Caring for our countryside

Closes 3 Dec 2018

Introduction

Surrey County Council (SCC) owns or manages 10,000 acres of the county’s countryside which is open for the public to visit. These include Ockham Common in the north of the county, Norbury Park in the south, Chobham Common in the west and Staffhurst Wood in the east. As these sites are highly valued, we’re asking you to help shape a strategy to protect them for future generations.

These sites have a number of roles. Many of us use them for recreation, health and wellbeing, but they’re also places where people work and live. Additionally, the sites are beautiful landscapes which provide vital habitats for wildlife. In fact, many of the sites are so important they’ve been given designations such as sites of special scientific interest (SSSI) or areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) which means we have a duty to protect them.

Caring for our countryside so it balances its many uses is an ongoing job which requires time, expertise and money. It involves clearing paths so they can be safely used, making dangerous trees and branches safe, removing litter, and conserving sensitive landscapes and species.

So how should we care for our countryside and improve it for the future?

SCC is working with the Surrey Wildlife Trust – which manages the sites on the council’s behalf – to develop a 25 year countryside strategy. This is alongside a programme to make the countryside self-funding, so improvements can continue to be made without reliance on SCC which has considerable budget pressures. Together, they will guarantee that the countryside sites will receive the care and management that they need to protect them for future generations.

Sharing how you use Surrey’s countryside sites and your future priorities for them is vital to help shape the strategy. Your responses will then be taken into account when it’s considered by SCC’s cabinet in early 2019.