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Biodiversity Action Plan for Sussex

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The Partners

English Nature
English Nature is a Government funded body set up by the Environmental Protection Act 1990. English Nature’s purpose is to promote the conservation of England’s wildlife and natural features. The Biodiversity Action Plan is the most significant nature conservation initiative in the UK. English Nature is committed to achieving the Plan’s nature conservation goals over the next 20 years and beyond, both at a national and local level. English Nature is the national contact for 5 Habitat Action Plans and 29 of the first tranche of Species Action Plans. At a local level, the English Nature Sussex and Surrey Team will deliver both national and Sussex biodiversity targets through the Natural Areas approach.

Environment Agency
The Environment Agency was set up by the Environment Act 1995 and is one of the most powerful environmental regulators in the world. It provides a comprehensive approach to the protection and management of the environment by combining the regulation of land, air and water. The Agency is committed to the UK Biodiversity Action Plan and has significant responsibilities regarding its implementation. Indeed, the success of many of the national species and habitat action plans depends on Agency action. The Agency is the national contact point for 12 species and one habitat where it is responsible for stimulating action to achieve targets, monitor results and report progress to the national Biodiversity Group. In Sussex, the Agency will continue its existing operational and other programmes and ensure that all aspects of the Biodiversity Action Plan are incorporated into Local Environment Agency Plans (LEAPs). In partnership with other organisations, the Agency will carry out conservation projects aimed at delivering both habitat and species biodiversity targets at specific sites.

East Sussex County Council
East Sussex covers an area of about 1700 sq. km (660 sq. miles) and has a population of nearly half a million, most of whom live close to the 76 km (47 miles) of coast. The county is predominantly rural with 63% designated as Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is one of the most wooded counties in England with a substantial proportion of wildlife rich ancient woodland. Other important habitats include the largest continuous area of heathland in the South East (Ashdown Forest), the major wetland of the Pevensey levels and the flower rich grasslands of the Downs. The County Council is responsible for the majority of local authority expenditure in the county and provides services such as education, social services, libraries and transport. It is committed to maintaining and enhancing the biodiversity of the county, employs professional staff in ecology and countryside management and manages a number of country parks and nature reserves.

West Sussex County Council
West Sussex County Council both influences and implements actions relating to Biodiversity. The County Planning Department is responsible for producing the West Sussex Structure Plan and the Minerals and Waste Local Plans. The Department is also responsible for the production and implementation of the West Sussex Nature Conservation and Rural Landscape Strategies through its specialist Ecology and landscape staff and the Countryside Management Unit. The County Council is committed to the principles of Sustainable Development and co-ordinates the West Sussex Local Agenda 21. The land management and advisory functions of the County Planning Department facilitate the implementation of Biodiversity Action Plans through initiatives such as the declaration and management of Local nature Reserves, the identification of Sites of Nature Conservation Importance and the targeting of advice and grant schemes to these sites. The Department implements Local Area Management Plans for the Coastal Plain, the High Weald and the Low Weald, placing emphasis on the involvement of local community action and the development of local partnerships. The County Council supports the work of the three organisations concerned with the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in West Sussex. The partnership production of the Sussex Habitat and Species Action Plans will further focus the work of the County Council towards achieving a common agenda for Biodiversity Action in West Sussex.

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)
The RSPB is the charity that takes action for wild birds and the environment. It is the largest wildlife conservation organisation in Europe with over one million members and is part of the global partnership of bird and habitat conservation organisations called BirdLife International. In addition to involvement in land use planning, policy development, scientific research and environmental education, the RSPB manages over 140 nature reserves throughout the UK covering more than 100,000 hectares. The RSPB’s Regional Office for South East England is in Brighton.

Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG)
FWAG is an independent organisation which works with farmers and landowners to identify, protect and enhance wildlife habitats and the landscape within a profitable farming system. FWAG is a nationally registered charity with county groups each employing professional advisers. Sussex FWAG has the equivalent of 2.5 full-time advisers who make visits at the request of the farmer. The farm visit leads to a confidential Landwise report which highlights the farm’s environmental assets, suggests opportunities for habitat management and creation, and outlines an action plan based on the farmer’s own long-term objectives.

The Sussex Wildlife Trust
The Sussex Wildlife Trust is an independent wildlife charity with the general aim of helping the people and organisations in the County to enjoy, understand and take action to conserve Sussex wildlife and its habitats. It has over 10,000 members and enjoys the support of a very large number of volunteers, making it the largest organisation to cover all aspects of nature conservation in the county. The Trust manages 38 nature reserves, covering about 3,000 acres, and including examples of the major habitats to be found across Sussex. In addition the Trust has an education department, which is very active in encouraging links between people and wildlife and is active in conservation policy matters, endeavouring to promote a better deal for our environment from policy and decision makers. The Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre is based at the Sussex Wildlife Trust.

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