Cockshut stream partnership will create new wetland in Lewes

Cabinet councillors from Lewes District Council were out in the field in Lewes this week, to see how plans for the realignment of a local stream and the creation of a new wetland habitat are progressing.

The project is a partnership between the council, Ouse and Adur Rivers Trust, Lewes Railway Land Wildlife Trust and South Downs National Park Authority and will bring huge biodiversity benefits and reduce flood risk in the area.

Adjacent to the Lewes Brooks, the Cockshut is a chalk stream that is currently clogged up by a non-native invasive plant called parrot’s feather.

By realigning the stream , the old channel can be filled in, eradicating the problem plant, and the stream will flow into a newly created wetland.

Councillor Matthew Bird, Cabinet Member for Sustainability, said: “Instigating nature-based solutions to climate change is a vital part of our plans. The creation of this new habitat will help support wildlife and nature at a time when they are facing huge threats and ensure that this landscape is resilient to flooding and other climate change impacts.”

Planning permission for the project was recently secured and council officers are now working with partners finalising the funding requirements and working through the planning conditions.

Councillor Julie Carr, Cabinet Member for Recycling, Waste and Open Spaces, said: “It is no surprise there is growing excitement around this project when you consider the host of benefits that it will bring - not just the improvements in biodiversity, but also the opportunities for residents to enjoy visiting the area and seeing nature thrive on a clear chalk stream as it meanders through the landscape.”