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Supporting the Biosphere

Brighton & Lewes Downs is the first new Unesco World Biosphere Site in the UK in 40 years, and the first ever in South East England. The Brighton & Lewes Downs Biosphere was awarded this designation by UNESCO in 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.

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 comprises around forty organisations, with Brighton & Hove City Council as a lead partner, along with Brighton & Hove Bus Company, and other local authorities, public bodies, voluntary, educational and community organisations and private sector business.


Getting Biosphere status means that an area already protected nationally for its special landscapes has been recognised internationally for the role it can play in improving quality of life and boosting a greener economy for the millions of people who live around it.

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, including the city plus towns and villages. The northern boundary of the South Downs National Park marks its northern limits. The southern edge extends two nautical miles out to sea, and includes part of one of the first ‘Marine Conservation Zones’ designated by the Government last year.