By Kelly Wickham
More than £1million of grant funding could potentially be accessed to support and enhance wildlife in the area after councillors at Chichester District Council’s cabinet meeting agreed to invest in a strategic wildlife corridors project.
Cabinet members approved investment in the project of £50,000 over five years, which will open up the opportunity to bid for over £1m in funding through the National Heritage Lottery Fund.
Through the extensive work of the council’s community wildlife officer, the council has identified the need for a wildlife project aimed at safeguarding a number of strategic wildlife corridors across the Chichester district. These connect Chichester and Pagham harbours with the South Downs National Park.
The project will deliver a range of actions to enhance the strategic wildlife corridors and safeguard the district’s wildlife, allowing species to move and their populations to thrive.
It also aims to help the district’s wildlife become more resilient to environmental change, engage local people with their district’s wildlife and help maintain and develop a community wildlife officer role at the council.
“This project is a positive commitment to the safeguarding of our district’s wildlife,” said Cllr Penny Plant, cabinet member for environment and Chichester contract services at the district
“This important work will help protect the district’s wildlife, enabling species to move for food and to breed, ensuring the sustainability of their populations for the future.
“The project links with a policy in the developing local plan review, which aims to direct development outside of these areas in order to help protect and maintain these corridors.
“As part of the development of this project, we have consulted with a number of important groups and sought their advice and support, including landowners, the Manhood Wildlife and Heritage Group, the Sussex Wildlife Trust, Chichester College, West Sussex County Council, the South Downs National Park Authority and the Chichester Harbour Conservancy.
“We have been grateful for the assistance and support we have received so far.
“We are incredibly lucky to have a very skilled and experienced wildlife officer at the council, with key links in the local community and a wealth of knowledge about our district’s wildlife species and their habitats.
“Through this bid we hope to continue and develop this role”