Proposed new housing in Chichester is putting wildlife and wild places under serious threat. The East-West corridor from Tangmere to Southbourne faces 7,200 new houses under current Council plans. This puts critical wildlife corridors connecting Chichester harbour to the South Downs National Park at severe risk.
There are currently four key strategic wildlife corridors along the A259 between Emsworth and Chichester proposed. A fifth corridor through Nutbourne Marshes has been inexplicably dropped. Few people realise one in ten of the UK’s native wildlife species are threatened with extinction and one in six of all our animals, birds, fish and plants lost forever.
Chichester has ancient woodland, veteran trees and hedgerows and coastal plains, providing a habitat and home to local wildlife including internationally protected species like water voles, otters, greater crested newts and every type of bat in the UK.” Wildlife like this doesn’t recognise man-made boundaries like fences, and cannot survive in isolation.
To maintain healthy and vibrant wildlife we need robust corridors, allowing mammals, reptiles, insects and birds to travel freely between their natural habitats. We also need healthy and protected corridors to link to our local National Park, to ensure genetic diversity can be maintained.
Conservation and campaign groups believe the maintenance and provision of wildlife corridors is an absolutely critical part of this need, providing living landscapes for generations to come. These groups have clear evidence that the area has reached the threshold where urgent measures are needed to protect our wildlife and rural habitats.
The SOS-C Alliance is also bringing the opinions of many local groups together to raise awareness of our local wildlife under threat from excess housing. Campaigning group Save Our Harbour Villages said, “These natural areas are also an essential local requirement, protecting homes from flooding, providing a healthy ecosystem to purify water, and leaving natural open spaces for everyone to enjoy the countryside. Yet wildlife corridors are under threat from the aggressive activities of housing developers, at the expense of all our valuable local wildlife.”