What is Lewes Pound

Lewes pound is a local currency for use in Lewes, East Sussex, United Kingdom. Lewes pounds are only accepted by local businesses and merchants, some of which will offer discounts on items that are purchased using the local currency, Lewes pounds were launched as part of an initiative to inspire consumers to shop locally. Proponents hope that by using Lewes pounds, consumers can help decrease carbon emissions by cutting down on the amount of goods that are transported long distances to be purchased in Lewes.


Lewes pounds are a form of sectoral currency, which is a medium of exchange that only has value in a limited marketplace. The Lewes pound is a local currency that is not backed by the U.K. government, nor is it intended to replace the British pound, which is also sometimes referred to as the “pound sterling” or cable. Instead, the Lewes pound is designed to function alongside the British pound dollar as a complementary currency. It is legal for merchants to transact in Lewes pounds. However, the local currency is not considered to be legal tender, so merchants do not have to accept it. To encourage its use, a number of merchants offer discounts to customers who pay with Lewes pounds.

Lewes pounds are paper bills that come in denominations of 1, 5, 10 and 21.Consumers can obtain Lewes pounds at designated issuing points and spend them with any local merchant that accepts them. One Lewes pound is worth one pound sterling. There is a 5 percent transaction fee (5 pence) associated with acquiring Lewes pounds. The 5 percent goes to the Live Lewes Fund, which supports local community organizations.

The year 2018 marks the 10th anniversary of the Lewes pound. It was inspired by other local and bioregional currencies such as the Totnes pound, which was launched in Totnes, Devon, United Kingdom, in 2007.

Lewes Pound and Bioregionalism

The Lewes pound is an example of a complementary currency that exemplifies the concept and adoption of bioregionalism. Bioregionalism encourages citizens to become more intimately familiar with and dependent on local food, materials and resources as a way to become more self-sufficient. As an example, establishing a local farm or garden at home is encouraged, rather than buying vegetables at a big grocery store, because store-bought produce is dependent on petroleum, natural gas and chemicals used in pesticides, fertilizers, large-scale food production and shipping. Lewes pounds help stimulate bioregionalism because local currency emphasizes local products over those that were grown or created thousands of miles away.