Surrey’s Rural Economy Conference 2019

16th July 2019

Business & the Environment

Climate change, environmental sustainability and the rural economy were the challenging and urgent issues covered by leading Speakers at Surrey’s Rural Economy Conference organised by Surrey Hills Enterprises on Friday 12th July, generously sponsored by Barclays Bank.


The Conference was opened by Michael More-Molyneux, Lord Lieutenant of Surrey and Patron of Surrey Hills Enterprises.

Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs gave the Keynote speech focusing on the actions needed to deliver the 25 Year Plan to improve the environment within a generation, including net zero carbon emissions by 2050. He emphasised with great passion and commitment the importance of the environment and the need to focus on sustainable growth and a rural economy based on quality local quality products.

At a time when significant change is needed to protect the environment, the Conference showcased inspiring initiatives by Surrey’s leading rural businesses who have been awarded the Trade Mark Surrey Hills, a mark of local provenance, quality and sustainability – Bridget Biddell, High Sheriff of Surrey and Bill Biddell of Hampton Estate, Jeannette Simpson and Elizabeth Marett of The Vineyards of the Surrey Hills, Simon Ferrar of Clandon Wood Nature Reserve  and Natural Burial Ground and Mark Lebus of L C Energy.

Michael Gove congratulated Ella and Andy Driscoll and Mike Hill of Shere Kitchens and Simon Ferrar of Clandon Nature Reserve and Natural Burial Ground on their Gold Trade Mark Award for outstanding work in supporting the local environment in the Surrey Hills and building sustainability.


Anthony Samuels, Chairman and Cllr Mike Goodman, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport at Surrey County Council announced a number of local actions being developed in Surrey to protect the environment including planting 1.2 million trees by 2030, one tree for every person living in Surrey.

New programmes to invest in and support the countryside were detailed by Marian Spain, the Chief Executive of Natural England, Jonathan Essex from Surrey’s Climate Commission announced the practical actions underway in Surrey to reduce climate change and how local people can get involved in local actions.

Simon Whalley, Chairman of Surrey Hills Enterprises said “this is a key Conference for Surrey, highlighting the significant environmental challenges that we are facing. Businesses that reflect and support their local environment such as the Trade Mark Surrey Hills Awardees have inspiring stories that also provide them with a market advantage. With the growing focus on sustainability, we have the opportunity to make a real difference for current and future generations and protect our beautiful Surrey countryside and heritage”.

Surrey Hills Enterprises, a Community Interest Company organised the Conference to showcase innovation and inspire more action to protect the environment and support the rural economy.

About Surrey Hills Enterprises

Surrey’s Rural Economy Conference is one of a number of initiatives organised by Surrey Hills Enterprises, a Community Interest Company, working to support the rural economy and to promote, protect and enhance the beautiful Surrey Hills.

Contact: Wendy Varcoe, Executive Director 01483 661150