In December 2021, Natural England launched the first phase of the Surrey Hills boundary review by calling for engagement from the public. This gathered evidence within and around identified evaluation areas to help inform follow on assessments regarding whether the Surrey Hills National Landscape – a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – should be extended. The evidence gathering platform has now closed, and the Surrey Hills thank all those who participated in the process.
The Surrey Hills family is enormously grateful to DEFRA Ministers for giving the go-ahead for the boundary review and to local Members of Parliament for their support. But most of all, I would like to thank all those organisations and individuals who submitted their evidence. Your fantastic contributions will complement Natural England’s evaluation of natural beauty and the desirability of extending the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.Heather Kerswell, Chair of the Surrey Hills Board
Over 2000 pieces of evidence were submitted to the platform, a testament to the outstanding engagement from the public. During the visit by the Rt Hon Lord Benyon (Government Minister for Rural Affairs, Access to Nature and Biosecurity within DEFA) to the Surrey Hills on 1 February 2022, the Minister had the opportunity to visit locations such as Chinthurst Hill within the evaluation areas.
Surrey MPs are very pleased to see the amount of engagement the boundary review project has seen during the evidence gathering phase. I look forward to seeing the next stages of the process undertaken by Natural England.Jonathan Lord, Member of Parliament for Woking
The future stages of the boundary review are outlined on the website here and will include a combination of desk based work and detailed field survey running until late spring 2022, and a desirability and candidate areas assessment in the summer.
“The Surrey Hills AONB is an iconic and beautiful landscape encompassing rare habitats from chalk grassland to extensive ancient woodland and is enjoyed by millions of residents and visitors from all across the region. We are grateful to everyone who has contributed to the call for evidence, and as Government’s statutory landscape adviser, we look forward to continuing to work closely with Government, designated landscape bodies and stakeholders to deliver more for and through England’s diverse landscapes.”Allison Potts, Area Manager at Natural England
Following on from the evidence gathering phase, Natural England welcomes you to attend one of the four webinars planned for 22nd, 23rd, 24th and 26th March to share with you in more detail how the evidence submitted is being used, the key themes and messages that are emerging and next steps in the boundary review process.
To book onto one of these webinars, please click here.
The Surrey Hills boundary review website can be found here.