First Birthday for our Biosphere!

by Sarah Dobson Designation Author - Rich Howorth Sustainability

Successful first year for pioneering Biosphere

The Brighton & Lewes Downs Biosphere is now a year old and can look back at 12 months of pioneering a positive future for people and nature.

The Biosphere – an area of land and coastal waters between the rivers Adur and Ouse covering 389 square kilometres – was officially recognised by UNESCO on 11 June 2014. With the city of Brighton and Hove at its heart, it joined a unique global network of over 600 international demonstration areas across 100 countries.

Since its official launch last year, the Biosphere has developed new partnerships, improved the natural environment, organised a campaign of community engagement and provided more opportunities for local people and visitors to experience its special nature.

Paula Murray, chair of the Biosphere Board, says “We want to build on the success of our first year through more innovative major projects, novel partnerships and greater community engagement. Our aim is to sustainably improve our environment, our relationship with it and ourselves too.”

The work of the Biosphere programme has successfully:

  • Worked with Brighton & Hove City Council’s Cityparks team and the University of Sussex to create new wildflower areas for bees and butterflies in Brighton, including a new ‘bee-bed’ at The Level
  • Created fun and stimulating educational programmes for children including a virtual world of the Biosphere based on the popular computer game, Minecraft
  • Developed projects with a range of public and private bodies to reduce impacts of flooding and to improve the quality of our drinking water from the chalk downs
  • Worked with Visit Brighton to develop a 'Best of our Biosphere' guide for visitors and local people, as well as a host of new materials for promotional and educational purposes

The Biosphere Partnership of some 40 local organisations aspires to not just enhance the environment but also to raise the profile and awareness of how special our area is with both residents and visitors, as a key foundation for the local economy too.

Murray says, “We have established a Biosphere Board that will work with the Greater Brighton Economic Board to take forward a programme of new projects that deliver for both people and the environment, for example by diversifying our visitor offer to include eco-tourism.”

Gill Mitchell, Brighton & Hove City Council’s lead member for the environment and transport said, “The Biosphere has created the perfect opportunity to increase awareness of the precious resource on our doorstep and how we can enjoy and contribute to caring for our world-class environment for years to come.”

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