Interested Parties & Responsibilities


The land forming the footpath and sea defence is unregistered. The intertidal area is owned by Chichester Harbour Conservancy, while the land to the rear of the footpath is privately owned. Therefore, the owner and maintainer of this section of coastline and associated sea defences is unknown.

Environment Agency (EA)

EA has powers under the Floods and Water Management Act 2010 to protect homes from flooding and there is no responsibility or legal obligation for the EA to maintain sea defences north of Langstone Mill Pond.

The EA want to help risk management authorities, communities and individuals understand and prepare for a long term ambition for climate resilient places. The EA aim to create a nation ready for, and resilient to flooding and coastal change. This means in some cases, nature-based solutions will be used to enhance flood and coastal resilience, which will result in restoring multiple benefits including contributing to nature recovery. 

There are no homes at risk of flooding behind these defences and therefore no justification to use Flood Defence Grant in Aid to maintain or replace the sea wall. 

Havant Borough Council (HBC)

HBC do not have any responsibility or legal obligation to maintain sea defences. They have Permissive Powers under the Coast Protection Act 1949 to undertake coastal protection works but only where there is a wider public benefit in doing so, such as flood risk to life and property. This is not the case here.

Havant Borough Council's ambition for saving the sea wall between Langstone Mill and Wade Lane is severely limited due to national environmental policy. We also appreciate the wider picture and the demands placed upon Chichester Harbour as a whole. HBC would not act in isolation to repair this damage for fear of setting a precedent, as the wider defences are also in a poor condition. HBC hope that through engaging with relevant national and local partners an agreed resolution that satisfies all parties is found.

Hampshire County Council (HCC)

Area Access Team

HCC Countryside Service, recognises the wider implications for the future of public access along this section of coast and is keen to work in conjunction with partners; either to work towards preserving the existing access alignment or to secure an alternative alignment.

HCC, as the Highway Authority, is responsible for the management of The Public's Rights to access and use the Public Footpath, but, in accordance with the governing principles of Highway Law, it has no legal authority or responsibility to maintain the sea wall.

Utility - Companies

There are no known utilities protected by these sea defences.

Chichester Harbour Conservancy (CHC)

The condition of 80% of the SSSI in Chichester Harbour was recently downgraded to 'unfavourable declining' condition by Natural England due in part to the loss of 58% of the Harbour's saltmarsh since 1946. This is primarily driven by coastal squeeze with sea defences preventing saltmarsh moving landward in response to rising sea levels and limiting the sediment supply that enables them to keep pace with it.

CHC are keen to work with others to maintain the coastal access in the Langstone area and would look to source funds to re-route the footpath. Where the protection of houses, or important infrastructure is not directly involved it is better for the health of the Harbour environment to allow natural processes to resume. 

Natural England (NE)

Natural England published it’s review of the condition of the intertidal, subtidal and bird features of Chichester Harbour in 2021, click here to see the review. One of the key findings from this review was that the site was in unfavourable declining condition due to ‘coastal squeeze’ and ‘inappropriate coastal management’ resulting in the loss of almost half of it’s saltmarsh since designation of the SSSI and a continuing loss of 2.5ha 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 sea defences. Where these defences are protecting homes and businesses from the risk of flooding, compensation for loss of saltmarsh is dealt with through the Habitat Compensation and Restoration Programme, but where they are protecting fields and other areas where there is no direct risk to property, there are also opportunities for allowing that roll-back to occur and to contribute to the recovery of saltmarsh and the environmental, social and economic benefits it provides. In this instance, and as is the case at Langstone, we would not give the necessary SSSI permission to repair the seawall (see below).

NE are working closely with partners across Chichester Harbour to take forward these opportunities as a contribution towards the recovery of habitats and species and enabling their ability to adapt to climate change.

Langstone Coastal Defence Scheme

A Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM) Scheme is currently being developed by Coastal Partners at Langstone to reduce the flood and erosion risk to the community, important heritage assets and the A3023. The aim is to begin construction after April 2023, subject to securing sufficient funding to close the current funding gap to make the scheme affordable.

Following extensive option, environmental and economic appraisal, replacement of the defences fronting the Mill Pond were deemed not financially viable and therefore are not part of the proposed scheme at Langstone. This is due to the low level of flood risk to property along this frontage, the low likelihood of securing Defra Grant in Aid funding to meet the extensive costs of new defences here, and the large proportion of private or unknown ownership. Click here for further information.

Natural England has a statutory responsibility to regulate activities which take place within a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and provides permissions to landowners (consents) or other statutory bodies (assents) for these activities.  We also have a role in proving statutory advice to Local Planning Authorities and to the Marine Management Organisation in relation to their permissions and licenses and they are required to take account of this advice.