The Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty was the focus of a recent visit by Lord de Mauley, the Government Minister for Natural Environment and Science. Lord de Mauley took time out of his busy schedule to find out more about the work of the Surrey Hills AONB Board to conserve and enhance the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The Minister also gave his support to the new Management Plan for the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Plan sets out a robust policy framework to help local councils protect and enhance the nationally designated landscape.
Lord de Mauley, Minister for Natural Environment and Science comments;
“Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) are some of our finest landscapes. They are cherished by residents and visitors alike. The Surrey Hills AONB Management Plan demonstrates how the AONB partnerships can continue to protect this precious environment despite the significant challenges it faces”.
Surrey County Council and the five district council partners on the Surrey Hills Board have adopted the new plan which has statutory powers. It is the Plan for the conservation and enhancement of the Surrey Hills designated landscape and all those with an interest in the area can be involved in its implementation. Management Plan policies cover farming, woodland, biodiversity, historic and cultural heritage, recreation and tourism, land use planning, traffic and transport, community development and the local economy of the Surrey Hills.
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are designated by the Government for the purpose of ensuring that the special qualities of the finest landscapes in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are conserved and enhanced. AONBs are unique and irreplaceable national assets. There are 38 AONBs in England & Wales covering 15% of the land area. The Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty was designated in 1958 and covers a quarter of the county of Surrey. The Hills stretch across the chalk North Downs from Farnham in the west, above Guildford, Dorking and Reigate, to Oxted in the east. To the south are the Greensand Hills that include Black Down, the Devil’s Punch Bowl and Leith Hill.
Hugh Broom, Sondes Place Farm and Dorking NFU Branch Chairman;
“I was delighted to welcome the Minister to showcase the many years of habitat creation and enhancement work that has been going at our family farm, and to highlight the opportunities and explain the challenges that farmers face in the Surrey Hills.“
Chairman of the Surrey Hills Board, David Wright OBE comments;
“We are delighted to welcome Lord de Mauley to the Surrey Hills. We need to ensure that all parts of Government, including Local Authorities and Parish Councils, take responsibility in safeguarding and promoting our precious natural environment by having due regard to the policies in the Surrey Hills AONB Management Plan.”