The Conservancy press to secure a Harbour Revision Order by Summer 2022
The Conservancy sought a Harbour Revision Order in 2020 which is anticipated to enable a better running of our harbour. The public consultation period closed in early August 2021, including Trinity House, the RYA and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA)
Legal counsel for the Conservancy, Ashfords LLP, in late 2021 were in further correspondence with the Marine Management Organisation (MMO). The MMO in turn have been in discussion with other Government agencies over the proposed broadening of the Conservancy’s powers.
Unfortunately work on the Harbour Revision Order is currently delayed as the amendment is required to go before Parliament and due to the pandemic the earliest opportunity will likely be May or June later this year.
Use of Dredged Harbour Sediment to tackle Coastal Squeeze
A key factor in the downgrading of a large area of Chichester Harbour’s Area of Natural Beauty (AONB) is ‘coastal squeeze’ and allied to this is insufficient sediment to sustain normal saltmarsh growth.
Coastal squeeze is presently defined as ‘the loss of natural habitats or deterioration of their quality arising from anthropogenic structures or actions, preventing the landward transgression of those habitats that would otherwise naturally occur in response to sea level rise in conjunction with other coastal processes. Coastal squeeze affects habitat on the seaward side of existing structures.’
Coastal areas such as Chichester Harbour would naturally adapt to changing climate and sea levels by moving inland but human intervention restricts this opportunity. However the Conservancy is in the process of commissioning a study to identify suitable areas within the harbour where sediment from dredging can be used to bolster existing saltmarsh and generate new growth.
The Conservancy is also in talks with a dredging contractor who is developing new techniques to deliver material high up the intertidal mudflats to facilitate regeneration with the aim of running a trial after consulting with Regulators
Conservancy’s Workboat ‘Ems’ now with Electric Power
The workboat and ferry ‘Ems’ is a 19 foot displacement workboat who also doubles as a ferry and is a familiar sight in the Emsworth Channel. With extensive work being required to the 30 year old diesel engine the opportunity has been taken to replace with an electric motor and lithium-ion batteries.
The electric charging points are already in place on the Emsworth Jetty enabling the craft to perfectly demonstrate the advancement in electric motors and battery technology. This will also provide a quieter experience to ferry users and is seen as another step on the Conservancy’s journey to ‘carbon net zero’.
Conservancy Harbour Office and Jetty Development Project
The Conservancy has exciting plans to renovate and expand their harbour offices and jetty at Itchenor. This will provide upgraded facilities and provide a greater number visiting craft to Chichester harbour with walk ashore access from the Conservancy’s revised jetty.
The board of the Conservancy has given agreement to go ahead with a public consultation providing harbour users an opportunity to see the plans for this project. The Conservancy team has had meetings with neighbouring Itchenor Sailing Club and Haines Boatyard to consider the impact of the proposals and review the Conservancy’s navigation risk assessment.
There was agreement at the meetings for tidal flow data be obtained to better understand the significance of possible increases in channel current on the proposed 7 meter seaward extension to the jetty head. Also work is being carried out by ABPmer to further consider smaller craft in their initial navigational risk assessment
New Bacteria Research
Researchers from the University of Exeter have discovered strains of bacteria from the Vibrio species not known to be previously in existence in the UK. Rising sea water temperatures has led to a growth of pathogenic Vibrio species resulting in a worldwide surge of Vibriosis infections in humans and aquatic animals.
The team for their research has used Met Office data to locate areas around our coastline where sea-surface temperatures reach between 13c to 22c and collected samples from potential areas. Newly identified Vibrio rotiferianus and Vibrio jasicada have now been found in samples of shellfish at locations ranging from Osea Island in the Blackwater to Whitstable Bay in the Thames Estuary to here in Chichester Harbour where sea-surface temperatures have exceeded 18c for a number of consecutive weeks. While samples of Vibrio parahaemolyticus were found in Chichester Harbour being a common cause of gastroenteritis from seafood, and also located in the harbour the Vibrio alginolyticus stain which may cause infection to open wounds or otitis media ear infection.
Dr Luke Helmer from Blue Marine Foundation and the University of Portsmouth has also linked these discoveries to the rise in sea temperatures due to climate change. The Conservancy will seek to understand more about the implications of this new research which was originally supported by Sussex Inland Fisheries Coastal Association, Chichester District Council and Havant Borough Council.