Urban greening opportunities across Surrey to help reverse nature loss

Over the last few decades, 11% of Surrey's native species have become extinct. Despite being the most wooded county in England, our biodiversity loss rate is higher than the national average.

To combat this decline in local wildlife and plant species, the Local Nature Recovery Strategy will be launched in 2024. In the meantime, we are exploring ways in which we can halt, and ideally reverse, this alarming decline.

One important aspect of this is to reconnect the habitats across Surrey which have been broken up by urban areas. By creating nature corridors across these urban areas, using strategically mapped Urban Biodiversity Opportunity Areas (URBOAs), we aim to build a collaborative project with residents and businesses that ensures Surrey's wildlife and nature remains richly diverse for future generations.

Working with Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT) who mapped the URBOAs, and delivery partners such as Global Centre for Clean Air Research and Zero Carbon Guildford we will support green-blue infrastructure interventions across town centres, as well as wildlife-friendly activities in residential gardens.

Benefits of urban greening

As well as addressing the concerning loss of pollinators and other wildlife which support local food production and ecosystems, urban greening has a range of co-benefits, including:

  1. Increasing biodiversity opportunities
  2. Increasing access to green space in urban areas
  3. Improving air quality, which Guildford ranks in the worst 3% for nationally.
  4. Improving mental health and well being via access to nature
  5. Increasing natural shading, which evidence shows lowers reliance on local public health services and reduction in skin cancer rates.
  6. Improving rainwater absorption as a flood resilience measure

One of our core aims is to establish a cohesive network of interconnected green corridors across the entire county, by encouraging residents to take a proactive stance in preserving wildlife within their own green spaces.

There are 18 URBOAs mapped across Surrey's towns and urban areas. We are running a trial phase in Guildford, to help us understand what obstacles residents and businesses have to participating, but in 2024, we will look to expand the project across Surrey.

How can you get involved in this project?

There are lots of ways to get involved, wherever you are in Surrey. Although the project will only spread from Guildford next year, you can start preparing now.

Creating a wildlife-friendly garden

So, what can you do in your space? Have a look at the list of fun and nature friendly projects below, and check out Surrey Wildlife Trust's Top Actions for nature pages for instructions on how to get started!

Wildlife homes

Things you can grow:

If you have limited space:

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