HDA was commissioned by Surrey County Council, and part funded by Natural England, to prepare a Landscape Character Assessment (LCA) for Surrey, and to review the boundary of Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The LCA was prepared following Natural England best practice guidance, maintaining a hierarchical distinction between Landscape Types and Character Areas. Initially the LCA was used to inform the AONB boundary review, and was subsequently extended to produce an up-to-date countywide LCA for Surrey.
The LCA involved consultation with the 11 Districts and Boroughs within Surrey and identifies Landscape Types, Character Areas and management guidelines across the County.
AONB boundary review
Areas of Great Landscape Value (AGLV) surrounding the AONB were assessed for their suitability for inclusion within the AONB, by judging their natural beauty against Natural England criteria. HDA identified a number of surrounding areas which met the natural beauty criteria. Following consultation with local Districts and Surrey County Council, HDA’s assessment was submitted to Natural England, who have resolved to modify the AONB boundary.
The study demonstrates a robust, analytical approach to identifying valued landscape and the key characteristics of AONB landscapes, an essential tool in addressing potential impacts of development on high value landscape. The study informs policies and strategies for both Surrey Hills AONB and the wider County of Surrey.
The Landscape Character Study is available on the Surrey County Council website.