Ecological Assessment

Chichester Harbour is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), a Special Protection Area (SPA), a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and a Ramsar site. These are Statutory Designations for which prosecutions can be brought against those damaging the habitats. 

Natural England published its review of the condition of the intertidal, subtidal and bird features of Chichester Harbour in 2021. One of the key findings from this review was that the Harbour was in unfavourable declining condition due to ‘coastal squeeze’ and inappropriate coastal management resulting in the loss of almost half of its saltmarsh since the designation of the SSSI and a continuing loss of 2ha per year. This loss is occurring because saltmarsh has limited capacity to ‘roll back’ in response to rising sea levels (brought about by climate change) due to fixed coastal defences. To view the Condition Review of Chichester Harbour, click here: Condition review of Chichester Harbour sites: intertidal, subtidal and bird features - NERR090 ( Chichester Harbour Conservancy recently completed an ecological assessment of the Mill Pond identifying habitats and environmental features that may be affected by any potential change. To view the assessment, click here.

Langstone Mill Pond is designated by the County Council as a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC). Unfortunately a SINC is a Non-Statutory designation that is intended to highlight the importance of the site in the Planning System. 

Both locations have UK Biodiversity Action Plan Habitats. 

In order to reverse the decline of Saltmarsh and mudflat habitats, Chichester Harbour needs to be able to transition naturally with sea level rise. This means there are difficult choices for any coastal management actions in balancing vital recovery of the harbour with the transition of current hinterlands. An independent technical assessment for this location has been undertaken and is available here.