Protecting and restoring nature 

One of the pleasures of living in Brighton & Hove is being part of the spectacular geography, geology and biodiversity of the coast, downland and urban open spaces on our doorsteps. 

These precious habitats, with their unique plants and wildlife, are under threat, through pollution, loss of habitat and changing weather patterns due to climate change. Wildlife and habitats are being lost at an alarming rate. 

Nature is the foundation to heal and restore our planet and to regulate climate as it has been doing for millennia. It provides crucial services that we cannot do without, with healthy ecosystems delivering essential benefits for people and wildlife alike.  

For example, healthy soil, plants and trees ‘capture’ carbon or pollution,filter run-off from heavy rainfall and provide essential food, nutrition and refuge for wildlife including pollinators. Invisible fungal networks work silently beneath our feet to underpin ecological processes.   

Biodiversity is also vital to the food system. Food security depends on healthy soil, water and abundant nature. 

All this alongside providing us much needed colour, vibrancy and joy – connection to nature and the natural world helps us to live fulfilled and healthy lives. 

We all have a part to play to better protect and restore the natural habitats and wildlife in our area.  

“The aim is not to restore the land to some historic condition, but to support a recovery from historic loss, fragmentation and degradation. As recovery progresses and natural processes become re-established, landscapes will become more ecologically resilient, with the capacity to adapt to future change.” 

- Herbert S, Hotchkiss A, Reid C and Hornigold K (2022) Woodland creation guide, Woodland Trust.

What biodiversity is 

Biodiversity is all life on earth – varied and completely interconnected and interlinked.  

It is the planet’s and our life support system; without pollinators we would have little food; without plants we would have no air to breathe and without many of the functions of our ecosystems we will no longer enjoy a stable climate. Many of our medicines and materials come from plants. 

Biodiversity includes the tiny organisms we can’t see that work together to clean air, water and restore soil. Read more about why soil microbes matter on the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology website.  

Brighton & Hove recognised the need to reverse the decline in species by declaring a biodiversity emergency in 2018. 

The Living Coast 

We’re proud to be lead partner of the only designated urban biosphere in the UK. 

The Living Coast is Brighton and Lewes Downs UNESCO World Biosphere region. It covers an area between Newhaven and Shoreham-by-Sea in Sussex. It celebrates local landscapes, from the chalk grasslands of the South Downs to the chalk-and-shingle coast and majestic elms lining the streets of Brighton & Hove.  

UNESCO recognises the The Living Coast Biosphere for its commitment to:  

  • nature conservation 
  • sustainable development 
  • environmental education and awareness 

Brighton Beach and Brighton Palace Pier at sunset. Starling murmurations over the pier.

Starling Murmuration Photo courtesy of The Living Coast

It is a living laboratory where partnerships, collaborative projects and new approaches seek to explore and understand how people and nature can flourish together now and in the future. 

The Living Coast supports many environmental projects in the area, aimed at helping protect local biodiversity for the benefit of all - local communities and visitors, human and non-human. 

Local projects