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Archive for the ‘Biosphere’ Category

A hatchet job on the city rangers

The proposal by Brighton & Hove City Council to cut the ranger service from nine down to three is a false economy.  It appears to have been done on the back of a fag packet rather than through any assessment of what is required.  Nor were volunteers consulted prior to the announcement.  The first they knew about it was from the press, yet these are the very people the Council is hoping will step forward to fill the void.  So much for working in partnership with the local community.

The trouble is the ranger service is seen as a fringe benefit, a nice to have facility on a sunny day, but not really core to Council work.  Well, that out-dated idea needs to change.  Research has shown the importance of green space for people’s mental and physical well-being.  The reality is that green space is part of the natural health service, a hugely important but overlooked aspect of our healthcare.  And the rangers facilitate that healthcare.  Without them our green spaces would fall into decline.  They would become overgrown, potentially dangerous as broken steps, railings and other facilities were not repaired.  They would become strewn with rubbish and more off-putting so that people would slowly stop using them.

When we won the international accolade of UNESCO Biosphere designation, what helped us win was the quality of our green spaces and the volunteers helping to look after them.  But these volunteers cannot do it alone.  Without proper support, many of the groups will simply fold.  A single ranger allocated to supporting the 30 or so local groups is not enough.

Sure the ranger service needs to make savings, but those savings should be driven by what is needed to enable volunteers to do more than they do already.  Got right this proposal could increase benefits for the local community, but as it stands the hatchet job could destroy the very groups it needs to nurture.

This article first appeared in Brighton & Hove Independent on Friday 15th January, 2016.  A second article about the cuts can be found here.

This issue has also featured in The Guardian on 4th January, 2016.

Outraged volunteers are planning on holding a protest outside Brighton & Hove City Council’s Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee at 3pm on Tuesday, 19th January, 2016, outside Portslade Town Hall, Victoria Road BN41 1YF (where the meeting is being held).

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The public consultation has been extended as Shoreham and Southwick are included in the Biosphere Reserve area. So, if you haven’t already, make sure to show your support:

Find out more and have your say here.

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Here-Here-Logo-Orange-croppedThe ‘HERE HERE’ campaign is an exciting new partnership initiative which Brighton & Hove Friends of the Earth has helped launch.  It seeks to bring people and nature closer together, in the Brighton & Hove and Lewes Downs area, through becoming a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The consultation period, for local people to have a say on the Biosphere bid, is scheduled to close next Monday 22nd April which is also International ‘Earth Day’.

Please do something for the planet and show your support to the Biosphere proposal (if you have not already done so), and encourage your friends and family to do the same, for our area to be successfully recognised as an international Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations. It only takes 30 seconds and 7 clicks of the mouse to answer the first two essential questions (on whether you support our bid and objectives) for your input to make a difference to our chances of success! If you are able to complete more of the survey by telling us what matters to you, the area you live in, and a bit about yourself then this would be useful but is not essential. Complete the survey here.

For more information visit www.biospherehere.org.uk 

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