Tipner West

Tagged with: Casework status: Open Casework type: Construction Casework type: Marine Casework type: Plans Site designations: Ramsar site Site designations: SPA Site designations: SSSI
Dark-bellied Brent Geese | The RSPB flock over the Essex coast


Proposals for more than 3,500 new houses and a marine hub at Tipner West, located in the north-east corner of Portsmouth Harbour.

Portsmouth Harbour is one of the largest expanses of mudflats and tidal creeks on the south coast of Britain and provides vital feeding grounds for internationally important populations of dark-bellied brent geese, dunlin and black-tailed godwits, as well as other wintering waders. It is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, Special Protection Area and Ramsar Site in recognition of its importance.

The proposals will destroy more than 27ha of Portsmouth Harbour's protected intertidal habitats, as well as 3ha of protected land which is used by roosting birds and an additional area of undesignated but 'functionally linked' grassland used by foraging brent geese. These habitats are already under increasing pressure from coastal squeeze, rising sea level and poor water quality.

Providing significant new housing within Portsmouth is challenging as there is limited land available and the existing infrastructure is already under pressure. However, to destroy part of Portsmouth's natural assets is unsustainable and would be to the detriment of the people of Portsmouth. This is a fantastic natural asset and should be valued not just for its intrinsic value but for its importance to people.

We are in a climate and ecological emergency. In addition to their value for nature these habitats provide an important function helping to protect Portsmouth from erosion and provide natural carbon storage. Given the threats of climate change and rising sea levels these proposals are wholly inappropriate and would be extremely costly both financially and environmentally.

Dunlin wading, summer plumage, Snettisham RSPB reserve

Why is it worth fighting for?

Portsmouth Harbour is recognised internationally for its saltmarsh and vast expanses of mudflats and tidal creeks that provide shelter and a rich source of food for thousands of dark bellied brent geese and other waterbirds that visit here in search of warmer winter climes from their breeding grounds as far afield as Siberia and Greenland.

Whilst the need for housing is acknowledged this is totally the wrong place for these proposals. With the threats of climate change and global biodiversity collapse there has never been a worse time to consider development with such significant impacts. If consented it would also set a very damaging precedent threating the protection of all of our most important natural sites across the country.

It is essential that sustainable development is built in harmony with nature. We cannot keep trying to squeeze nature into smaller and smaller spaces and treat everything as replaceable. Once these sites are lost, they are gone forever.


How you can help

We are asking you to show your opposition to these damaging proposals by registering your objection on our joint action form with The Wildlife Trusts here.

Our position

The RSPB is extremely concerned about the proposals to reclaim significant internationally designated intertidal habitats at Tipner West for housing and a marine hub. This is one of the most significant threats to wildlife from a development we have seen in recent times, not just locally but nationally. Portsmouth Harbour is of international importance, especially for its wintering waterbirds, such as brent geese, black tailed godwits and other wading birds. The development will destroy vital feeding and roosting grounds as well as causing long-term disturbance to any wildlife that remains.

We are working together with Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust to object in the strongest terms to these proposals and highlight that these proposals are not acceptable in the context of the current ecological and climate crises. We do not consider that it is possible for Portsmouth City Council to meet the strict tests that would allow such harm to an international site such as Portsmouth Harbour Special Protection Area - that there are no other less damaging alternatives for the provision of housing and that the need for this development is imperative for reasons of overriding public interest.



  • September 2021
    Portsmouth City Council open a new public consultation on their draft local plan which is open until 31 October 2021.

  • March 2018
    We responded to Portsmouth City Council’s Tipner Strategic Development Area Consultation expressing our strongest objection to the reclamation of part of Portsmouth Harbour SPA and Ramsar site.