Biodiversity Working Group

This group is helping to protect biodiversity in Surrey in alignment with national biodiversity policy and its implementation. At present this remains DEFRA’s Biodiversity 2020 strategy, but its successor programme is currently in preparation.

The group replaces the steering group of the former Surrey Biodiversity Partnership, which drove implementation of the Surrey Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) from 1999 to 2010. Following review of the UK mission to meet our commitments to the International Convention on Biological Diversity after 2011, the Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework was published to maintain national co-ordination within the period 2011-2020. Hence, the Surrey BAP is no longer active. All pertinent material has now been archived by the Surrey Nature Partnership and although now closed, its individual Habitat (and two Species) Action Plans are still available on request. The considerable achievements of local BAP-driven work in Surrey are summarised in a document The Surrey BAP; achievements and future action (June 2010), also available on request.

Minutes from the Biodiversity Working Group’s most recent meetings are available below;

Biodiversity Working Group Minutes 7th September 2022

Biodiversity Working Group Minutes 11th May 2022 (By Video Call)

Biodiversity Working Group Minutes 19th January 2022

Biodiversity Working Group Minutes 8th September 2021

Biodiversity Working Group Minutes 12th May 2021

Biodiversity Working Group Minutes 13th January 2021(By Video Call)

Biodiversity Working Group Minutes 16th September 2020 (By Video Call)

Biodiversity & Planning in Surrey

The Biodiversity Working Group has produced a ‘Biodiversity & Planning in Surrey‘ manual offering advice to statutory planning practitioners and their consultees, to ensure that development within the county protects and enhances the biodiversity which underpins our Natural Capital. To view & download this document, along with its appendices, please click on the links below.

Biodiversity & Planning in Surrey, Revised March 2019                                                    Appendix I: Revised Oct 2018  Legally protected species in Surrey.                                    Appendix II: Revised Oct 2018 v.1  Including updated schedules of statutory & non-statutory protected sites, habitats & species in Surrey (with S.41 Habitats & Species of Principal Importance for the purpose of conserving biodiversity in England), and all searchable by borough/district.

Planning Guidance:  Guidance to the local planning sector on recognition and protection of “Irreplaceable Habitats” in Surrey (ref. NPPF para. 175(c)): ‘Irreplaceable Habitats’ Guidance for Surrey August 2020.

Biodiversity Opportunity Areas

Biodiversity Opportunity Areas (BOAs) are extensive areas where improved habitat management, as well as efforts to restore and re-create Priority habitats will be most effective in enhancing connectivity to benefit recovery of Priority species in a fragmented landscape. They are therefore the basis for achieving Sir John Lawton’s vision of a “coherent and resilient ecological network” in SurreySpecialist guidance for strategic planners includes the document below, which provides useful contextual information on Surrey’s BOAs and prescribes their specific use in strategic planning. Appendices profile each individual BOA as a ‘Policy Statement’, grouped by their National Character Areas.

Biodiversity Opportunity Areas: the basis for realising Surrey’s ecological network, September 2019 (revised); (includes Appendices 1 & 2)                                              Appendix 3: Thames Valley Biodiversity Opportunity Area Policy Statements    Appendix 4: Thames Basin Heaths Biodiversity Opportunity Area Policy Statements Appendix 5: Thames Basin Lowlands Biodiversity Opportunity Area Policy Statements Appendix 6: North Downs Biodiversity Opportunity Area Policy Statements       Appendix 7: Wealden Greensands Biodiversity Opportunity Area Policy Statements Appendix 8: Low Weald Biodiversity Opportunity Area Policy Statements          Appendix 9: River Biodiversity Opportunity Area Policy Statements                     Appendix 10: Biodiversity Opportunity Area Objectives & Targets Summary

South East Regional Opportunity Area mapping methodology (SEEBF 2008)

The forthcoming Environment Bill is likely to place a requirement on appropriate authorities to identify, map and protect their respective section of a national ‘Nature Recovery Network‘, or NRN.  The paper below has been produced to prepare us for this in Surrey and to explain the role and potential relationship of our Biodiversity Opportunity Areas with the government’s aspiration to establish a country-wide NRN:  Surrey in the national Nature Recovery Network (February 2020)

We have just produced a report summarising the progress made towards the BOA objective targets, between 2011 and 2020. This is available as a download; Biodiversity Action Reporting Project 2011-20, March 2022.

The State of Surrey’s Nature

The Biodiversity Working Group’s latest publication is The State of Surrey’s Nature, providing a current stock-take of the county’s biodiversity. The report aims to quantify our most threatened wildlife but also celebrates why Surrey’s biodiversity is so special. This will help clarify our responsibilities to both national and international conservation, and serve to further inform our priorities at the county level. It will also be a base-line from which to measure future biodiversity trends and changes. A link to the national State of Nature 2016 report is here. Surrey’s Species of Conservation Concern (SoCC) data-tables used in the analysis for our report are below:                        (i) State of Surrey’s Nature SoCC lists-PLANTS;                                                                          (ii) State of Surrey’s Nature SoCC lists-INVERTEBRATES;                                                      (iii) State of Surrey’s Nature SoCC lists-VERTEBRATES.

Position Statements

The Biodiversity Working Group will occasionally publish formal Surrey Nature Partnership positions on various issues, if these are appropriate to the partnership’s business and it is felt helpful to do so in the interests of providing professional guidance.

photo: Birch leaf-rolling weevil At wisley common © Mike Waite 2020

View over Chobham (A Wragg)