What we achieved in 2017-18

July 5, 2018

Submitting the first South Downs Local Plan and launching a new charitable trust for the National Park are just two achievements highlighted in the National Park Authority’s Annual Review 2017–18.

Over the course of the year 147 chalk grassland, woodland, heathland and river sites were maintained and enhanced; 5,221 volunteer days were given; and 89 per cent of planning applications were dealt with within agreed time limits.

Other highlights from the year include:

  • Installing new accessible ‘kissing gates’ at Kingley Vale, opening up a special place for those with impaired mobility;
  • Work with the Countryside Trust supporting 550 children from all backgrounds to learn more about where their food comes from and how farmers help to support wildlife and biodiversity;
  • Volunteers working over the winter at Verdley Wood, near Henley, to help improve the habitat for the Pearl-bordered Fritillary. This is one of the few places this woodland butterfly remains in Sussex;
  • Finishing a two-year project led by the South Downs Volunteer Ranger Service to convert a disused depot at the old West Meon Station site into a nature reserve for the nearby primary school;
  • 2,072 students from 33 groups enabled to benefit from Learning Outside the Classroom thanks to the South Downs Travel Grant;
  • 32 young people aged 15–17, and five leaders (themselves aged 18–19) taking part in National Citizens Service in the National Park – for many their first experience of conservation;
  • Working with new partners to develop hubs and gateways across the National Park; and
  • Making a total of £76,254.39 in grants to 16 community-led projects through the Sustainable Communities Fund (SCF).

A full copy of the annual report is available to read at www.southdowns.gov.uk/annual-review-2017-18