First up was Keith Bowden from Heather Farm, the old mushroom farm which after huge efforts is now enhancing Horsell Common. The 1000 acre site is an attractive wetland area which will be opened fully soon, when all the areas are up to safety standards. Keith showed us some fascinating slides, marking the progress of the site from derelict mushroom farm, with huge areas of decaying buildings and acres of concrete to one where already the lake is full and many bird species are safe to live, as well as beautiful fringing areas of diverse planting!
The main talk of the evening was:-
Living Landscapes Strategy by Sarah Jane Chimbwandira.
Sarah gave a very positive and interesting talk about the future strategy for wildlife and biodiversity in Surrey.
For Woking the strategy provides a context for many of the projects and aims that LA21 is working on. Surrey’s strategy aims to halt the loss of Biodiversity that has been underway and their approach reflects guidance from Government.
A key aspect of the strategy is to link up protected and good areas for biodiversity and to reduce the impact of development and traffic. They also recognise that Gardens in urban areas can make a significant contribution to biodiversity and like LA21 they will be promoting wildlife gardening .
Sarah showed lots of interesting maps of Surrey to show good areas and where opportunities should focus. She showed lots of data on Surrey’s conditions and who owns land and how much is protected. SWT owns and manages 6% so they have to influence others to do the right things.
They are keen to work in partnerships with organizations like LA21 and Woking Council to help deliver their vision.