Rare river habitats get funding for restoration

Funding has been agreed for three river restoration projects in West Sussex.

Chichester District Council (CDC) is to invest £180,000 over the next three years on protecting rare habitats on the rivers Lavant, Ems and Hambrook.

The projects, which are being managed by the Western Sussex Rivers Trust, will focus on restoring the natural function in the river channels, tackling invasive non-native species and river re-meandering.

The council said it was funding "critical work".

The three waterways are among only 283 chalk streams and rivers in the world, according to CDC.

Councillor Jonathan Brown, cabinet member for environmental strategy, said: "These are globally significant but very rare habitats.

"Sadly, these rivers are now suffering from the effects of pollution, habitat loss, drought and interruptions to their natural processes and flow."

While none of the rivers has official protection , the council said it was "seeking to gain better protection for them".

Mr Brown said: "These chalk streams also feed into the internationally protected Chichester Harbour Special Protection Area.

"It is absolutely vital that as a council we do all that we are able to do in order to support their protection and restoration for future generations."

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