Biodiverse campus

Blessed with an abundance of green space (including some that falls within national park boundaries) and an impressive list of global biodiversity experts; Sussex is ideally placed to become the most biodiverse campus in the UK.

We will publish a draft biodiversity policy by August 2021, ahead of consulting on our future goals in a Big Biodiversity Conversation.

The draft policy contains nine key biodiversity principles that we will apply to our campus. Shaped in consultation with renowned biodiversity academics, these include: planting native species of plants, creating water habitats and avoiding the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilisers where possible.

By incorporating these nine biodiversity principles into our annual grounds management plan we can strive to produce an annual net gain in biodiversity each year.

We will achieve these net gains by setting an ambitious target of setting aside a certain percentage of the land on campus to nature. We will use the big biodiversity conversation to engage staff and students on how much land we want to set aside for nature from a range of options: a) 30%, b) 40% and c) 50% or more.

We will do this through the use of maps and visual aids that show how the campus can look under these different scenarios. We will also ask staff and students to pick their preferred biodiversity projects for us to take forward on campus. This will include everything from the creation of bee hotels, butterfly banks, orchards and therapeutic gardens to the use of passive rewilding in certain signed areas in compliance with health and safety regulations.

We will begin the big biodiversity conversation in January 2022, with the aim of having agreed our preferred targets and an action plan of biodiversity projects by January 2023, in time for agreement of the Sussex Estates and Facilities Ground Management Plan for the next academic year.

Once we have completed the big biodiversity conversation, we will engage staff, students – and where appropriate community members – in bringing the vision established by the conversation to life through practical permaculture and conservation projects and fundraising activities.

We will also use our knowledge and expertise to help protect and restore local, national and global ecosystems and help try to reverse the current mass extinction and loss of habitat trajectory that we are on. As part of this work, we will seek to form stronger links with the South Downs National Park, The Living Coast Biosphere, the Permaculture Trust and other key public, private, voluntary and community bodies.