Residents, businesses and community groups are being asked for their views about a proposal to extend the boundary of Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) to include parts of Croydon.
AONBs represent some of England’s most treasured landscapes, whose unique qualities are safeguarded in the national interest.
The existing AONB is on the fringe of the borough in neighbouring Surrey, but field research by Natural England as part of a review suggests the boundary should be extended to include Happy Valley and Farthing Downs in Coulsdon.
These beauty spots are popular for their rich wildlife and countryside walks and are already protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and notified as a National Nature Reserve. If they became part of the Surrey Hills Area of Natural Beauty, however, they would be further conserved in law by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW Act).
Additional resources would also be available to help manage the parks from the AONB team.
Natural England is inviting residents, local businesses, landowning groups and community organisations to have their say on the plans. Croydon Council and other local authorities, such as Surrey County Council, are also being consulted as part of the boundary review.
The consultation was launched on March 7 and will close on June 13.
Jason Perry, Executive Mayor of Croydon, said: “This review recognises the natural beauty in the borough and the importance of protecting these landscapes for future generations to enjoy.
“We would recommend getting involved in this survey and, if you can, pay a visit to Happy Valley and Farthing Downs to see for yourself the countryside we have available to us on our doorstep.”
Jason Perry, Executive Mayor of Croydon
There are a variety of ways to take part – the consultation document is in Central Library or fill in the survey online.