East Dean and Friston

Climate Friends

A more Climate-Friendly Parish

Climate. Friends

Residents for a Nature and Climate Friendly Parish

Nature & Climate Event

Tuesday Sept 3rd

Seven Sisters Country Park Visitor Centre.

Come and find out at this free event what’s happening and what’s planned

within the South Downs Way loop encompassing all /part of the Parishes of

Cocker Valley, East Dean & Friston and Willingdon & Jevington.  There will be talks

followed by Q&A sessions along with a networking area of stalls provided by local

suppliers, services and groups.

In the lead up to it over Summer, Climate School is providing the opportunity for residents

thinking about moving to renewable energy to talk to other residents who already have.  If  you have an electric vehicle, solar panels with battery and /or heat pump and would be prepared for another resident to contact you about your experience, please email    ourbitedf@gmail.com

Peter Williamson

Climate Friends – Residents for a climate-friendly parish

Climate Friends is an informal network of people in East Dean and Friston who are spearheading a parish-wide approach to climate action and nature recovery.

It is for anyone keen to see more local action in response to climate change and biodiversity loss.


The group includes residents of Birling Gap, Crowlink, East Dean, Friston & Gayles.

Members can commit in whichever way and to whatever level they choose.

Latest news 

November 2023

We now have 70 members – see below about how to join and get in touch.

Since August 2023 Climate Friends has been operating as an unincorporated association with a constitution, committee and bank account. This enables us to apply for and administer grant-funding in pursuit of our aims.

Our first two funding applications have been successful.

Nature Recovery and Climate Action in the parish of East Dean & Friston

This is a project to identify non-residential land areas in the parish suitable for nature recovery and to link up wildlife areas. Climate Friends won a grant of just over £5,000 from the South Downs National Park Authority for this project. We have commissioned the consultancy Wild Business to carry out initial mapping. 

The work will complement the biodiversity activities being undertaken through the local neighbourhood planning process, the Local Nature Recovery Strategies for Sussex 

and the Seaford to Eastbourne Nature Recovery Project.

We are also expanding our partnership with key stakeholders and landowners to take this forward.

Wildlife Verges Project

East Dean & Friston Parish Council agreed to fund and commission an ecological survey to identify roadside verges for designation as wildlife verges.

The survey, carried out by ecologist Laurie Jackson, covers publicly and privately-owned roadside as well as other green spaces.

Five road verges were identified as potential wildlife verges in:

•    Birling Gap Road

•    Downsview Lane

•    Gilberts Drive

•    Old Willingdon Road (2 sites)

The report concluded that there are significant opportunities to enhance a network of green spaces and wildlife corridors within East Dean & Friston parish.

These recommendations have been submitted to East Sussex County Council Highways for consideration. A decision is expected at the end of the year.

Climate Friends has submitted a proposal to the Parish Council for a community project to take the report’s recommendations forward.

Who we’re working with

•    The South Downs National Park Authority

•    The National Trust

•    Forestry England

•    Landowners and managers

•    East Dean & Friston Parish Council

•    East Dean & Friston Residents’ Association

•    Sussex Wildlife Trust

•    East Sussex County Council/Wealden District Council

•    Friends of the South Downs

•    Council for the Protection of Rural England

Events & activities

Local Nature Recovery Strategies

East Sussex and West Sussex County Councils are working together on 2 Local Nature Recovery Strategies for Sussex. Over the next few months, they will be developing events and other ways you can get involved with the preparation of these strategies.

Find out more on the Sussex Nature Partnership website.


The South Downs National Park Authority’s Climate Change Adaption Plan aims for the Authority to be Net Zero by 2030 and the National Park as a whole by 2040.

Changing Chalk Partnership

Sussex Nature Partnership

Friston Forest Management Plan

Sussex Wildlife Trust

COP28. Conference of the Parties 30 November to 12 December 2023 

Get in touch

Join Climate Friends

•    No prior knowledge of climate change or wildlife needed

•    No time-consuming meetings, membership fees

We also welcome contact from:

•    Local businesses, landowners and land managers interested in partnership working

•    Individuals and groups from outside the parish to link up activities

Please get in touch if you would like copies of project briefs or reports

We’d love to hear your views on our plans and suggestions for how to respond to climate change and biodiversity loss in the parish.

Contact ourbitedf@gmail.com

Nature recovery in our area – some background

Through the Environment Act (2021), the Government has set out a requirement for local authorities to put together Local Nature Recovery Strategies to create wildlife-rich places across England and connect them up.

The Act also strengthens the Biodiversity Duty of public authorities, and introduces

Biodiversity Net Gain through the planning process as a way of contributing to nature recovery while developing land.

In July 2023 Natural England and the government launched the 

Seaford to Eastbourne Nature Recovery Project.

Within the South Downs National Park, the #ReNature project aims to increase the area managed for nature in the National Park from the current 25% to at least 33%, which will be an increase of 13,000ha, by 2030. This is based upon the Government’s own national commitment of 30% of the UK being managed for nature by 2030.

Alongside this work, Defra launched the Farming in Protected Landscapes

(FiPL) Programme. Through this programme, farmers and land managers within protected landscapes can apply for funding to carry out one-off  projects that:

•    support nature recovery

•    mitigate the impacts of climate change

•    provide opportunities for people to discover, enjoy and understand the landscape and cultural heritage

•    support nature-friendly, sustainable farm businesses.

Thank you so much, Residents for a Climate-Friendly Parish, for your enthusiasm. It’s all of us working to gather that will make change happen.