Case Study - North West Surrey

Restore project logo - Investing in opportunities: This project has received European Regional Development Funding through INTERREG IV B.Surrey County Council was one of seven organisations from across North West Europe working on the EU funded RESTORE project. This aimed 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 established a number of demonstration sites and pilots to showcase what can be achieved through mineral restoration. This includes the North West Surrey study area where a restoration strategy and long-term vision for mineral workings was developed.

North West Surrey: A Vision for Mineral Sites Restoration

Section contents

Background

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 seeks to deliver benefits for wildlife and people and also serves 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 have created a strategy and vision for mineral sites restoration across the whole of the study area.

Aim

We have taken a landscape scale approach and have developed a multi-site restoration strategy for the North West Surrey study area. This sets out the long-term vision and strategic aspirations for the area. The restoration strategy:

  • Supports and reinforces existing nature conservation designations in the project area
  • Ensures compatibility and safety for good habitat design which minimises the risk of collision between birds and aircraft (bird strike)
  • Identifies opportunities to contribute to plans to reduce flood risk in the area
  • Promotes appropriate access and recreation provision
  • Enhances the visual landscape

The restoration strategy is 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 provides the framework for the delivery of restoration measures on the ground and informs future mineral restorations.

Our approach to developing the restoration strategy

The strategy builds 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, this work looked at the restoration of past, present and future mineral sites to develop a long-term vision for the area.

The restoration strategy has been developed in partnership with local stakeholders including mineral operators, residents' associations, local interest groups, individual landowners, Heathrow Airport and environmental organisations. Engagement events were held which were aimed at residents' associations and local interest groups. These events sought to generate ideas about how mineral restorations can enhance the quality of the landscape, support nature conservation interests and improve public access and helped to shape the vision for the study area.

North West Surrey Restoration Strategy

Hard copies of the North West Surrey Restoration Strategy are available free of charge from mwcd@surreycc.gov.uk