Friday, 3 March 2017

The Brighton and Hove Mayor’s charity bike ride

Join Brighton and Hove Mayor, Cllr Pete West on an epic 50 mile cycle ride around the boundary of Biosphere through the Sussex countryside.

The event takes place on Sunday 23rd April, starting at 9am, and will start and finish on Hove Lawns.  This is a way of celebrating the Brighton and Lewes Downs Biosphere and also of raising much needed funds for the Mayor’s 27 charities, including the Sussex Wildlife Trust.

The road ride is a 52 miles long circular ride (just short of the London to Brighton distance).  After heading east along the seafront cycle lane and Undercliff Walk, riders follow the A259 to Newhaven before heading north to Lewes and then Cooksbridge.  After a quick refreshment stop at Beechwood Hall riders head west to Ditchling, Clayton and Hurstpierpoint before cycling to Woods Mill, our Head Quarters, where we’ll be delighted to welcome cyclists for another refreshment stop. 

On the way they will pass Pondtail Wood which hit the headlines last year when the new owner bulldozed many of the trees and dumped a load of waste and hardcore on site.

After Woods Mill, riders head south through Small Dole, Upper Beeding and Bramber before crossing the A27 at Shoreham and using the old Toll Bridge to cross the River Adur.  Then they follow National Cycle Network route 2 back to Hove where the finish will be on Kings Lawns (where riders started out from).

The road ride is a medium distance ride by today's standards and most reasonably fit adults should be able to complete it.  It does contain hills but as it is largely skirting around the edges (of the Downs) avoids the worst of them.  There are no Devil's Dykes or Ditchling Beacons on the route!

To register use Eventbrite - it costs £20 in advance, £25 on the day. You can see more on the Mayor's Facebook event page

Once you have registered you will be sent an information pack which includes everything you’ll need to know before and on the day.  Please note that the minimum age for this event is 12.  Under 18s must be accompanied by an adult.

The Mayor's 27 charities are:

  • Action on Hearing Loss (formerly RNID),
  • Albion in the Community,
  • Brighton & Hove Impetus,
  • Brighton & Hove Food Partnership,
  • Brighton Housing Trust,
  • Black and Minority Ethnic Community Partnership,
  • The Carers Centre For Brighton & Hove,
  • CCHF All About Kids,
  • Cruse Bereavement Care,
  • Emmaus,
  • Family Support Work,
  • Friends, Families and Travellers,
  • Friends of Brighton & Hove Hospitals,
  • GreenCycle Sussex,
  • Headway Hurstwood Park,
  • Martlets Hospice,
  • Money Advice Plus,
  • Moulsecoomb Forest Garden,
  • Possability People,
  • Resource Centre,
  • RISE,
  • Sussex Beacon,
  • Sussex Heart Charity,
  • Sussex Wildlife Trust,
  • Sustrans,
  • The Clare Project.
  • The Clock Tower Sanctuary.

Your entry includes:
  • Experienced ride leaders
  • Route map
  • Route marshals
  • Qualified First Aiders Medical support
  • Full route signage
  • Refuel stops with water and snacks
  • Fundraising support, ideas and tips
  • Regular communications to keep you up to date
  • Huge cheers and support on the day!

Your registration fee helps to cover the costs of organising the event. The event is being organised with support and help from Cycling Support Services

Thursday, 23 February 2017

The Greener UK coalition has launched its manifesto urging UK government to use Brexit to restore and enhance the environment

I am delighted that nearly half of our Sussex MPs have signed up to the Greener UK Coalition’s Pledge for the Environment, and I hope that many others will follow suit.  In total some 194 UK MPs now support the pledge.

The Greener UK coalition, consisting  of 13 major environmental organisations, including The Wildlife Trusts, WWF, the National Trust, and the RSPB has launched its manifesto calling on the UK government to restore and enhance the environment as part of its plans for leaving the European Union.

They say, “We are depleting our soils and water supplies, generating mountains of food and plastic waste, changing our climate and making the air in our cities dangerous to breathe. Our wild places are dwindling, and we face the sadness of once familiar animals and plants fading away from our gardens and countryside.”

The Greener UK manifesto launch follows a House of Lords report last week, which identified the risk of a vacuum in the the oversight and enforcement of environment legislation, and the challenge of effectively maintaining the extensive existing environmental protections through the Repeal Bill.[4]

As well as sharing these concerns, the coalition wants to emphasize that Brexit offers the chance to make a greener UK a reality, by:
  • Securing the benefits of existing environmental laws and principles through the Repeal Bill, as the UK leaves the EU.
  • Ensuring the UK continues to co-operate with the EU on energy and climate change, and affirming ongoing investment in, and deployment of, clean energy infrastructure.
  • Introducing new policies and investment that create thriving farming and fishing industries, working with the grain of nature to return our land, seas, lakes and rivers to good health.
  • Passing an ambitious new Environment Act for England, building on the upcoming 25 year plan with measurable milestones for environmental restoration and high standards for pollution and resource efficiency. (New, separate Acts may also be required in the devolved nations.)

Miranda Krestovnikoff, TV presenter and wildlife expert on BBC 1’s The One Show, said:
“With so many of our environmental laws coming from the EU, Brexit has potentially huge impacts for nature across the UK. The government must urgently set out its plans to make sure our wonderful, wild spaces are not put at risk, and that opportunities are taken to improve protections for our natural world.”

Stephanie Hilborne, chief executive of The Wildlife Trusts, said:
“We’ve been heartened by the government’s commitment to transfer EU environmental law into domestic law, though there remain significant unanswered questions about how the UK will replace the enforcement functions currently carried out by EU bodies. But if we are to allow for nature's recovery, we must set our sights higher. Now is the time to raise ambition, establishing bold nature goals, better management of land and seas, and innovative environmental policy that can underpin the UK’s new place in the world. Being a truly global Britain means building a thriving economy in harmony with solutions to the critical environmental challenges that will define the twenty-first century.”

Tony Juniper, leading environmental campaigner and writer, said:
"If we are to seize Brexit as an opportunity to improve conditions for people in this UK then signalling a commitment to create a better environment is one critical touchstone. Looking after wildlife and environment is a vital prerequisite in promoting our health, wealth and security. A degraded environment is bad for our economy and bad for people and as we embark on the process of leaving the EU we need urgently to put in place the kind of framework and ambition that is fit for purpose.”

Ross Murray, President of the Country Land and Business Association, said:
“At this pivotal moment in our nation’s history, we have an opportunity to reinforce our commitment to sustainable farming and land use policies.  In the long term, a resilient and profitable agricultural sector will depend on this. The CLA looks forward to working with all parties, including those in Greener UK, as we navigate through the Brexit process to ensure we develop  world-leading UK food, farming and environmental policies that benefit everyone.”

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

The future of the natural environment after the EU Referendum.

The government’s Environmental Audit Committee (EAC), chaired by Mary Creagh MP has just published its report following its inquiry into the future of the natural environment after leaving the EU.

This makes interesting reading, especially as the Wildlife Trusts combined to prepare a good body of evidence to feed into the inquiry.  The report can be found on the EAC web site and Steph Hilborne, Chief Executive of the Wildlife Trusts national office has written this brief response

A quick read through indicates that some of the Wildlife Trusts key points have got through to the final report.  The report recognizes that Brexit could put farming and wildlife at great risk.  A potential loss of subsidies together with possible tariffs against farm exports could damage the farming industry, making it less viable and less able to expend resources on managing the countryside in an environmentally sensitive way.  Alongside this, the potential loss of The Birds and Habitats directives means that government should provide new measures to safeguard Britain’s wildlife and special places.

The EAC proposes that government should pass a new Environmental Protection Act setting out how it will provide an equivalent or better level of protection after leaving the EU.  Alongside this new subsidy arrangements should be put in place to provide public payments to farmers for providing public benefits – like the promotion of biodiversity, preventing flooding and storing carbon.

If alternative measures are not put in place, the report warns that there could be potentially far reaching consequences for the UK’s biodiversity.