New boost to natural habitat as district council steps in to buy second green space

Released: Tuesday, 24 November 2020

The restoration of ecological important salt marsh and enhanced flood protection are set to be given a major boost as Adur District Council makes its second large scale intervention to protect green spaces in the last three months.

In September the Council announced it plans to purchase a 70-acre piece of land, New Salts Farm, between Lancing and Shoreham, to protect it from housing and return it to natural habitat.

Now the Council has also announced it is in advanced talks to buy Pad Farm, 45-acres of arable farmland on the western banks of the River Adur north of the A27. It wants to return the land to salt marsh, to encourage biodiversity and to enhance the site's role in flood defence plans.

Salt marshes are important habitats for many rare and unusual species of plants, birds and animals which have adapted to living in an environment that is regularly covered by tides. They help protect the land around from flooding, in addition to being a natural source for capturing climate-changing carbon gases.

Adur District Council's Executive Member for the Environment, Cllr Emma Evans, said:

“I am delighted to be moving ahead with this project. Coming so soon after our purchase of New Salts Farm it proves this Council is taking the protection of our natural resources seriously. Not only that but, by turning these sites back to their natural habitat, we are also helping to reduce the flood risk and increasing biodiversity, ensuring plants, animals and birds can thrive.

“We are working hard to strike a balance between creating much needed new homes for people who want to live here and the protection of our environment, in particular the Adur estuary environment. These two large pieces of land will now be protected from development and add to our natural estuarine riches for generations to come.”

A report to go before Adur & Worthing Councils' Joint Strategic Committee (JSC) next week says that officers have reached initial agreement with the owners of the land, Ricardo Plc, to buy Pad Farm. The overall cost of purchase, including fees, is reported to be around £324,000.

The report points out that Adur District Council has committed itself to a programme of climate change action and protecting natural habitat in its 'Platforms for our Places' plan of action as well as declaring a climate emergency in 2019 and pledging to become a carbon neutral authority by 2030.

Pad Farm is part of the lower Adur Estuary zone and the Council officers are already engaged in talks with the Environment Agency and the Ouse and Adur Rivers Trust, among other partners, which could see the land turned into a first-class example of what can be achieved with natural habitat elsewhere along the valley.

The JSC report also points out that both Pad Farm and New Salts Farm could offer a net gain toward flood defence plans for the area as the development of homes at the Western Harbour Arm has resulted in a small loss of mud flats. Where development cannot avoid some loss of natural habitat, compensatory payments make it possible to develop green space schemes elsewhere such as Pad Farm and New Salts Farm.

Ian Gibson, Ricardo plc Chief Financial Officer, said:

“I am delighted to have completed this transaction. It shows that the public and private sector can work together for the benefit of the local community and the environment. We look forward to seeing the habitat developing.”

See also: Item 18, Joint Strategic Committee, 1st December 2020

Photo: Land at Pad Farm on the western banks of the River Adur north of the A27

PR20-155 - Land at Pad Farm on the western banks of the River Adur north of the A27

(PR20-155)

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Page last updated: 29 November 2021

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