Pic: South Downs in Sussex
UNESCO, the UN cultural and scientific organisation, has officially announced they have recognised Brighton & Hove and the surrounding area as a ‘Biosphere’.
This is the first such designation in the UK for forty years.
‘Brighton and Lewes Downs Biosphere’ includes a range of environments, and is one of only a handful of Biosphere sites across the world that include urban areas.
The accolade celebrates recent and planned work to better connect people to nature in city, downs and marine environments.
The Biosphere area includes some globally unique and rich environments such as chalk grassland on the South Downs, vegetated shingle beaches, and undersea chalk reefs.
It’s also home to more than 200 species internationally recognised as in need of conservation.
The successful bid, led by the Biosphere and Lewes Downs Biosphere Partnership and initiated by the Green-led Brighton & Hove City Council, is also supported by organisations as diverse as the city’s two universities, Brighton & Hove Allotment Federation, Jury’s Inn Hotel and Southern Railway.
Councillor Pete West, Chair of the Environment Transport & Sustainability Committee, said, “I’ve always been struck by the pride in local people have in our special environment, so I’m delighted that we’ve been granted what I see as the natural equivalent of a world heritage site.
“It’s about more than just the green spaces over in the national park, and protecting against climate change, it’s also about increasing biodiversity within our city for all our benefit.
“We’re already encouraging wildlife in our parks and green spaces for example but our ongoing work and the attention this award brings will attract visitors and increased investment to our region, especially in the eco-tourism field.
“We’re extremely proud to be the world’s first One Planet City, and with the Biosphere status, this adds to our ambitious work on sustainability.
“But it also gives us a fantastic opportunity to raise more awareness about our local environment, puts us on the world map as a place to visit and invest, and opens the door to attracting more funding into the city.
“Our Biosphere will help everyone learn about and enjoy the wealth of nature on our doorsteps, and set us up for exciting opportunities ahead, and I’d like to welcome anyone interested in the project to come along to The Sussex Festival of Nature at Stanmer Park on Sunday 22nd June.”
For more information please contact Brighton and Hove Green Party on 01273 766 670.
*A Biosphere is an area internationally-recognised by UNESCO as a leader in balancing conservation and development. The Brighton and Lewes Downs Biosphere is the block of land and sea between the River Adur at Shoreham in the west and the River Ouse at Newhaven in the east.
*Biosphere status involves recognising wildlife across the downs, city and coast, but also balancing nature with sustainable human development.