Our Biosphere - it's nearly here!

by Rich Howorth Designation

We will find out very soon if our proposed Biosphere area is to become a new international Biosphere site. The decision will be taken when the United Nations body UNESCO meets in Sweden next month (10-13th June) to award the prestigious accolade to new proposed areas worldwide, including we hope our very own! The Brighton & Lewes Downs Biosphere partnership has spent six years developing our bid proposal, which we submitted to UNESCO in September last year, resulting in some favourable feedback. Once approved, our Biosphere will be the first completely new site in the UK in almost forty years, as well as being the only such area in south-east England, and one of just a handful that include major urban settlements worldwide! An international Biosphere area would bring the three environments here of downs, towns and coast together under a flagship initiative to not only look after and improve the natural environment, but also better engage people in the nature on their doorsteps and promote action to reduce the environmental impacts of our lifestyles. The aim is to become a “world-class environment”, as part of an international network spanning some 600 sites in over 100 countries that share best practice and bring people and nature together while seeking to balance the needs of both. The Biosphere bid is being led by Brighton & Hove City Council, working in partnership with some forty organisations including other local authorities and public bodies, and voluntary, educational and private sector bodies also. The proposed Brighton & Lewes Downs Biosphere will cover all of the land and near-shore coastal waters between the two rivers of the Adur in the west and the Ouse in the east, so includes the South Downs National Park block here as well as the city of Brighton & Hove and neighbouring towns of Lewes, Newhaven, Peacehaven, Shoreham, Telscombe, Southwick and Shoreham Beach. Chris Todd, the Chair of the Biosphere partnership, says; “We are now very close to realising the result of six years’ strenuous effort by numerous local bodies and individuals, and are keeping everything crossed for a positive outcome (expected on 11th June,) from when our efforts to look after and improve our local environment will take a place on the world stage”. Jeremy Burgess, Eastern Downs Area Manager for the South Downs National Park and Vice Chair of the Biosphere partnership, said: “In the Biosphere we want enhancing quality of life, the local economy and the environment to develop hand-in-hand and this international recognition would help to attract more people and funding to promote and research how we can achieve this.”

Comments

  • David Melville:

    Delighted and proud.

    Southover, Eco-congregation team, LEWES.

    D

    15 Jun 2014 06:00:13

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