ePetition - Create a haven for wildlife and wellbeing by restoring biodiversity on Hollingbury and Waterhall golf courses

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ePetition details

Create a haven for wildlife and wellbeing by restoring biodiversity on Hollingbury and Waterhall golf courses

We the undersigned petition Brighton & Hove Council to 1. ‘Pause’ for sufficient time to carefully consider the future of Hollingbury and Waterhall golf courses (and to complete points 2 & 3), 2. Undertake a full public consultation with all stakeholders (such as Brighton Downs Alliance), and 3. Assess the environmental resources of the two sites before committing to any long-term business arrangements.

The leases of both golf courses expire in March 2020. The Tourism, Equalities and Culture Committee (TECC) will meet on 16 January 2020 to review tenders with a view to granting a 25 year lease. Extinction Rebellion Brighton urge TECC to take this unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ensure that the internationally endangered, wildlife-rich and diverse chalk grassland ecosystems of the two sites can re-generate and flourish, and that eco-friendly community food production and public health, wellbeing and recreational activities are promoted.

It will be necessary to first pause, next consult and finally assess before a fully-considered decision can be made on the future of the golf courses, to allow recognition of the need to:
- Restore the internationally endangered wildlife-rich chalk grassland ecosystems of the two sites (and associated rare and endangered species such as rare downland plants and insects, cuckoo, nightingale, yellowhammer, and willow warbler),
- Maximise carbon drawdown [Ref 1], and
- Obtain ‘right to roam’ status across our downland to re-connect locals and visitors with nature [Ref 2].

Only by agreeing to this can any successful proposal for the existing Hollingbury and Waterhall golf courses be fully aligned with:
- BHCC’s pioneering recognition of the Global Biodiversity Emergency and their declaration of a Climate Emergency with a commitment to go carbon neutral by 2030 [Ref 3];
- BHCC’s stated commitment to its Local Biodiversity Action Plan [Ref 4]
- The status as Brighton & Lewes Downs Biosphere Region - a World Biosphere Region designated by the United Nations body UNESCO [Ref 5].

The population of Brighton, its visitors, the children of today, and generations to come will equally benefit from the restoration of biodiversity at these publicly owned sites. We simply cannot miss this exciting opportunity to create a health & wellbeing sanctuary and a wildlife haven for all. Let’s make it happen!

1. Natural England Research Report NERR043 (2012), Carbon storage by habitat: Review of the evidence of the impacts of management decisions and condition of carbon stores and sources http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/publication/1412347
2. Legislation.gov.uk. (2000). Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.; http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/37/pdfs/ukpga_20000037_en.pdf [Accessed 19 Dec. 2019].
3. Climate Emergency Declaration. (2018). United Kingdom: Brighton declares its recognition of climate and biodiversity emergencies - Climate Emergency Declaration.; https://climateemergencydeclaration.org/united-kingdom-brighton-declares-its-recognition-of-climate-and-biodiversity-emergencies [Accessed 19 Dec. 2019].; Brightonandhoveindependent.co.uk. (2019). Brighton and Hove councillors unanimously back climate emergency petition.; https://www.brightonandhoveindependent.co.uk/news/environment/brighton-and-hove-councillors-unanimously-back-climate-emergency-petition-1-8793906 [Accessed 19 Dec. 2019].
4. Brighton-hove.gov.uk. (2019). A Local Biodiversity Action Plan for Brighton & Hove | Brighton & Hove City Council.; https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/leisure-and-libraries/parks-and-green-spaces/a-local-biodiversity-action-plan-brighton-hove [Accessed 19 Dec. 2019].
5. The Living Coast. (2019). People & Nature for a Sustainable Environment - Brighton & Lewes Downs | The Living Coast. [online] https://thelivingcoast.org.uk/ [Accessed 19 Dec. 2019].; UK Man and the Biosphere Committee. (2019). Brighton & Lewes Downs Biosphere.; http://www.unesco-mab.org.uk/brighton--lewes-downs-biosphere.html [Accessed 19 Dec. 2019].

This ePetition ran from 22/12/2019 to 15/01/2020 and has now finished.

5216 people signed this ePetition.

Council response

The petition will be considered at the Tourism, Equalities, Communities & Culture Committee on the 16 January 2020


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