Bid to win Lewes downland international status


EVERYONE appreciates the Downs above Lewes are special. Soon they could be extra special.

Tuesday saw the launch of a bid to become a Unesco ‘site of excellence’ – known as a biosphere reserve.

Members of the Sussex Wildlife Trust, Lewes District Council and the Biosphere project team took to the hills at Mill Road, Lewes, to raise awareness of a scheme which would embrace the Lewes Downs and Brighton and Hove.

The biosphere is the world in which we live and share with other things – the zone of life around our planet – for which Unesco is developing a global network of biosphere reserves which promote a balanced relationship between people and nature. These are real world-class natural environments.

Robbie Robertson, Lead Councillor for Community Engagement and Health and Environment at Lewes District Council, said: “The biosphere bid is seeking to gain international recognition for the good work that already takes place in the area. It will also enable the partnership to attract funding to improve our environment and to join up current work and activities. The international accreditation will also help with tourism (economy), education and research as well as the more obvious health and environmental benefits.”

Trevor Beattie, Chief Executive of the South Downs National Park Authority, said: “We are proud to be a partner in the Brighton and Lewes ‘Here Here’ campaign to get international recognition for this special part of the South Downs.

“More than 1.97 million people live in and around Britain’s newest National Park and the biosphere will help us show why the South Downs are so important to them. Not just in providing drinking water, food and access to beautiful places and unique wildlife.

“We need the support of people in cities to care for these landscapes but in return the National Park can make a great difference to the health and well-being of people in towns. This inter-dependence is exactly what a biosphere reserve is all about.”

Micheal Blencowe, of Sussex Wildlife Trust, said: “I am thrilled that the biosphere will encompass the Lewes area which is so important for wildlife and landscape.”