It is intended that the policies set out in the Management Plan will be embraced and acted upon by all those organisations that have a role to play in the management of the Surrey Hills landscape and the well being of its local communities. This includes landowners, voluntary organisations and interest groups, local authorities and parish councils, statutory agencies, regional bodies and Government departments.
Future plans, strategies and actions of key partners should reflect the vision and Management Plan policies of this statutory AONB management plan. For local authorities ‘it formulates their policy for management of the area of outstanding natural beauty and their functions in relation to it’ (footnote ref. to CROW). For government, public bodies, agencies and other relevant authorities, the Management Plan is the key to their legal requirement to ‘have regard to the purpose of conserving and enhancing the natural beauty’ of the AONB: it is the only articulation of vision and policy for the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
It is recognised that many ongoing activities of partners already help to contribute to the Management Plan policies. A strategic delivery plan however is provided to identify opportunities for partners to work together to help translate their commitment to the vision and policies in the Management Plan into practical action.
Although the fundamental purpose of the Management Plan will be to encourage co-ordinated action by all organisations, agencies and individuals, the Surrey Hills Board will have a key responsibility for overseeing the promotion and implementation of the Management Plan policies. This will be achieved through the work of the Surrey Hills AONB Unit taking forward a range of initiatives by promoting the special character of the Surrey Hills, establishing partnerships, securing funding, ensuring implementation and monitoring effectiveness. In recognition that the Surrey Hills AONB is a nationally important landscape, 75% of the partnership’s core costs are funded by central government through Natural England.
It is important that the Surrey Hills Board does not duplicate the work of existing organisations, but helps to target new and existing resources to achieve common objectives. In order to achieve this, the following mission statement for the Surrey Hills Board and the Surrey Hills Unit has been adopted:
The Surrey Hills Board aims to conserve and enhance the special character of the Surrey Hills environment by developing and promoting the Management Plan. This will involve working with local communities, landowners and partner organisations for the benefit of residents, workers and visitors, subject to central, regional and local government policy and within environmental, political and ﬁnancial constraints.
Surrey Hills Unit aims to service the Surrey Hills Board as a small, ﬂexible and responsive unit with a clearly recognised and respected role. The unit will promote the Management Plan policies, be a catalyst for action and secure resources to enable practical partnership working.
A business plan for the Surrey Hills Board will be prepared describing how the core functions for AONB management, as defined by Natural England, are being delivered. The Surrey Hills Board will also identify its priorities on an annual basis and establish Working Groups to progress key Management Plan tasks, as set out in the Strategic Delivery Plan. The Working Groups will be chaired by a Board Member and supported by the Surrey Hills AONB Unit. The Board will seek to ring fence an allocation of the Sustainable Development Fund, for as long as this is available, to support the work of the Group. The Working Groups will be identified in the annual business plan and its activities will be reported in the Annual Review of the Management Plan.
(Please see PDF)
The Expert Panels identified a wide range of actions that needed to be progressed in order to achieve the Management Plan policies. These actions will be reviewed by the Surrey Hills Board on an annual basis, seeking feedback from the Surrey Hills Partnership, on the priorities for action.
The tasks are listed against the Management Plan Policies and the intended outcome. Actions have not been costed as tasks will need to be programmed into the annual business plans of partner local authorities, agencies and the Surrey Hills Unit in order to identify and confirm the funding, staff resources and technical expertise required on a project by project basis. The Strategic Delivery Plan has been grouped into the following broad areas to reflect the purpose of the AONB designation:
Landscape Protection and Enhancement. To support landowners and managers on achieving practical action to protect and enhance the special features of the Surrey Hills. (ref to page numbers)
Enjoyment and Understanding. To raise awareness of the Surrey Hills AONB to ensure its special qualities are identified, protected and enhanced, and to provide information on environmentally responsible recreation opportunities for residents and visitors. (Ref to page numbers)
Developing the Surrey Hills Economy and Community. To promote action that supports the economic and social well-being of the area, particularly in relation to supporting land management and visitor based enterprises.
Promoting Partnership and Coordination. This identifies the core business of the Surrey Hills AONB Unit which is to ensure that the Management Plan policies are coherently represented, implemented, monitored and reviewed at an appropriate national, regional, county and local level.