Surrey County Council is responsible for preparing a Local Nature Recovery Strategy for Surrey.
- What is a Local Nature Recovery Strategy?
- Why does Surrey need a Local Nature Recovery Strategy?
- Who is funding preparation of the strategy?
- When will the strategy be produced?
- What have we already done to protect nature in Surrey?
- How do I get involved?
- Will the Local Nature Recovery Strategy be ready for the start of mandatory Biodiversity Net Gain?
What is the Local Nature Recovery Strategy?
The Local Nature Recovery Strategy is a new spatial strategy to identify locations to improve nature and provide other environmental benefits, such as carbon sequestration, flood regulation and access to nature-rich spaces where this is most needed for health and wellbeing.
The Local Nature Recovery Strategy will:
- Agree priorities for nature's recovery
- Map the most valuable existing areas for nature
- Map specific proposals for creating and improving habitat for nature and wider environmental goals
Required by law under the Environment Act 2021, every county in England will produce a Local Nature Recovery Strategy. These strategies will work together to restore, create and connect habitats across England.
Decisions about where and how to recover nature will be reached through consultation with a wide range of people and groups in each county, from ecologists and community groups to health professionals and local businesses. In Surrey, we want everyone to have their say.
Local Nature Recovery Strategies will help to direct several new funding streams including for agri-environment funding. They will also link with Biodiversity Net Gain, which is a new planning requirement to ensure habitat for wildlife is in a better state than it was before development.
Read more about Local nature recovery strategies.
Why does Surrey need a Local Nature Recovery Strategy?
Surrey supports an amazing diversity of landscapes and wildlife, from ancient woodland and treasured chalk downlands to large expanses of open heathland and beautiful historic parklands. Surrey is also home to the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), which has internationally important habitats. This impressive nature makes Surrey a highly attractive place for people to live and for businesses to locate.
This nature underpins our lives. From street trees to rivers, nature in Surrey provides us with food, water, carbon storage and clean air. Walks in nature help us stay physically and mentally healthy, and urban and rural wildlife sightings bring joy to many people.
However, we've witnessed a huge deterioration in the health of Surrey's natural environment due to complex factors, including pollution, pesticide use, diseases, loss of traditional land management practices and climate change.
The Local Nature Recovery Strategy for Surrey will help us reverse this nature loss by setting out where and how to manage land and water to create a network of nature-rich sites which are bigger, better managed and more joined-up across the county and across the country.
Who is funding the preparation of the strategy?
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs are providing funding to support the development of Local Nature Recovery Strategies. Surrey County Council and other local organisations are also supporting the local evidence base to support the strategy. We will work closely with people and groups across the county to develop the strategy. We will also work closely with the eleven district and borough councils in Surrey, and Natural England.
When will the strategy be produced?
We are currently developing a plan for preparing the strategy, including how we will engage with stakeholders to produce a draft strategy. Our aim is for the strategy to be completed by the end of 2024.
To kickstart the process, we have set up a steering group with representatives of key partners and stakeholders. The steering group is chaired by Surrey County Council's Director for Environment.
The following organisations are members of the steering group:
- Surrey County Council
- Surrey Nature Partnership
- Surrey Wildlife Trust
- Surrey Biodiversity Information Centre
- Guildford Borough Council (representing Local Planning Authorities in Surrey)
- Natural England
- Forestry Commission
- Environment Agency
- NFU (National Farmers Union)
- CLA (Country Land and Business Association)
What have we already done to protect nature in Surrey?
There are more than 700 Local Wildlife Sites across Surrey, in addition to the many nationally protected sites. The Surrey Nature Partnership has also identified Biodiversity Opportunity Areas (BOAs), which aim to reverse nature loss by identifying the best areas to restore, enhance and reconnect priority habitat. We will take these Biodiversity Opportunity Areas into account when producing the Local Nature Recovery Strategy for Surrey.
Learn more about Biodiversity Opportunity Areas.
For a more detailed GIS map view the Surrey Interactive Map and select the data layer named 'Environment - Biodiversity Opportunity Areas'.
How do I get involved?
We want everyone in Surrey to be talking about the Local Nature Recovery Strategy and the habitats and species it seeks to protect and enhance.
Please look out for updates to this webpage as we will be publishing further details about the strategy and how to get involved in the near future.
We are currently making sure we have accurate information about nature and wildlife in Surrey. If you have data you think it would be helpful for us to have, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
We are also working closely with 'Space4Nature': a mapping and citizen science project run by the University of Surrey, Surrey Wildlife Trust, Buglife and Painshill Park, funded by the People's Postcode Lottery. Visit the Space4Nature website to find out more.
Will the Local Nature Recovery Strategy be ready for the start of mandatory Biodiversity Net Gain?
The strategy will not be completed ahead of the commencement of mandatory Biodiversity Net Gain (in November 2023 for major development and April 2024 for small sites).
In the meantime, existing local biodiversity policy and guidance should be used to inform proposals and decisions. This includes the Biodiversity Opportunity Area Policy Statements documents listed below.
- The basis for realising Surrey's ecological network
- Thames Valley Biodiversity Opportunity Area Policy Statements
- Thames Basin Heaths Biodiversity Opportunity Area Policy Statements
- Thames Basin Lowlands Biodiversity Opportunity Area Policy Statements
- North Downs Biodiversity Opportunity Area Policy Statements
- Wealden Greensands Biodiversity Opportunity Area Policy Statements
- Low Weald Biodiversity Opportunity Area Policy Statements
- River Biodiversity Opportunity Area Policy Statements
- Biodiversity Opportunity Area Objectives and Targets Summary
To view the boundaries on a GIS map, see Surrey Interactive Map and select the data layer named 'Environment - Biodiversity Opportunity Areas'.
Surrey Nature Partnership will consider whether it is necessary and appropriate the publish interim guidance for Local Planning Authorities. Any interim guidance will be published by the Biodiversity Working Group of the nature partnership.