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UNESCO recognition for Brighton & Lewes Biosphere

16 June 2014

South Downs from way post (Image copyright Dave Spicer, licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license)

Archaeology South-East has been involved in the recent successful bid for the Brighton & Lewes Biosphere to be recognised as a UNESCO World Biosphere site.

For the first time in almost 40 years a completely new Biosphere site in the UK, and the first ever in south-east England, has been established. The Brighton & Lewes Downs Biosphere was awarded this designation by UNESCO’s International Coordinating Council (ICC) of the ‘Man and the Biosphere’ (MAB) programme, which met in Sweden on 11 June 2014.  It joins a global network of more than 600 “world-class environments” in over 100 countries, and is one of only a handful worldwide to include a city.

The Brighton & Lewes Downs Biosphere area covers 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. The northern boundary of the South Downs National Park marks its northern limits, while it also includes the city of Brighton & Hove and neighbouring towns of Lewes, Newhaven, Peacehaven, Shoreham, Telscombe, Southwick and Shoreham Beach. Extending two nautical miles out to sea, it also includes part of one of the first ‘Marine Conservation Zones’ designated by the Government last year.

Achieving the status of a new World Biosphere site follows six years’ work by the Brighton & Lewes Downs Biosphere partnership to develop its bid. The partnership of some forty organisations, with Brighton & Hove City Council as a lead partner, includes other local authorities, public bodies, voluntary, educational and community organisations and private sector business. Archaeology South-East was a nominated partner of the Brighton bid towards this initiative. 

  • For more information, including a short video on the new Brighton & Lewes Downs Biosphere area, please go to the project website www.biospherehere.org.uk 

Archaeology South-East works with local communities, developers, government agencies, scientific experts and private individuals to make sense of the past, dealing with ancient landscapes but also engaging with the people who live and work in those landscapes today.

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