Tipner West super-peninsula plans leave wildlife experts 'far from convinced'

A WILDLIFE charity is ‘far from convinced’ a new strategy will protect species and habitats if a £1bn ‘super-peninsula’ housing development is built in Portsmouth.

By Fiona Callingham
Thursday, 1st October 2020, 4:24 pm

The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust has voiced its concerns over Portsmouth City Council’s plan to alleviate damage caused by land reclamation at Tipner West in order to build 4,000 new homes.

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The city council has said it will look at buying other land that can then be preserved for nature to mitigate against any disruption at Tipner West.

How Tipner West could look if the city council's plans are approved. Picture: Portsmouth City Council

A council spokesman said: ‘To suitably mitigate any potential impacts of the Tipner West proposals, it’s proposed that compensatory land may be acquired, either through direct purchase or through management agreements with the landowners.

‘This process is currently in its early stages and will be confirmed going forward in close consultation with relevant consultees.

‘A habitat regulations assessment is being completed to determine any potential effects of the proposals on these statutory sites, with the current position supporting compensation measures which may be required to reduce the potential impacts on the species for which the three statutory sites were designated.’

The wildlife trust previously said the super-peninsula would harm mudflats home to fish including bass and feeding grounds for thousands of black-tailed godwit, Brent geese and other waterbirds - across three designated sites of ecological interest.

A spokeswoman said: ‘We are still far from convinced that this is a viable or sensible proposal. It would be very difficult, if not impossible to compensate effectively for the impacts on our sensitive wildlife areas and important intertidal habitats.

‘We also don’t feel that the proposal adequately addresses the impacts of climate change on rising sea levels. This is an area where habitat restoration and adaptation measures should be a priority.’

Plans for Tipner West, that include creating a car-free community, were revealed in September last year citing the need to meet ‘ludicrous’ housing targets set by government.

Under a new system recently announced it is likely Portsmouth’s housing target will reduce from 855 new homes a year to 730 - however the council leader said the Tipner West scheme was still needed to comply.

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: ‘Government has given us completely ludicrous housing targets, even though they have reduced them a little they are still completely unachievable.

‘If we don't put a large number of houses on Tipner West we will have to find other sites across the city to build on to keep the government happy. This would potentially mean significantly more developments in other places we need to protect.’

A decision on whether to acquire the compensatory land will be made at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, October 6.

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