Ambitious ‘Life Map’ project aims to help Norfolk communities tackle global issues

Aerial shot of North Walsham. Picture: Mike Page

Aerial shot of North Walsham. Picture: Mike Page - Credit: Mike Page

An ambitious environmental project aiming to improve Norfolk's quality of life by mapping a wide range of 'sustainability indicators' will be launched in Norwich next week.

The Life Map for Norfolk will compile data from public sources, environmental organisations and local councils in order to empower people to make informed decisions about how they use natural resources, and help them tackle global issues at a community level.

The county is one of the first-phase launch regions for the project, which will be introduced on Tuesday at the UEA Enterprise Centre.

The event will demonstrate the first land use and population information collated for the map, and explain how the team behind it is developing further material on water, food, clean energy, climate, housing and wildlife habitats.

Programme founder Edward Darling, also chief executive of conservation charity Redlist Revival, said he wants to give people access to information which can help them decide how to sustain the earth's resources for future generations - by understanding the balance of resources in their own area, divided into 10km x 10km grid squares.

To achieve this, The Life Map is working with specialist stakeholders including the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Natural England and a growing number of local authorities.

Mr Darling said: "In the last three years we have had a referendum and various elections around the world which suggest that society is frustrated and the world is complicated and none of us can find out information on the things that matter to us.

Most Read

"So we have created The Life Map that can bring huge global issues down to national, county and community levels. At a community level, the choices we make can make a difference to ourselves and the people around us.

"Once we have got the system of being able to link land use, the amount of water we use, the amount of food we need and the amount of food we produce, and we are talking to the different councils about climate and energy use - if people have all this information for what is important to them and their community, then we can start to find solutions.

"It is about showing people the implications of choice, and starting to build data that can help people make choices about the environment around them."

Communities are initially being asked to register an interest in their grid square, after which they will be given specific information about the habitats and species within heir locality. The Life Map team will then combine people's feedback into a nationwide picture which can be formally assessed.

The launch event at The Enterprise Centre at the UEA starts from 2.30pm on Tuesday, September 10, and will include speakers from Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Norfolk Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group, Norfolk County Council , Natural England and the university.

- Tickets are available at The Life Map for Norfolk launch event page.