the environment in decision-making and our suggestions promote this. The briefings that we delivered were very well received; it was recognised by all who attended that action is urgently needed to protect the Harbour before it is too late.”

Image copyright Rick Gatley.

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