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Surrey Hills Symposium

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Wednesday, 28 November, 2018
5:30 pm - 8:30 pm

University of Surrey Guidlford Surrey GU2 7XH

The Surrey Hills Symposium hosted by the University of Surrey took place on Wednesday 28 November.

Over 300 guests descended on the University of Surrey to hear a panel of experts debate the future of the Surrey Hills.

Greg Melly, Senior Vice-President, Advancement and Community at the University of Surrey, opened the debate and commented: “The University plays an integral role in this community, and our leading research into areas of the environment and sustainability puts us in a unique position of responsibility to Surrey and its citizens. We look forward to deepening the University’s partnership with Surrey Hills to benefit everyone who is fortunate to live in or visit this beautiful landscape.”

The Debate
The evening chaired by BBC Broadcaster Tom Heap saw three key speakers, Merrick Denton-Thompson, Dan Raven-Ellison and Hugh Broom give their views on the future of the Surrey Hills.
The speakers were then joined a panel comprising Professor Tim Jackson, Professor Caroline Scarles and Sarah Jane Chimbwandira who rose to the challenge of questions from the audience.

The general themes of the debate were: Why people value the Surrey Hills, identifying the main threats and pressures nationally, regionally and locally, the issues around climate change, land use and recreation. The accessibility of the Surrey Hills for all user groups and a greater understanding of the needs of these groups etc. Artist Veronica Wood created a visual picture of the debate which summarised the main themes:


Have your Say
Moving forward from the debate we would encourage you to take part in our short survey to help inform the policies and priorities in the Surrey Hills AONB Management Plan for 2019 – 2024. Let us know why the Surrey Hills are important to you and help us to identify the main challenges and opportunities. Click here to take part in our short survey.

Highlight Video

Key Speaker Videos

Key Speakers

Full Debate Video

Event Speakers

  • Merrick Denton-Thompson OBE, National Landscape Advocate and Immediate Past President of the Landscape Institute – A new vision for National Parks and the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
  • Daniel Raven-Ellison, Campaigner and Founder, The London National Park City –  Making London greener, healthier and wilder.
  • Hugh Broom, Farmer and Surrey NFU – A living and working countryside

They will be joined on the panel by:

  • Professor Tim Jackson, Director of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity
  • Professor Caroline Scarles, Head of Tourism and Hospitality School, University of Surrey.
  • Sarah Jane Chimbwandira,  Director of Biodiversity, Evidence and Policy, Surrey Wildlife Trust and Surrey Nature Partnership.

Event Programme

5.30pm Event Opens

There will be the opportunity to support local Surrey Hills producers at a small Expo
before the Symposium begins.

6.15pm Symposium Debate

Welcome by Greg Melly, Senior Vice President of the University of Surrey

Closing remarks by David Wright OBE, Chairman of the Surrey Hills AONB Board.

8.30pm Symposium closes

Event Sponsored by: