From Rio to Sussex




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People and Wildlife: Biodiversity Action Plan for the Urban Areas of Sussex

David Wright)

1. Introduction and Definition

One of the most urgent environmental problems we are facing in the 21st Century is the loss of global biodiversity. As 90% of the population live in cities, towns and villages, it is here that this loss will have the most impact on our quality of life. The increasing density and the intensity of urban living has a major impact on the environment and our use of natural resources. Although we are part of the problem, we are also part of the solution. People and Wildlife: Biodiversity Action Plan for the Urban Areas of Sussex sets out the action necessary to maintain and enhance the variety of life all around us.

The underlying principle of People and Wildlife (Sussex Urban BAP) is that a healthy environment is an essential requirement for both our quality of life and for wildlife. We can achieve this through changing our attitudes and actions towards the natural environment within our everyday lives by:

* Encouraging everyone to make environmentally informed decisions as our actions can and do affect the environment;
* Looking at actions we can take as individuals or as members of a community based group, part of a school or college, employer or employee of a business or as decision-makers who help shape local policies;
* Recognising that biodiversity is an essential indicator of the health of the environment and hence our quality of life.

The Government has made clear the links between biodiversity, quality of life and sustainable development. These broad environmental themes are being addressed at both a national and local level through Community Plans, Sustainable Development Strategies and Local Agenda 21 initiatives. The Sussex Urban BAP can contribute towards this broader picture.

'Biodiversity is a quality of life issue. It is an integral part of our surroundings, giving us pleasure, interest, knowledge and understanding. It is an aspect of the overall aim of sustainable development to ensure a decent quality of life for all, now and for generations to come, and will be one key test of the success of this aim'.
Making Biodiversity Happen (2000)

The Sussex Urban BAP provides a framework for local action and the rest of the document will concentrate on what can be achieved in the urban areas of Sussex.

The Sussex Urban BAP is part of the Sussex Biodiversity Partnerships Habitat and Species Action Planning process. It provides a strategic framework and highlights the main issues with broad targets and actions that cover the urban areas. The local Biodiversity Actions Plans at a district, borough, parish or neighbourhood level will identify much of the specific detail and ensure practical delivery of the targets.

The Sussex Urban BAP deals with inter-related themes that can be either incorporated or implemented alongside Community Plans, Sustainable Development Strategies and Local Agenda 21 initiatives. The development of local partnerships is an important mechanism to help achieve the ambitious targets and actions in the Sussex Urban BAP.

The Sussex Urban BAP aims to:

* Broaden and deepen understanding of sustainable development and the role that biodiversity plays, through all sectors of society;
* Encourage partnerships to implement biodiversity targets in all urban areas,
* Safeguard and manage biodiversity;
* Encourage key policy frameworks for urban regeneration where the protection and enhancement of biodiversity is a key priority;
* Encourage people to take more environmentally informed decisions;
* Support the delivery of environmental action at the local level;
* Promote an urban environment where quality of life and quality of environment are integral.

Everyone can join in with the actions to help make them happen and to improve the environment for themselves and for future generations.

1.1 Definition of the Urban Areas of Sussex

The definition of urban areas is broad to cover all areas of human settlement in Sussex. 'Urban areas' are regarded as:

* All places where there are concentrations of people and associated development such as roads and infrastructure.

The biodiversity in urban areas will therefore include:

* A complex mosaic of semi-natural and artificial habitat types, many of which are covered in other individual Habitat Action Plans (HAPs). This includes urban woodland included in the Woodland HAP and urban greenspaces that are not covered in other plans.

The Sussex Urban BAP encompasses all actions that are relevant to species, habitats and their connection with people within urban areas.

However, the Sussex Urban BAP is as much to do with people's attitudes and life style as with the bricks and mortar.

2. Current Status and Distribution

The population of Sussex is approximately 1.6 million people however, there is an uneven distribution pattern across the two counties. Current settlement patterns reflect the underlying landscape with an estimated 80% of the population living in the urban areas along the coastal plain, which only covers about 12% of the land area (Sussex Wildlife Trust, 1996). This includes the city of Brighton and Hove, and large towns such as Hastings, Bexhill, Eastbourne, Newhaven, Shoreham-by-Sea, Worthing and Bognor Regis.

The Wealden area in the north and centre of the two counties is still a largely rural landscape with a large number of villages. However, there are several large towns on the main roads A22, M23 and A24 with a significant conurbation based on Crawley near Gatwick Airport in the north of West Sussex.

The urban areas of Sussex are characterised mainly by housing development. There is little primary industry in Sussex, although there are significant industrial estates for example at Crawley, Littlehampton, Burgess Hill and Uckfield as well as active ports at Shoreham and Newhaven.

There is a daily flux of population within Sussex and a large number of people commuting to London and elsewhere in the southeast. Many of the villages in the rural areas act as 'dormitories' for commuters working in nearby towns and London. This creates added pressure for road and rail transport infrastructure, which can be both a threat to existing habitats, and an opportunity for green links, allowing wildlife to colonise new transport corridors.

The urban resource can be measured by the extent of the 'development area' boundary determined by every Local Authority in Sussex. However, within urban areas there is a matrix of greenspace, corridors, open areas and wedges leading into the surrounding countryside. For example, in Hastings, as much as 40% of the land is recognised as a 'green network' of semi natural habitats such as ancient woodlands, scrub, reedbeds and informal open space such as parks, cemeteries and allotments.

The amount of urban greenspace will vary between settlements. However, it represents a significant resource as a refuge for wildlife and for increasing the contact between people and their natural environment. It can be categorised as follows:

2.1 Original/Old Habitats Remaining After Development

Where urban areas have developed on or beside original habitats there may be valuable fragments left behind in amongst development. For example:

* Ancient woodland at Churchwood and at Old Roar Gill in Alexandra Park, Hastings;
* Reedbeds at Filsham, Hastings;
* Vegetated shingle beach, Shoreham-by-Sea.

Wildlife associated with the old/original habitats now encapsulated by the urban development include:

* Bluebell and great spotted woodpecker in ancient woodland;
* Yellow horned poppy and sea kale on vegetated shingle.

2.2 Remnants of Past Agricultural Systems Near or Within the Urban Areas [top]

Urban areas have often been built on land managed under a particular agricultural system. Changes in modern farming have led to the disappearance of many past agricultural practices in the surrounding countryside, leaving the remnant habitats contained within urban areas.

The decline of some plants and animals once commonly found in the countryside has increased the value of populations living in urban areas, for example:

* Frog, toad and great crested newt populations making use of ponds in gardens.

Many of our towns are on the edge of the Downs that have been managed under an extensive grazing agricultural system. Local examples of remaining unimproved chalk downland in urban areas are found at:

* Bevendean Down and Whitehawk Hill in Brighton;
* Cissbury Ring on the edge of Worthing.

Remnants of hay meadows are found in the Weald at:

* Bedelands Farm, on the edge of Burgess Hill.

The changes in agricultural practice, particularly in the last 50 years, have had a major impact on biodiversity in the countryside.

2.3 Intensively Managed Areas - Parks, Gardens, Allotments, Churchyards and Cemeteries

These contain a variety of habitats that could include trees, grassland, hedgerows and ponds. Local examples found at Hotham Park in Bognor Regis and Preston Park in Brighton and Hove. The nature conservation value can be reduced through intensive management practices and over-use of pesticides. However, the more highly managed formal parks and gardens often retain a great deal of wildlife interest that could be enhanced by a change in management.

2.4 Informal Open Spaces and Derelict Land - Greenspaces, Roadside Verges and Waste-land

Although not original habitats, there are often informal areas of open space perhaps containing scrubby or grassy vegetation that have colonised an area naturally. These could include roadside verges and waste land on which plant communities have developed. This will include derelict or disused land, often referred to as a 'Brownfield site'. These are mostly unmanaged areas that have been naturally colonised by opportunistic plants called 'ruderals' and that have the potential to provide unique associations between local wildlife, habitats and people that are not found in the countryside. An excellent example is the Railway Land Local Nature Reserve in Lewes.

2.5 Species and Habitats Associated with the Urban Areas of Sussex

There are plant and animal species closely associated with the urban areas of Sussex for example, birds such as swifts and house martins that build their nests on houses. Other species, although widespread in both town and country, may have a particular resonance with people, for example badgers, foxes and some butterfly species commonly found in gardens. Some lichen species can provide an indication of the air quality within an urban environment.

The relevance of the plant or animal species will vary in different parts of Sussex, reflecting the character of the local habitats. In Brighton and Hove considerable effort over many years has maintained a high population of English Elm trees in contrast to other parts of Sussex.

The UK Biodiversity group has identified national priority species for example song thrush and different bat species that occur in urban areas. In Sussex, there are examples of national priority habitats such as heathland, chalk grassland, ancient woodlands and other habitats that have been absorbed into urban areas and continue to act as important refuges for both rare and common species.

The following list gives some examples of Priority Species and Species of Conservation Concern identified by the UK Biodiversity group found in the urban areas of Sussex.

* Priority Species
great crested newt Triturus cristatus*
pipistrelle Pipistrellus pipistrellus*
song thrush Turdus philomelos
stag beetle Lucanus cervus*
water vole Arvicola terrestris*

* Species of Conservation Concern
badger Meles meles
black redstart Phoenicurus ochruros
brown-long eared bat Plecotus auritus
common frog Rana temporaria
common toad Bufo bufo
hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus
house martin Delichon urbica
kestrel Falco tinnunculus
noctule Nyctalus noctula
pied wagtail Motacilla alba yarrellii
spotted flycatcher Muscicapa striata

* Local Priority Species (identified by the Sussex Biodiversity Partnership)
swift Apus apus*

* Species Action Plan to be produced by the Sussex Biodiversity Partnership.


3. Importance of Biodiversity in the Urban Areas of Sussex [top]

Human activity has had a major impact upon the range and the number of plant and animal species in the United Kingdom. This is particularly acute in urban areas where the pressure for development and land uptake is greatest. In the last 50 years urbanisation has resulted in significant losses of habitat and species, together with increased industrial development, expanding transport networks and pollution of air, water and soil.

Following Government guidance there are three key issues which have to be addressed in urban biodiversity:

* Conserve and enhance, as far as possible, the variety of flora and fauna found in urban areas, particularly if those species or habitats are of national importance;
* Ensure there is a full policy framework within relevant sectors to ensure that the biodiversity of urban areas is fully integrated within statutory policy documents;
* Ensure that the principles of sustainable development are implicit within all urban development plans.

Towns and cities in Sussex provide the environment where people are most likely to encounter biodiversity. Local parks, woods and green spaces bring experiences of the natural world which can be familiar and commonplace but nonetheless an integral part of daily life. Private gardens themselves, cumulatively, represent one of the largest amounts of green space in urban areas and can be very important for local urban biodiversity.

'Parks and private gardens can be important for wildlife and are the main day to day contact points with wildlife for most of the population. Given the right conditions, wildlife can thrive in towns. This can help to raise awareness for the natural world and a concern for its conservation.'
UK Biodiversity Action Plan, 1994

Interest in gardening for wildlife is growing rapidly. The aggregate area of domestic gardens nationally is believed to be approximately two million ha, an area far greater than all the nature reserves combined. Gardens are providing a valuable habitat for many native plant and animal species in urban areas. There is substantial scope through providing information to gardeners for increasing the capacity of gardens to support a greater variety of native species.

It is vital that everyone who lives in an urban area is able to appreciate biodiversity and incorporate this appreciation into changed behaviour, in order that biodiversity reaches the very centre of human populations.

3.1 Biodiversity and Development

The Town and Country Planning System, together with current legislation and Government Strategies have a crucial role to play in influencing and conserving biodiversity in urban areas. The continuing expansion of urban development remains a key and significant threat to biodiversity in town and cities.

* National Planning Policy Guidance

Current Government Guidance on the control of development is enshrined within the Town and Country Planning Act and the subsequent Planning Policy Guidance Notes. Nature conservation issues are covered by Planning Policy Guidance Note 9 or PPG9, which is currently being reviewed by Government. Revisions will improve integration of biodiversity issues into the planning process and promote a wider ethos of sustainable development.

All parts of PPG9 must be taken into account by Local Planning Authorities when reviewing development plans and may be material to decisions on individual planning applications and appeals.

* Regional Planning Guidance

The Regional Planning Guidance for the South East, covered by RPG9, was published by the Government Office for the South East in March 2001. This sets out the regional objectives and policies underpinning strategic development in the South East region and includes all of Sussex.

The vision stated in RPG9 is of 'encouraging economic success throughout the Region, ensuring a higher quality of environment with management of natural resources, opportunity and equity for the Region's population, and a more sustainable pattern of development'.

The Sussex Urban BAP echoes that vision and is aimed at assisting in the implementation of those principles.

RPG9 must be taken into account by Local Planning Authorities in preparing development plans and may be material to decisions on individual planning applications and appeals.

* Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, CRoW

The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 is the most significant piece of wildlife legislation to be passed since the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act. Together, the two statutes provide for the protection of wildlife and outline the key responsibilities for wildlife protection and conservation.

Part III of the CRoW Act amends the law relating to nature conservation and the protection of wildlife, and includes provision on the conservation of biodiversity and the protection of Sites of Special Scientific Interest. There are specific duties on public bodies, such as Local Authorities, to further the conservation and enhancement of the special features for which SSSIs are notified.

* Development

PPG9 is the main planning tool for integrating biodiversity into the development control process. In urban areas the integration of biodiversity goes well beyond the designated site system as there may be areas of wildlife interest that are not designated wildlife sites.

The key to conserving biodiversity through the planning process is to encourage the adoption of alternative approaches to developments that mitigate against biodiversity damage and create new biodiversity opportunities and enhancement.

There are currently no minimum standards covering the quality of action to be taken for nature conservation purposes in the development context. This applies to the scope of information required or requested prior to the submission of a planning application. Also to the scope and extent of ecological information after or accompanying the submission of a planning application. Finally to the details relating to mitigation, protection and monitoring during and after the development period. This is clearly compounded by the lack of expertise in most Local Authorities to either request such information or to assess it if it is received.

The Association of Local Government Ecologists and English Nature has produced a publication aimed at addressing this need for minimum standards. 'Developing Naturally' by Mike Oxford, provides clear guidance on the information required before, during and after the application process (Appendix 2). The publication provides model planning conditions (Oxford M.J. 2000, pp.22-30) and legal agreements for the protection and enhancement of biodiversity in development control (Oxford M.J. 2000, pp.31-33). Every Local Planning Department should have access to these standards.

* Local Plans

The provision for the protection of biodiversity locally is enshrined within either unitary development or local plans. This provides Local Authorities with the policy framework covering future strategic initiatives and development control.

It is incumbent on all planning authorities to provide a rigorous policy framework for the protection of local biodiversity and provide clear guidance on the information required to assess planning applications and state exactly where development will not be permitted.

There are some examples of local authorities introducing a policy framework to protect biodiversity as part of the current and emerging Structure Plans and Local Plans in Sussex.

4. Importance of Biodiversity for People, Local Community and Cultural Significance

'People need nature. With all the stresses and strains of urban living we feel better for it'
From 'A Space for Nature' (English Nature, 1996).

Pubic awareness of environmental issues and biodiversity is essential if biodiversity in urban areas is to be sustained in the long term. Recent research shows that concern for the environment in the public mind ranks alongside unemployment, crime, health and education as one of the significant problems facing the nation today.

Nevertheless communication will be a key issue in promoting biodiversity, especially to the young and the disadvantaged. Without communication aimed at engaging people in local biodiversity and the complimentary issues of social inclusion, health and education, the future of biodiversity in urban areas will not be sustained.

Within Sussex about 10% of the population are members of an environmental organisation. Creating the opportunities for local people to have contact with nature at first hand is vital in building interest, support and understanding of biodiversity. It is the interest of people in preserving their local wildlife that can bring about changes in policy and local development priorities.

Green tourism and the accumulated income to communities, local economies and the benefits which such incomes can bring to enhanced management for biodiversity is a resource that is surprisingly underdeveloped in urban Sussex.

4.1 Social Benefits, Recreation and Health

* Greenspaces provide a connection with wildlife and the natural environment that is increasingly lost in modern society.
* Everyday contact with nature is important for well being and quality of life, can help reduce stress and improve both physical and emotional health.
* BAPs can play a key role in implementing Community Strategies and successful regeneration programmes that can help encourage contact and understanding of nature.
* Greenspaces help bring communities together and stimulate local action to improve their local area and in so doing foster a sense of pride in the local area.
* Recreational activities relying on biodiversity are of increasing economic value to local communities. The South Downs is estimated to receive 32 million visits every year.
* There are links developing between environment and health initiatives for example the Green Gym and Healthy Walks. A pilot project combining the two schemes is planned for Hastings in 2001, and a Green Gym was set up in Portslade in 1999.
* Clean rivers and beaches are good for public health as well as biodiversity. The recovery from operations has been shown to be quicker for hospital patients who have access to a natural view of greenery rather than buildings.

4.2 Environmental Health

* Biodiversity provides a range of associated benefits to urban areas. Trees filter noise and air pollution, and reedbeds can filter out water pollution in towns. Trees have in fact been shown to remove over 10 tonnes of damaging particulates daily whilst in tests in Nottingham it is calculated that trees reduce the concentration of sulphur and nitrogen dioxides by up to 5%.
* There is increasing evidence of the wide range of benefits that trees and woodlands provide for people. In an urban environment, trees can save up to 10% of energy consumption through their moderation of the local climate. They also stabilise the soil, prevent erosion, reduce the effects of air pollution & storm-water run-off and aid land reclamation.

4.3 Culture and Inspiration

* There are strong traditional links between people and the environment reflected in art, literature, music, religion, folklore, features on buildings and the names of pubs, streets and towns.
* The shape of the landscape and natural features has strongly influenced settlement patterns.

* The past management of natural resources has shaped the present day countryside and has influenced many of the locations of villages and towns.

5. Benefits to the Local Economy

The importance of the environment is recognised in 'Building a World Class Region' an economic strategy produced by the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA).

* Extent and quality of greenspace can improve the townscape and influence the choice of location by businesses.
* Natural features can provide economic benefits for example; hedgerows can provide a screen as a windbreak, insulation, shade and a barrier to deter crime. Natural watercourses facilitate the movement of water between places and provide the capacity to store excess water.
* Farmers markets encourage local production and help to meet the increasing demand for organic produce reducing the distance that food is transported from producer to consumer.
* Biodiversity can contribute to the economy in local areas providing revenue and jobs thereby raising the quality of life.

In other areas of Britain a biodiversity rich environment has proved economically beneficial for example, in Scotland during 1996 marine wildlife tourism brought in £57 million to the local economy. In the South West of England 100,000 people are employed in environmental-related activity, contributing £1.6 billion to the region's economy (5-10% of the South West region's GDP). The Norfolk coast attracts over 13 million people per year, spending £122 million helping to sustain local economies and support local conservation.

6. Trends and Threats

Despite the laws, procedures and enhanced environmental awareness there is still a decline in biodiversity and a reduction in links between people and wildlife. Key points that need to be addressed are:

* Disconnection of people from their natural environment leading to a lack of understanding and awareness of the value of biodiversity, particularly in urban areas;
* Lack of integration between economic decision making and environmental considerations;
* Little or no 'value' is put on biodiversity leading to environmental considerations becoming the poor relation in urban economic priorities;
* Brownfield vs. Greenfield debate has the potential to lead to less open space in urban areas or 'town cramming'. Current Government guidance favours building on Brownfield sites as opposed to Greenfield sites. However, in the context of urban ecology it is stressed that some previously developed Brownfield sites may be recognised as having a greater importance for biodiversity than Greenfield sites;
* Lack of in-house ecological expertise in Local Authorities to deal with biodiversity and development control;
* Ensuring that Community Strategies integrate Local Biodiversity Action Plans;
* Raising awareness of the duties towards biodiversity by Local Authorities;
* Encouraging Planning Applications to include appropriate ecological information;
* Land of biodiversity importance continuing to be allocated for development in local plans;
* A general lack of progress in raising awareness of biodiversity issues in urban areas to both local residents and through public bodies and elected members.

7. Potential

The continuing understanding that all our social, economic and environmental issues are inextricably linked is fundamental to the quality of life of urban dwellers and to the quality and extent of biodiversity in our towns and cities.

There is a considerable policy framework for biodiversity and sustainable development for the entire country, including urban areas. It is important to reiterate and focus on these national guidelines and apply them meaningfully and ambitiously at the local level. These policies include the UK Action Plan itself, the subsequent Steering Group Reports, Planning Policy Guidance on Nature Conservation at a national and regional level and the UK Sustainable Development Strategy.

The urban environment has a wealth of wildlife that requires not only protection but also management and enhancement. The potential for community management of local green spaces is inherent in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan the Sustainable Development Strategy and the Local Government Act 2000 in the form of Community Strategies.

The major players in urban areas are undoubtedly Local Authorities. It is through the commitments and priorities that they set for an inclusive approach to biodiversity within their wider strategic goals that will undoubtedly have a major influence on the future of the quality of our towns and cities.

The actions and targets set out in the Sussex Urban BAP will help focus these commitments for all key partners in urban regeneration. This would contribute to the implementation of urban environments that are both sustainable in their make up and pleasant places for people within a matrix of biodiversity.

The potential for improving the biodiversity of urban areas is tremendous. The area concerned, although fragmented, is very large. Accurate information about many aspects may not be available and perhaps may not ever be, yet this need not be a barrier to action. 'We do not need to count the granules to know we are running out of sugar!' (Surrey Urban HAP, 2000).

Public bodies such as Local Authorities exert a great degree of influence over land management. Identifying changes in land use management through the application of less-intensive management regimes to urban land would bring good returns in terms of an increase in biodiversity. Many of these changes could be achieved at either low or even no cost, some may even result in savings to the public purse.

Although the pressure for development in Sussex is great, there are opportunities for biodiversity gain. Current examples include the redevelopment of Shoreham cement works, Shoreham Harbour and at Brighton Railway Station. In addition, there are discussions about the future use of sites for example at the Keymer Tileworks after the end of the clay extraction for tiles in 20 - 30 years. Discussions need to start early to ensure that environmental gain is integrated into proposals at the earliest time possible. In this way, it is possible to achieve win/win solutions in both economic and environmental terms.

There are opportunities to incorporate features for wildlife into development plans. The potential for wildlife gain can be for example, on buildings by adding swift nest boxes, on the site through appropriate planting plans, or enhancing surrounding area for example by extending features such as green corridors. One of the ways of implementing these ideas is through the establishment of a partnership between developers, Local Authorities and conservation groups to ensure that provision for environmental and wildlife enhancements are included in development briefs.

One of the main purposes of this plan is to convince more people that a shift in direction is possible, practical and desirable. The audience must include people and organisations without an environmental background as well as committed conservationists. This may require changes in public perception, but the door to such changes is already ajar and it may not need much further effort to push it wide open. Everyone has a part to play to make a positive and direct contribution whether at home, workplace, school or college.

8. Current Action

The table of current action summarises the work underway in Sussex and highlights examples of good practice. See Appendix 1.

9. Funding Mechanisms

There is a need to promote the 'joined-up' thinking that builds in consideration of the environment with economic and social gains. For example, ensuring environmental gains are part of Single Regeneration Budget applications and initiatives such as the Education Action Zone.

We need to promote and sustain funding that can support local environmental action that help to build capacity within a local community through advice and training to groups in urban areas. For example, support or develop a network of officers and volunteers able to work alongside community groups to facilitate local action, using the South Coast Environmental Network or SCENE model underway in Brighton and Hove.

There is a role for business in supporting environmental projects either through sponsorship or through employee volunteering schemes such as the one at BAA Gatwick Airport or the Body Shop in Littlehampton.

The Landfill tax credit scheme will fund environmental projects for example the SEAGULL project at Lidsey in West Sussex.

There are a number of grants from lottery sources. The New Opportunities Fund (NOF) under the Green Spaces and Sustainable Communities theme has provided £125 million for environmental schemes in England from 2001 until 2004. The NOF Award Partners that will distribute the grants include Barnardos, BTCV, Countryside Agency, English Nature, Royal Society for Nature Conservation, Sport England, and Sustrans. The NOF grants are available to support a variety of local greenspace and biodiversity projects.

The Heritage Lottery Fund provides support for the purchase and management of land and is increasingly interested in supporting educational and community based projects. The Awards for All provides grants to community based groups for local projects.

In addition, national bodies such as the Countryside Agency provide grants to local communities through the Local Heritage Initiative.

10. Objectives

The three key objectives of the Sussex Urban BAP are:

i To safeguard and enhance the biodiversity found in the urban areas of Sussex.
ii To increase people's contact and understanding of biodiversity and stimulate local action.
iii To promote sustainable development that contributes positively to biodiversity and hence the quality of life of an urban society.

The Sussex Urban BAP attempts to address the first two objectives in order to achieve the third objective of sustainable development and ensure a better quality of life for everyone, now and for generations to come.

Sustainable development and biodiversity are recognised as the main indicators in assessing the quality of the environment. There needs to be concerted 'joined up thinking' when implementing the Sussex Urban BAP as part of the Habitat and Species Action Planning process. It must fit in with other local plans in Sussex for example Community Plans, Regeneration Strategies, Local Development Plans Sustainable Development Strategies and Local Agenda 21 initiatives.

11. Targets

1. An increase in the extent and quality of habitats and greenspaces in the urban areas of Sussex. (on-going)

2. All relevant organisations, such as Local Authorities, Businesses and the Voluntary Sector, to have policies that incorporate and implement national, European and international protocols and legislation for biodiversity in the urban areas of Sussex by 2010.

3. All householders to enhance the biodiversity of their own gardens. (on-going)

Although this will be difficult to measure we want to encourage as many people as possible who own or have access to a garden to enhance biodiversity in their neighbourhood.

4. Incorporate biodiversity gains into all developments (eg new housing, work places, transport infrastructure) in urban areas. (on-going)

5. Identify all habitats and species in urban areas that require action according to National and Local Biodiversity Action Plans by 2005 and review every 5 years.

6. Identify sites and species of local importance in urban areas, ensure protection and implement appropriate management by 2005 and review regularly.

7. Identify, maintain and develop the wildlife corridors linking habitats and greenspaces in urban areas by 2005 and review regularly.

8. All people to have access to:
* natural greenspace less than 300 metres (in a straight line) from their home,
* sites with semi-natural working countryside within 2 kilometres,
* near-natural wild area within 20 kilometres,
by 2025 and review provision every 10 years.

9. Double the number of people directly involved in working to maintain and enhance biodiversity as individuals or through community groups by 2005.

10. Create new urban greenspace and increase amount of land managed primarily for biodiversity in urban areas by 10% by 2010.

11. All people to have access to advice, information and training on biodiversity in urban areas by 2005 and to review the provision on a regular basis every 5 years.

12. All urban areas to have access to sufficient biodiversity information to measure progress towards Sussex Urban BAP targets and actions by 2015.

13. Ensure adequate funding to implement actions in the Sussex Urban BAP. (on-going)

14. Ensure that biodiversity and the environment is fully integrated with social and economic regeneration programmes by 2010.

15. Implement Habitat and Species Action Plans in urban areas by 2010.

12. Actions


13. Monitoring and Review [top]

It is proposed to set up an Urban Biodiversity Forum for Sussex to monitor the implementation of the Sussex Urban BAP drawing on the organisation that can help deliver the targets and actions.

The Sussex Biodiversity Partnership will review the progress towards delivering People and Wildlife - Sussex Urban BAP.

14. Sources and References

Agate E., 1998, The Urban Handbook - a practical guide to community environmental work. BTCV.

Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.

Department of Environment, 1994, Biodiversity-The UK Action Plan.

Department of Environment, 1994, Planning Policy Guidance: Nature Conservation PPG9.

Department of Environment, 1999, A Better Quality of Life.

Department of Environment, 1999, Quality of Life Counts.

Department of Environment, 2001, Sustaining the Variety of Life.

Emery M., 1986, Promoting Nature in Cities and Towns Ecological Parks Trust.

English Nature 1996, A Space for Nature - English Nature booklet.

Gibson C. W. D, Brownfield: red data. The values artificial habitats have for uncommon
invertebrates.- English Nature Research Report No. 273.

Good R., 2000, The Value of Gardening for Wildlife. British Wildlife, December 2000 Vol.12 No. 2 pp 77- 84.

Government Office for the South East, 2001, Regional Planning Guidance for the South East (RPG 9).

Johnston J., 1990, Nature Areas for City People Ecology Handbook No. 14 - London Ecology Unit .

Johnston J. & Newton J., - Building Green - a guide to using plants on roofs, walls and pavements. - London Ecology Unit.

National Urban Forestry Unit, 1998, Trees or Turf? Beast Value in managing urban greenspace.

National Urban Forestry Unit, 1999, Report from the Trees and Healthy Living conference.

Newton J. on behalf of Kent Biodiversity Partnership 2000, Building Biodiversity in Kent.

Oxford M.J., 2000, Developing Naturally- A Handbook for Incorporating the Natural Environment into Planning and Development. Association of Local Government Ecologists and English Nature.

Reynolds V., 1999, The Green Gym - An Evaluation of a Pilot Project in Sonning Common, Oxfordshire.

Rohde & Kendle, 1994, Human well-being, natural landscapes and wildlife in urban areas. A review. - English Nature Research Report No. 22.

South East England Development Agency (SEEDA), Building a World Class Region an Economic Strategy.

SERUNCF - South East Regional Urban Nature Conservation Forum, 1999, Towards an Urban Renaissance Conference.

Surrey Biodiversity Partnership, 2000, Wildlife on your Doorstep - An Urban Biodiversity Action Plan.

Sussex Biodiversity Partnership, 1997 updated 2000, From Rio to Sussex, action for biodiversity - The Biodiversity Action Plan for Sussex.

Sussex Wildlife Trust, 1996, Vision for the Wildlife of Sussex.

Sussex Wildlife Trust, 1998, Greenspace Seminar Proceedings.

The Royal Town Planning Institute, 1999, Planning for Biodiversity.

UK Biodiversity Steering Group, 1995, Biodiversity: The UK Steering Group Report, Vols. 1&2.

UK Biodiversity Steering Group, 1999, Tranche 2 Action Plans, Vols. I-VI.

West Sussex County Council 2001, A Guide to Nature Conservation Planning in West Sussex - Planning for Biodiversity.

15. Consultation

Members of the Sussex Urban BAP Working Group:

Phil Belden Brighton and Hove Urban Wildlife Group
Steve Berry English Nature
Victoria Bull Chichester District Council
Chris Burton Horley Crawley Countryside Management Project
Gary Clarke Crawley Borough Council
Murray Davidson Hastings Borough Council
Daphne Fisher Arun District Council
Ann Griffiths West Sussex County Council
Alex Tait East Sussex County Council
Matthew Thomas Brighton and Hove Council
Tony Whitbread Sussex Wildlife Trust
Susan Wilson Sussex Wildlife Trust (Chair)

In addition comments were received from:

Don Baker Sussex Wildlife Trust
Jon Bramley Sussex Otters and Rivers Officer
Dee Christensen BTCV (West Sussex)
Peter Currell Sussex Downs Conservation Board
Kim Gregory Horsham
Libby Hodd BTCV (Brighton & Hove)
Yvonne McDermott Horsham District Council
Andy Phillips Sussex Biodiversity Partnership Officer
Graham Roberts Sussex Ornithological Society
Roy Ticehurst Friends of Bedelands Farm
Yvonne Trchalik Green Gym, BTCV
Andy Deacon Sussex Air Quality Steering Group

* Circulated to all Local Authorities in East and West Sussex in April 2000
* Members of the West Sussex Sustainability Forum

16. Appendices

Appendix 1 Current Action for Urban Biodiversity in Sussex for 2001-2002


Appendix 2 - Biodiversity Gain: Opportunities associated with new developments.

* Extract from Developing Naturally by Michael Oxford - Obtaining Adequate Environmental Information pp73-74.

The first step in planning for no net loss is to compile enough information to enable a realistic judgment to be made over how a proposed development will impact on its surrounding natural environment. Where necessary, there are statutory planning powers available to local authorities which allow them to request and obtain adequate information to determine the environmental effects of any application; these powers are explained more fully in Part 2.4 of Developing Naturally.

For many applications, the developer will need to provide ecological information to enable the local planning authority to make well informed decisions about the potential effects that their proposal may have on habitats, species or features of nature conservation importance. Such information may be required:

* To identify important habitats;

* To identify important species;

* To identify important ecological functions and processes upon which important habitats and species may be dependant;

* To identify geological and landform features present within the area that could potentially be affected, either directly or indirectly, by the development;

* To place identified features into context with the natural character of the surrounding area (e.g. the local Character Area);

* To evaluate the importance and conservation status of the nature conservation features identified;

* To determine the source, type, duration, likelihood, magnitude / scale and significance of potential impacts on these features arising from development;

* To assess proposals for mitigation and the significance of residual impacts that are likely after mitigation, indicating overall balance of losses and gains;

* To identify and propose reasonable opportunities for gain;

* To show how the developer intends to deal with potentially harmful activities during the construction process;

* To provide plans for the long term nature conservation management;

* To provide plans and resources for monitoring.

To purchase a copy of Developing Naturally please contact:
M.J. Oxford
PO Box 1164
BS39 4YB