We’re backing nationwide calls for more ambitious action to protect nature and reduce the impact of climate change on habitats and wildlife.
Council leader Phélim Mac Cafferty has signed the Nature and Climate Declaration, which is bringing together members of the public and elected representatives to push for further and faster action to restore our natural world.
The Nature and Climate Declaration will be publicly launched in Parliament on 10 May.
Further action to protect nature
Councillor Mac Cafferty said: “Our plants and wildlife are under threat like never before, through pollution, loss of habitat and changing weather patterns due to climate change. So it’s vital that we take action locally and nationally to reverse biodiversity loss and create space for nature.
“I’ve signed the Nature and Climate Declaration which commits us to do what we can to halt and reverse biodiversity decline. This supports the work we have been doing to give nature a breathing space in the 2030 Carbon Neutral Programme.
“The context is stark: since World War 2, the country has lost around 80% of grasslands like those found on the South Downs. Over the last two decades, starling numbers have drastically plummeted, with local and national populations dropping by up to 90%.
“We’re proud Brighton & Hove is the only designated urban UNESCO biosphere in the UK and this Declaration supports our commitment to protect and restore the unique habitats of the South Downs and coast.
“Nature is the foundation to heal and restore our relationship with the planet and to help re-set our chaotic climate. We cannot afford to lose our ecosystems and that’s why this Declaration is so important. We all have a part to play to better protect and restore nature now and in the future.”
Brighton & Hove recognised the need to reverse the decline in species by declaring a biodiversity emergency in 2018.
Having the backing of a national Declaration will help bring together local and national experts in a UK-wide effort to rebalance the environment and accelerate work on carbon capture using natural processes.
Biodiversity is the planet’s life support system. In an era of climate change, protecting and restoring nature underpins the health and wellbeing of people as well as wildlife.
What we’re doing
The council is working to improve biodiversity and protect nature through regional partnerships such as The Living Coast Biosphere and the Sussex Local Nature Partnership.
Projects and initiatives include creating a new nature and wildlife habitat on the Eastern seafront, more chalk meadows in the city, planting 8,000 trees and shrubs on Carden Hill and rewilding at Waterhall to restore biodiversity on a former council golf course.
We’ve made it a requirement for new developments over five metres tall to include swift boxes, installing the first ‘bee bus shelter’ in the south of England and distributing 100 starling nesting boxes on council-owned land.
We’re also working with the Aquifer Partnership to make a ‘rainscape’ in Wild Park which will reduce pollution and improve the area for people and nature. This summer we’ll be making more space for nature in our streets through our Wilder Verges scheme.
Find out more from the local biodiversity pages on our website.
City Nature Challenge
We had a fantastic response to the City Nature Challenge which ran from 29 April to 2 May. Residents and visitors in Brighton & Hove and the Eastern Downs recorded more than 4,700 observations of 900 species. More than 240 identifiers and 170 observers took part to record plants and wildlife in their areas to help us study and protect the nature on our doorstep.
The Nature and Climate Declaration
Zero Hour, the campaign group behind the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill, has organised the Nature and Climate Declaration.
The Declaration welcomes the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature, signed by the UK Government, and asks for it to go ‘further and faster’ to restore our natural world by:
- Fulfilling our fair share of emissions reductions to ensure that the average global temperature increase will not exceed 1.5°C
- Halting and reversing biodiversity decline by 2030, and
- Delivering a more ambitious and integrated environmental protection and decarbonisation plan.