At the moment there is only one special area of sustainability in the UK that has been declared Biosphere Reserve. This is focused on the sustainable development of the rural community adjacent to the Braunton Burrows sand dune National Nature Reserve in North Devon. . The general applicability of the SEAS idea to areas that are not so well endowed with a high biodiversity is being researched by producing conceptual maps of U.K. urban communities, listed below. The four examples of Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft, Poole and the Isle of Wight stand for the development of English towns with populations of the order of 50-140,000. They have been selected because they comprise similar sized communities with strong histories and set in 1st rate intensively conserved ecological/landscape surroundings. They are all coastal communities that developed in the 18th century from fishing/maritime trading communities. Together they indicate the diversity of ways in which they are organising and communicating their plans for the future. In this respect, the on-line presentations of their councils are being hyperlinked to commentaries in the wiki pages.

Great Yarmouth

(currently a borough in the county of Norfolk: population approx. 92,000)


(currently a town within the Waveney District Council of Suffolk: population approx. 60,000)

The Boundary Commission has made draft proposals for the administrative future of these two communities. These are summarised as follows.

The Boundary Committee for England has published draft proposals for patterns of unitary local government in Norfolk and Suffolk, and has called for people in the counties to set out their views on these proposals.
The proposal for Suffolk is for two unitary authorities – one covering Ipswich and Felixstowe and one covering the rest of the county without Lowestoft. In Norfolk, the Committee proposes a single unitary authority which would cover the whole county and include Lowestoft.
The Committee considers its draft proposal for each county likely to achieve the outcomes on which the government has asked for advice (affordability; value for money services; neighbourhood empowerment and engagement; broad cross section of support; and strategic leadership).
However, the Committee also saw merit in other patterns of unitary local government in both counties. In Suffolk, we thought there was merit in a Suffolk unitary authority covering the whole county except for Lowestoft. People may wish to consider what we’ve said about these other patterns when they write to us telling us what they think.
In Norfolk, the Committee thought there was merit in linking Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft and Norwich in a unitary authority, the rest of Norfolk would form another unitary authority. We also saw merit in a ‘doughnut’ pattern, with one authority for Norwich on expanded boundaries and one for the remainder of Norfolk which would also include Lowestoft.

The proposals are now out for public consultation.

Despite the uncertainty as to the administrative future of the two communities, the regeneration of Lowestoft and Yarmouth have been linked in the 1st East Project.

1st East

1st East is the urban regeneration company (URC) for Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth. It is one of just 21 URCs across the UK and has been set up to regenerate the waterfront and brownfield areas of the two towns. The East of England Development Agency (EEDA) is the driving force behind sustainable economic regeneration in the East of England: Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. The vision for the East of England is to create a leading economy, founded on a world class knowledge base, creativity and enterprise to improve the quality of life for all who live and work here.

The 1st East vision is:

'Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth will become great places to live, work and visit, building on the unique opportunities of their east coast locations. At the heart of our vision is a determination to provide a supportive culture for business, and to develop a particular expertise in the environmental economy, on and offshore. People who value their environment, place and quality of life will want to live here'.

1st East aims to generate economic growth and create jobs by coordinating public and private sector development. It will do this through a comprehensive regeneration plan that gives clear guidance for future public and private investment.

Borough of Poole

(Dorset: population approx 138,000)

The planning vision for the Borough of Poole is set out in its Sustainability Policy, which was adopted by the Council 18th April, 2000.

The Borough of Poole is committed to caring for the environment and the principle of sustainability.

Our vision of Poole is of a beautiful place to live, work, learn and play that we take pride in passing on to future generations. To achieve our vision we will integrate the principles of sustainability across all our activities and encourage others to do the same. We intend to achieve continual, measurable improvements in our environmental performance over and above our regulatory and legislative responsibilities.

1. In all our activities our aim shall be to:

1.1 Reduce the consumption of energy, water and other natural resources and ensure that those we use are used efficiently.
1.2 Minimise the production of waste and reduce the impact of its disposal.
1.3 Reduce or prevent pollution.
1.4 Protect and enhance the diversity of nature.
1.5 Increase the use of local resources to satisfy local needs.
1.6 Pursue the social, health and economic needs of the local community while setting
limits on our environmental impacts.

2 In our operations we will:

2.1 Work corporately to place sustainability and Agenda 21 at the heart of our policies and programmes.
2.2 Develop and implement systems to monitor Council policies and programmes against sustainability criteria.
2.3 Consider the environmental consequences of all our present and future activities and adopt working practices that minimise damage to the environment.
2.4 Limit the risk of environmental accidents and ensure emergency plans are in place should such an eventuality occur.
2.5 Ensure that all Council suppliers recognise and address environmental matters relating to their products and services, and encourage environmental
standards equivalent to our own.
2.6 Look for continuous improvement and report publicly on our environmental performance.

3 To achieve this we will use our influence as a unitary authority to:
3.1 Foster a shared sense of purpose and responsibility amongst all the people of Poole toward sustainable development.
3.2 Educate the community and raise awareness about sustainability through all our service areas, recognising that our education service has a particularly important role with the young people of Poole.
3.3 Encourage others to behave in a sustainable manner through good example and
3.4 Work in partnership with other organisations to promote the social, environmental and economic well-being of Poole

Isle of Wight

(population approximately 130,000)

From 1880 the island has been an independent administrative county . In 1974 it was reconstituted as a non-metropolitan and ceremonial county with its own Lord Lieutenant and the name was adopted as a postal county. The island is the smallest ceremonial county in England with a single Member of Parliament and 132,731 permanent residents. It is also the most populated Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom.

The Isle of Wight is well known for the quality of its environment. Most of the island is classed as an Area of Ourstanding Natural Beauty, with its landscapes and coastlines enjoying a high level of special designation and protection. While this helps give the Island its unique character, it also presents the County Council with the challenge of protecting the environment while at the same time encouraging regeneration and development.

The key issues are expanding the housing stock whilst at the same time protecting the character of the Island and focusing on regeneration and economic growth to provide new employment and develop skills. These challenges are to be addressed by new planning policies. The introduction of the new Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 has resulted in a new type of development plan, the Local Development Framework, which the council is calling the 'Island Plan'. Instead of a single local plan, a suite of documents has to be produced setting out the planning policies and proposals, with the key document called the Core Strategy. These plans went out for publication in 2007.