Local authorities have a legal duty to further biodiversity, set out in Section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006.
More new developments have incorporated biodiversity features and a linear ‘eco park’ has been created as part of the Brighton Station development.
A detailed audit of the habitats of importance in the urban and rural areas of Brighton & Hove has been carried out which for the first time provides a detailed baseline for the future monitoring of habitat change.
An international conference was held in the city in October 2008 to look at the opportunities created for people and the environment of being designated by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve. This resulted in official designation in June 2014 of the Brighton & Lewes Downs UNESCO World Biosphere Region, now known as “The Living Coast” www.thelivingcoast.org.uk .
The 2009 Green Network Study informed the South Downs Way Ahead Nature Improvement Area (NIA). The NIA landscape scale designation was endorsed and announced by the Government in February 2012, and a DEFRA funded project ran for 3 years until 2015 to implement practical improvements of urban wildflower planting including creation of ‘butterfly banks’. The ‘Big Biodiversity Butterfly Count’ is an established, annual event.
The council has a team of Park Rangers with a remit to support community involvement in green space across the city including developing new Friends groups.
The city’s Sites of Nature Conservation Importance were reviewed in 2013 to address new national monitoring requirements and to measure the quality of key habitats in the city, with a suite of proposals for Local Wildlife Sites produced.
The City Plan Part Oneincludes designated open space and the NIA planning designation. It sets open space standards and includes policies to ensure future developments contribute towards meeting open space requirements and improving biodiversity.
The Brighton & Hove Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) was published in 2013.
An Open Spaces Strategy for Brighton & Hove was published in 2017.