Environment

We know there are some environmental concerns about developing Lennox Point on a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), a Special Protection Area (SPA) and a Ramsar site, and are following stringent processes to ensure any environmental impacts can be mitigated appropriately.

The site is subject to environmental protections and the Habitats Regulations Assessment, and there are a series a sequential tests we will have to go through in order to develop on the site. It is critical that we adhere to that, and the site is treated with the respect that it deserves.

We are liaising closely with our statutory stakeholders – including Natural England and The Environment Agency – and other key stakeholders to keep everyone informed and up to date with our proposals. The development will only happen if statutory stakeholders are satisfied.

Environment


Land reclamation

Through the 2013 City Deal, Portsmouth City Council was able to purchase 31.5 hectares of land, the majority of which was in MOD ownership, at Tipner West and Horsea Island East and circa £50million funding, to deliver the City Deal aspirations.

However, creating a viable and sustainable community able to deliver the marine and maritime employment and the assessed housing need for Portsmouth (as defined by MHCLG and therefore required by the Council to deliver in its Local Plan), leads to a total land mass of circa 59 hectares. Therefore, land reclamation of circa 27.5 hectares has been proposed as part of this development to ensure we meet the strategic needs of the area.

 

What's happening now?
Several options to deliver the objectives above have been discussed in detail by the Lennox Point project team and Portsmouth City Council. Of the options, the proposed development is the only one that meets the criteria for City Deal finance, can cover the cost of sea defences required to maintain Tipner West and Horsea Island, and with land reclamation offers enough land to accommodate the marine employment hub and required housing.
What's proposed?
Due to the development on subtidal and intertidal habitats, and proposed land reclamation, we have a statutory commitment to create or enhance 82 hectares of new or existing mudflat and saltmarsh habitats within the existing range of birdlife in Portsmouth Harbour. However, we are proposing 120 hectares of habitat creation and enhancement - to not only provide compensation for the bird life which utilises the existing Harbour, but to also provide improved resilience to coastal sea level rise in the future and a commitment to protect these areas going forward. We want to reinforce our serious commitment to the environment and accept that in this development, land reclamation remains the only option, however, we want to do everything we can to ensure this land is correctly compensated and maintain our commitment to protecting the environment and wildlife within the existing range. The compensation sites will be located along the south coast from Poole Harbour to Adur, West Sussex.

DID YOU KNOW?

Portsmouth has a history of reclaiming land for development – for example, Port Solent and Milton Common are both built on reclaimed land.

Environment


Flooding

The existing coastal defences at Tipner West are in poor condition. The 2011 Portsmouth Island Coastal Strategy Study estimated that defences on Horsea Island East may fail within 5-10 years, and within 10-15 years on Tipner West – and due to lack of maintenance over recent years, there is an increasingly high risk that these defences could fail sooner.

The image below shows the estimated extent of flooding by 2123 – accounting for 100 years climate change and assuming that nothing is done to protect Tipner West. It should be noted that the image does not reflect the investment made into flood defences at the north of the island through Coastal Partners schemes in Portsmouth.

Should the defences fail, there are risks of releasing contaminates present in the ground into Portsmouth Harbour and polluting designated nature conservation sites, and it represents a weak-spot in island-wide defences (particularly in comparison to the recent/current North Portsea and Southsea coastal defence schemes).

What's happening now?
As part of the proposals for land reclamation, we are proposing that the ground level of Tipner West is raised. This would ensure that the site and those living and working there would be safe from flooding for the lifetime of the development.
What's proposed?
As well as raising the ground level of Tipner West, Lennox Point will feature a Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SuDS) to collect rainwater and prevent surface water and flooding. In addition, there will be increased tree canopy cover and green and blue roofs to collect water and prevent the possibility of flooding.

Environment


Wildlife

There are several species of birds, fish and marine habitats that are currently using the site at Tipner West for feeding, breeding and wintering. Namely, these are Brent Geese, Black-tailed Godwit, Red-breasted Merganser, Dunlin, Grey Plover and Tern.

This is largely due to the island’s sheltered position in Portsmouth Harbour, with the SSSI citation stating that “Portsmouth, Langstone and Chichester Harbours share physical characteristics and, in many respects, should be seen as a single biological system” – meaning that much of this wildlife may seek alternative habitats in Langstone and Chichester Harbour.

What's happening now?
As part of ongoing site investigations, the team has been undertaking surveys at Tipner West since winter 2016 to understand the breeding seasons and which areas of the site are in most use. The results of these findings will be shared with stakeholders including Natural England, The Environment Agency, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and RSPB as part of our ongoing commitment to keep partners informed. We are also providing land elsewhere along the south coast as compensation for the land being proposed for the development.
What's proposed?
At the heart of the proposal for Lennox Point is the aim to develop a sustainable neighbourhood that can reconnect people's lives and work with the sea. The ambition is to deliver the best lifestyle for those living and working there, but also for wildlife, birds and pollinators to live, nest and move through the development - through green spaces and low traffic usage. Parks at the water's edge will be optimised for biodiversity, providing semi-natural habitats and vegetative landscaping to generate opportunities for nature and people’s interaction and connection with nature.

Environment


Contamination

A significant number of ground investigations have been undertaken across the majority of the Tipner West and Horsea Island East site. These indicate a presence of asbestos, metals, polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and petroleum hydrocarbons in the ground across the site, which in areas, have exceeded the adopted screening criteria.

Localised samples additionally recorded concentrations of Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB’s) in excess of adopted screening criteria.

What's happening now?
In addition to the ground investigation works on site, marine ground investigation works are currently also underway in the waters surrounding the site. This will investigate the sea bed soil and level of contamination near the site by drilling into the sea bed and recovering soil samples and rock cores. This work is expected to be completed by August 2021.
What's proposed?
Once all ground and marine ground investigations are complete, we will share these findings with stakeholders including Natural England, The Environment Agency, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and RSPB. This is part of our ongoing commitment to keep partners informed. The results of the surveys will inform the Environmental Impact Assessment required for the proposed development. If contamination is at a level that is acceptable to develop on, the EIA will be submitted as part of the suite of planning application documents, expected to be submitted in summer 2022.

READ MORE

You can read more about the needs case, Habitats Regulations Assessment and position statement for Lennox Point in a briefing note produced by Portsmouth City Council.

Lennox Point Briefing Note