Sussex councils to lease the Queen’s seabed

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Restoration of the kelp forest could also bring money, with companies and government agencies keen to invest in carbon capture projects to achieve net zero goals.

Kelp forests are important habitats that can also improve water quality and mitigate coastal erosion by reducing wave force.

They have been damaged by fishing methods that involve dragging nets along the seabed. In March, trawling was banned in an area covering more than 100 square miles in an effort to help kelp recover.

Angus Dunn, deputy head of the Adur District Council, said a regenerated kelp forest could be “absolutely massive” for the environment.

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“The majority of the kelp forest was destroyed in 87 in the Great Storm, which swept most of it onto the beach.

“That, along with a change in fishing methods, meant that the kelp was not able to regenerate and therefore is quite bare there.

“We’d love to grow that back. The benefits of the kelp forest are huge – not only does it protect the shoreline, but it provides habitat for spawning and growing fish, and of course carbon.

“Its capacity to store carbon dioxide is enormous, apparently 20 times greater per acre than a forest,” he said.

Councilor Edward Crouch, Executive Member of the Worthing Borough Council for Digital and Environmental Services, said: “This is a potentially revolutionary project that would help us reduce carbon emissions, restore beautiful marine and estuarine habitats. and maybe even create Sussex Bay as a destination. for a whole series of sustainable marine activities.

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“I am proud that this council is part of this project to become the first in the UK to lease Crown seabed for this important environmental project. It shows that we have sustainability at the heart of everything we do. “

Councilor Emma Evans, executive member of the Adur District Council for the Environment, said: “We have a bold vision and that is to see the waters off our coasts and estuaries teeming with marine life at again, growing kelp that will capture tons of global warming carbon and signal that this region is serious about restoring natural beauty while helping the environment.

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The Queen owns the seabed around the UK at a distance of 12 nautical miles from the point of average low water.

The Crown Estate has previously leased offshore areas for wind farm projects and has also granted seabed rights for testing and demonstration of wave and tidal energy.

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