South Downs plan gets £608,000 boost

South Downs
South Downs

A PLAN to safeguard the area’s endangered chalk downland in the South Downs National Park has been awarded £608,000 by the Secretary of State for the Environment.

Eastbourne is famous for its white cliffs and the area will be given more protection under this new scheme.

South Downs Way Ahead project, consisting of 27 organisations led by the South Downs National Park Authority, will trailblaze the Government’s new Nature Improvement Area scheme to protect habitats.

The announcement comes just one month before the National Park celebrates its first anniversary.

Margaret Paren, chair of the South Downs National Park Authority, said, “South Downs chalk downland is vital to the survival of rare and endangered wildlife and is relied on by millions to provide clean drinking water and valuable green space.

“We are working in partnership with 26 organisations across the National Park to safeguard this precious landscape and encourage people to help secure these benefits for now and future generations.

“The announcement comes just one month before the National Park celebrates its first anniversary and shows what can be achieved when people from across the South Downs join forces.”

The project will support work across the South Downs including landowners, farmers and water companies working together to improve water quality through appropriate land management.

The scheme will also help restore chalk downland for endangered species such as the rare Duke of Burgundy butterfly and farmland birds such as corn bunting, lapwing, grey partridge and stone curlew.

It also aims to get communities to take an active role in restoring damaged land for example by introducing ‘flying flocks’ of sheep which move between different sites, partly cared for by specially trained volunteer community shepherds.

Caroline Spelman, Environment Secretary, said, “I’d like to congratulate South Downs Way Ahead on becoming one of these first 12 Nature Improvement Areas. 

“The exciting wildlife projects are the result of different organisations all working together with a common purpose – to safeguard our wildlife for generations to come.”