Biosphere and the "Big Society"
The UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is north Devon's unique
international accreditation. It recognises our special
"sense of place", and the excellence of the area for
environmental quality, sustainability and innovation.
The Biosphere Reserve Partnership, enables local
authorities, statutory agencies, environmental and
cultural NGOs, schools, economic regeneration bodies and
academics to work together - to help the people of north
Devon unlock their potential and deliver their own
vision for the future of their area. With a diminishing
public sector, it is even more important to harness such
partnerships, community and other stakeholder resources,
talents and enthusiasm. Let's make our collaboration and
this designation be a real-time demonstration of
"localism" and the "Big Society" at work, that can be a
model for England. What
the Minister says...
Mike Moser, Chairman of Biosphere
Biosphere Action Week
From 25th September to 3rd
October 2010 communities from across the Biosphere
helped celebrate the global International Year of
Biodiversity. More than 150 people got involved
through unique local projects and activities. MoreNorth Devon Journal 7th October
Environment and sustainable business
The world class environment of North Devon's UNESCO
Biosphere Reserve draws in many tourists and contributes
significantly to the economy.
One way for visitors to contribute to managing the
environment is the Biosphere Visitor Gifting Scheme
being pioneered by the North Devon Biosphere Foundation and
Marsdens Cottage Holidays. They are adding just a pound
to their visitors' bills and the money raised will be
used to help improve the world class environment that is
so important to their visitors. In recognition of this,
Marsdens are the recipients of the first ever North
Devon Biosphere Sustainable Business Award.
Many other businesses (see right)
are being recognised for their sustainable business
practices. The Biosphere Reserve Partnership is working
with business partners to learn from best practise and
make the Biosphere Reserve accolade really work to give
maximum marketing advantage and added value. We call
this the Biosphere Investing in Nature programme.
Supporting our natural health service
In the battle to confront health problems our natural
environment, a great national resource, is being vastly
underused. Growing medical evidence shows that access to
the natural environment is good for us and used in the
right way, it represents our Natural Health Service: a treatment
which is cost effective and free.
This Autumn, the North Devon AONB and Biosphere
Service has been able to give grants to Transform in Ilfracombe and Taw
Torridge Volunteer Services to support Walking for
Health groups in the Biosphere Reserve Area from the
stunning AONB coastline to inland towns such as South
Molton and Okehampton.
Renewable energy from Mole Valley farmers
Mole Valley Farmers have recently launched their "Mole Valley Renwables" and "Farmer's
Power Station" initiatives. Both aim to help farmers
generate income from renewable energy schemes and are a
response to the economic and social pressures that are
driving on-farm innovation as never before.
Mike Moser, Biosphere Reserve Chairman, has warmly
congratulated Mole Valley Farmers for this initiative.
It matches our ethos of sustainability and innovation
and has the potential to make a substantial contribution
to reducing north Devon's carbon footprint as well as
strengthening the farming economy.
Continuing with the theme
of sustainable farming, FWAG and the Biosphere Reserve are
for applicants for the 2011 Bronze Otter
Sustainable Farming Award.
The Devon Bronze Otter trophy is awarded every year
to the Devon farmer who is judged to have best combined
commercial farming and care for the countryside. A
special award, the North Devon Biosphere Sustainable Farming
Award, is given to the best entrant from within the
Biosphere Reserve area.
Annual Devon Hedge Week has just
finished and reminded us of the significance of hedges
within the Biosphere Reserve. The many, many miles of
hedge that criss-cross this area are amongst the very
best in the world. Truly, they are one of its world
class features. Not only are they a haven for wildlife,
but they tell the history of the landscape and are
intimately entwined with its culture. More
Biosphere Reserve Biodiversity Action Plan
Hedges are just one of the 13 habitats included in
the Biosphere Reserve Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP).
North Devon's AONB and Biosphere Service (NDABS) has
been working with the Biosphere Reserve Environmental
Quality Working Group to put together this document that
identifies objectives for each habitat and the actions
that will be carried out over the ten year duration of
The draft Biodiversity Action Plan is
available for consultation from 26th November until 7th
January. Comments are sought from all interested
parties. The final version should be completed early
Earthworks to be revealed at Hillsborough
As part of the South West Coast path "Unlocking our Coastal Heritage"
project, the North Devon AONB and Biosphere Service has
been working with key partners in Ilfracombe on plans to
make more obvious and interpret the iron-age hillfort at
Hillsborough in Ilfracombe. More
A community open day to explore the site and discuss
the plans was well attended and resulted in the
recruitment of volunteers to undertake the first task
of removing scrub from the earthworks. This will be the
first of three volunteer sessions on the site. New
interpretation boards for Hillsborough are also being
designed and will be installed in spring 2011. Contact
Edgcombe or Matt
Edworthy at NDABS.
Marine Conservation Zones -
The Biosphere Reserve Marine Working Group will be
submitting its proposals for marine conservation zones
in the Biosphere Reserve area soon. Look out for press
coverage in the coming weeks.
The proposal will be submitted to Finding Sancturary ( the process set
up to identify and implement Marine Conservations zones)
and provide a consensus view of marine areas which
satisfy their criteria for MCZs, but which minimise
impact on fisheries and leisure/recreation, both of
which are very important to the region's economy. For
more information contact Andy Bell at
the North Devon AONB and Biosphere Service.
Taw Torridge Estuary Management Plan
The final draft of the new Plan will be published
this week for final consultation and adoption by the
authorities. Many thanks to Chrissie Dukes for
assembling this document and all those that have taken
part in providing information and comment to support its
North Devon businesses receive sustainability
In July this year and for the second time in five
years, Clinton Devon Estates has been
presented with the prestigious Queen's Award for
Enterprise in the Sustainable Development category. More
Wheatland Farm near Winkleigh
received Silver in the Devon Sustainable Tourism Awards.
Developing a sense of place
This is a project for Devon schools that will develop
childrens' sense of their surroundings; how they have
changed over time and are still changing today.
Working together, the Devon Learning and Development
Partnership, Beaford Arts, the North Devon AONB and
Biosphere Service (NDABS), Schools
Library Service and 50 schools will produce
photographic work in response to the Beaford Archive
photographic collection and work of James Ravilious, and
to the UNESCO designated North Devon Biosphere Reserve.
Pupils will produce an exhibition of work that
celebrates our local communities and our changing
environment, and responds to the Ravillious archive. For
more information contact Caroline
Preston at Beaford Arts (01805 603201)
in the Biosphere Reserve.
AONB 50th - a celebration of success
The North Devon Coast AONB has just
completed its 50th anniversary programme to highlight
the designation and the role it plays in supporting the
social and economic life of this area. Full report
Some of the recent AONB 'Coastal Gems' featured in
the North Devon Journal make wonderful reading and can
be found here: www.northdevon-aonb.org.uk
Foundations for UK Biosphere network
Dyfi Biosphere hosted discussions aimed at
establishing a Network of UK Biospheres in October to
share experience and cooperate on of matters of common
concern. Likely areas included agriculture and biogas
together with EU Interreg and LEADER Programmes. More
Defra Minister endorsement
In response to a letter from the Chairman, the Defra
Minister for Natural Environment and Fisheries, Richard
Benyon MP, said
"I recognise the significant contribution made by
a wide range of people and organisations to the
management and enhancement of the natural environment.
Biosphere Reserves have an important role to play in
this, particularly through their wide engagement with
The Minister went on to say that he would try to get
to Devon at some point to see the work that was going
NDABS winter volunteer programme released.
Local Development Framework workshop, 21 December
2010, Taw Room, Barnstaple Civic Centre.
In partnership with north Devon planners, this is
about strengthening the role of the Biosphere Reserve
within the Local Development Framework. More
information, Andy Bell
Next Biosphere Reserve Partnership meeting - 18
Location to be arranged.
Launch of Biosphere Biodiversity Action Plan - 27th
January 2011, Petroc,