Surrey County Council is one of seven organisations from across North West Europe working on the EU funded RESTORE project. This is looking to develop a framework for the restoration of mineral sites after extraction, to provide benefits for biodiversity, habitats and local people. More information on the RESTORE project and the partners involved can be found on the RESTORE website.
The RESTORE project is establishing a number of demonstration sites and pilots to showcase what can be achieved through mineral restoration. This includes the North West Surrey study area which will be developing a restoration strategy and long-term vision for mineral workings.
North West Surrey: A Vision for Mineral Sites Restoration
North West Surrey is an area which has been extensively worked for sand and gravel extraction. The heavily built up area running along the River Thames has a long legacy of mineral extraction that has contributed to a landscape of filled and unfilled sites. Many of these sites have become important habitats for a diverse range of biodiversity and are recognised as being important for nature conservation.
The North West Surrey strategy will seek to deliver benefits for wildlife and people and will also serve to demonstrate best practice in what can be achieved through visionary minerals planning over a large-scale area. Covering all of the Borough of Spelthorne and parts of Elmbridge and Runnymede, as shown on the map below, we aim to create a strategy and vision for mineral sites restoration across the whole of the study area.
We will be taking a landscape scale approach and developing a multi-site restoration strategy for the North West Surrey study area. This will set out the long-term vision and strategic aspirations for the area. The restoration strategy will:
- Support and reinforce existing nature conservation designations in the project area
- Ensure compatibility and safety for good habitat design which minimises the risk of collision between birds and aircraft (bird strike)
- Identify opportunities to contribute to plans to reduce flood risk in the area
- Promote appropriate access and recreation provision
- Enhance the visual landscape
The restoration strategy will be a vision document rather than a delivery or implementation plan. It is a mechanism to put down on paper ideas for the study area. This will provide the framework for the delivery of restoration measures on the ground and will inform future mineral restorations.
Our approach to developing the restoration strategy
The strategy will build on the engagement activities that took place as part of the development of the current Surrey County Council Minerals Plan (2011). Whilst the focus back then was solely on sites that might be worked for mineral extraction in the future, the work now will be looking at the restoration of past, present and future mineral sites to develop a long-term vision for the area.
The restoration strategy will be developed in partnership with local stakeholders including mineral operators, residents' associations, local interest groups, individual landowners, Heathrow Airport and environmental organisations. As a first step we will be holding five engagement events in February and early March 2015, aimed at residents' associations and local interest groups. The events will be looking to generate ideas about how mineral restorations can enhance the quality of the landscape, support nature conservation interests and improve public access. This will help shape the vision for the study area.
North West Surrey engagement events
Four engagement events were held across the North West Surrey study area in February to explore how mineral restorations (past, present and future) could provide benefits to wildlife and local people. Read our summary of events.