Paula Ferris



Biosphere has a champion at last with Andy Bell’s appointment to the new post of Biosphere Co-ordinator and Countryside Services Manager.  Given Andy’s previous involvement and local knowledge he can hit the ground running and we can expect plenty of developments in the near future but he will need and deserve lots of support.  Several of us representing various community interests are already in contact with Andy and will report progress.


In September I wrote to David Morrish and Brian Greenslade asking that they  indicate what County is doing for Biosphere, given that nearly a year had passed without anything much having been made of this wonderful opportunity.  I have had positive and helpful replies from both, and from Derrick Spear to whom I copied my letter.  A section of Brian Greenslade’s letter follows:


… the responsibility for the Biosphere Reserve ultimately lies with  UK government. However, the County and District local authorities have been and will continue to be the key players. The Biosphere Reserve has been inevitably tied in with the restructuring of the Coast and Countryside Service and the need to respond to the Countryside and Rights of Way Act requirements for the management of the North Devon AONB. Interviews for the crucial post of Biosphere Co‑ordinator and Countryside Services Manager are to be held this Friday. One of the first tasks of the person appointed will be to set up the governance arrangements for the Biosphere and then develop proposals for its future management and the wide range of actions that will arise from it.


The County Council is well aware from its experience in managing the Dorset and East Devon Coast World Heritage Site, that it is imperative to have the right structure and the commitment of all players to meet the obligations for the conservation of the site and to pursue the opportunities which arise from such UNESCO designations. These have included the need to develop an agreed Framework for Action based on an adopted Management Plan. These have been informed by detailed studies into the interpretation, marketing education and other aspects and have been developed in consultation with the public and private sector and the wider community. Because of this, a high degree of consensus and partnership support has already been achieved. While it is not for me to say that we need to follow this model in its entirety these are matters that we will wish the new biosphere co-ordinator to consider on our behalf.


I am confident that we will now see some very real Progress with the Reserve and one of our first steps will be to make sure that all concerned with the area are fully briefed and are aware of the responsibilities and the opportunities which it brings. I hope we can depend on your support in doing this



I have responded positively and am encouraged that County is fully engaged.  Heritage Coast experience should be helpful for the challenging next phase which I suspect North Devon is going to have to meet with few additional resources. 


Meanwhile Sandra Collins, a Devon County’s Tourism Development Officer, has offered to copy Biosphere related press releases to me in future and I will forward the most interesting for posting on the website.


Paula Ferris


30 October 2003