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Adur River Restoration Project put at risk

21st November 2022

Letter published by the West Sussex County Times 17 November 2022


Adur River Restoration Project put at risk

Details of the inspirational Adur River Restoration Project, which is one of only 22 nationwide projects to receive funding (£500,000) from Defra, were published online by Horsham District Council on 10 October and reported by the West Sussex County Times 27 October.

Forming an important part of the Wilder Horsham District initiative, the project ‘aims to restore nature, reduce flood risks, improve water quality and boost biodiversity in the River Adur area’, stretching ‘from the Knepp estate to Shoreham, where the river meets the Sussex Bay restoration of the sea beds and kelp forests along the Sussex coast.’

Meanwhile Berkeley Homes has applied to build 1500 dwellings on farmland at Southwater (DC/22/1916).

Horsham District Councillors should be aware that Berkley Homes’ Environmental Statement (ES) for the application, ES Vol 1, Chapter 3: Water Resources, Flood Risk and Drainage, states that:

‘The nearest point where capacity is currently available for reception of flows from the Proposed Development is at Barns Green wastewater treatment works which is located approximately 2 km southwest of the site.’

It fails to mention that in 2021 storm overflows of untreated sewage and storm water from the wastewater treatment works spilled 40 times, discharging into the adjoining Parson’s Brook for a total of 252 hours.


Parson’s Brook is a tributary of the River Adur, and the wastewater treatment works is located within the Adur West Water Body catchment, which has a ‘poor ecological status’, apparently due in large part to pollution from wastewater /sewage discharge.


Sewage received from Berkley Homes’ proposed development would add to overflows of untreated sewage from the Barns Green wastewater treatment works and worsen the river’s existing pollution problem, to the detriment of the Adur River Project, and potentially put kelp forests along the Sussex coast at risk.

To allow this to happen would be unconscionable.

Yours faithfully,

Dr R F Smith

Trustee CPRE Sussex