A group of Cambridgeshire organisations, coordinated by Cambridgeshire ACRE, are working to apply to UNESCO for Biosphere status for the Fens. They are currently going through a wide-ranging programme of public consultation on the plan.
A Biosphere is a special status awarded by UNESCO to a unique and valuable landscape. There are 701 Biospheres in the world, and they form an international network of communities that are pioneering a positive future for nature and inhabitants alike. There are seven Biospheres in the UK but none in the East of England. The Fens Biosphere would be the first lowland Biosphere in the UK, covering a large area including parts of South Cambs, East Cambs, Hunts and other districts.
At both South Cambs and East Cambs District Councils recently, the Lib Dems successfully passed motions that recognise the value of UNESCO’s designation of the Fens Biosphere. They are now calling on the other councils of the county to get behind the proposal.
Aidan Van de Weyer, Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, said,
“The Cambridgeshire Fens Biosphere is a really exciting proposal that would give a huge boost to this neglected region, by bringing global recognition and support for a more sustainable economy. I’m proud that the Liberal Democrats are very supportive of this.
“The UNESCO Biosphere designation would have so many benefits. It would provide a focus for improvements to the natural environment, especially wetland habitats. It would also help the economy become more balanced and communities more resilient.
“As we come out of the current lockdown, there is a fantastic opportunity to promote the Fens as a unique domestic tourist destination, shouting about our big skies, open landscapes, diverse wildlife and beautiful historic buildings, whilst helping address two huge challenges of water management and climate change.
“To get the Biosphere designation by UNESCO, we need all councils to be working together on this. Now is the time to get real momentum behind this idea.”