Non-native plants cleared from SSSI site on Hayling Island

An area of non-native plants has been cleared from the Sinah Common Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) on Hayling Island using the Welcome Back Fund.

The area, which Havant Borough Council (HBC) maintains, had been surveyed by an ecologist and areas featuring rare wildlife and nationally important plants were identified as being at risk from non-native invasive species.

Officers from HBC and Coastal Partners worked together to plan the work - approved by Natural England - which was carried out by Norse South East during the last week of February, ahead of bird nesting season.

The work has created clear spaces, enhancing the natural habitat, and removing brambles and holm oaks from among the gorse. The area will be monitored over the summer period and it is intended that HBC will work with volunteer conservation groups moving forward to clear further areas in autumn 2022.

Councillor Clare Satchwell, Havant Borough Council Cabinet Lead for Planning, Hayling Seafront Strategy and Coastal Management (Coastal Partners), said:

“This part of Hayling Island is very important to the local ecology and keeping it free of species of plant that do not grow there naturally will help protect the rare wildlife and plants on the site.

“If this pilot scheme proves to be successful, we look forward to working with local conservation groups as we expand maintenance of the SSSI in the future.”

The funding for the clearance came from the European Development Regional Fund (ERDF) Welcome Back Fund, made available to local authorities by the UK Government as part of the Covid-19 response, which aims to support the high street and tourist attractions in welcoming back shoppers and visitors.

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