A Biosphere for the future?

Wednesday 24th January 2018

Great Fen aerial view Caroline FittonGreat Fen aerial view Caroline Fitton

The Cambridgeshire Fens has the potential to become a UNESCO recognised Biosphere Reserve


What do Brighton and Lewes Downs, Galloway & south Ayrshire, the Isle of Man, north Devon, Wester Ross and the Dyfi valley have in common? They have all been granted designated Biosphere Reserve status by UNESCO - model regions for sustainable development and test sites for conservation approaches where communities collaborate to live in harmony with their environment.

Funding of £9,950 has been received from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to research what is necessary to bring Biosphere Reserve status to the Cambridgeshire Fens. Made possible by the money raised by National Lottery Players, the project will focus on discovering what is needed to achieve this international UNESCO accolade. The project will enable the Wildlife Trust, working with a broad range of organizations and interests from all sectors of Cambridgeshire life  - conservation groups, academics, businesses, farming sector, local and regional government - to identify what the Biosphere idea could mean for the Cambridgeshire Fens, and to create a dedicated ‘Route Map’ of how to achieve it.

Working on a landscape scale through its Living Landscapes gave the Wildlife Trust the idea for a potential Cambridgeshire Fens Biosphere. Kate Carver, the Wildlife Trust’s Great Fen Project Manager said: “In a changing world, imaginative and innovative solutions are needed to tackle major challenges such as how we can protect the natural environment for everyone to enjoy whilst satisfying the needs of growing populations for homes and jobs; the key is communities working together to achieve sustainable development. We are thrilled that support from players of the National Lottery will enable us to move closer to a possible application to UNESCO.”

Robyn Llewellyn, Head of HLF East of England said: “On behalf of National Lottery Players we are delighted to be able to fund this project that will enable the Wildlife Trust to work with partners to assess the feasibility of applying for a Biosphere Reserve Destination for the important heritage which forms the Cambridgeshire Fens.”