Surrey Hills boundary review: Natural England press release

1st December 2021

Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) needs you

  • Local knowledge is being sought to help decide on the extension of Surrey Hills AONB boundaries
  • Natural England is calling for everyone with an interest to contribute
  • Whether you live in in the Surrey Hills AONB, run a local business, enjoy visiting, care about landscapes and biodiversity, or represent an organisation – your evidence could be crucial in helping determine whether an extension is merited

The Surrey Hills is an iconic and beautiful landscape encompassing rare habitats from chalk grassland to extensive ancient woodland and is enjoyed by millions of residents and visitors.

There has been a desire locally over many years for a review to decide whether additional areas adjacent to the existing AONB boundary should also be designated.

Earlier this year Natural England announced that the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) will be considered for boundary expansion.

A formal boundary review is now underway which will consider the case for extending the existing AONB.

Members of the public are urged to take part and contribute to Natural England’s decision making process.  This stage is a ‘call for evidence’ to gather a range of data and information in a structured way to help address the specific technical requirements of the formal assessment process.

From today people can participate easily online, through a digital app, and other means. Evidence provided by the public will help contribute to Natural England’s assessment of the natural beauty of the area; and its decision whether other areas in the vicinity of the existing boundary should form part of an extended Surrey Hills AONB. 

Allison Potts, Area Manager for Natural England, said:

“It is very important that people who live in and around the Surrey Hills have the opportunity to participate in this review process. Your local knowledge is our starting point.

“We are urging members of the public to help Natural England build evidence – to gather information about the natural beauty of the landscape; its condition, natural and cultural heritage, scenic qualities, relative wildness and tranquillity. Evidence that you provide for these factors could be particularly important for our assessments”.

If further areas are added to the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this could bring many benefits for the area, including boosting nature’s recovery, giving more people the opportunity to enjoy this beautiful area and safeguarding a nationally important landscape for future generations.

An extension to the Surrey Hills AONB could help preserve the natural environment and rural heritage, promote tranquillity and give more opportunity to support people’s health and wellbeing through access to nature, on the doorstep of London.

Click the button below to find out how you can help Natural England to decide.