LAND - Nature and Housing | Participant contributions at the 22nd April online People's Assembly

We've sorted rich flood of ideas and vision elements shared into four broad groups; you can access the other groups – and a catch-all group - below.

Transport, public, private and active
Community, community hubs and spaces
Citizenship, society & education
Other topics & ideas

Some of the ideas have been included in more than one of the above groups, and we've deliberately left all near-duplication to emphasise the most common themes.

Land & Nature
• Trees give more joy than grass/parks. Let's keep the things that are good.
• Have a dedicated area of garden for wildflowers and pollinators.
• Turn churchyards into sensory and wildflower gardens.
• Land in Surrey is not being managed with ecology and diversity in mind; create ecology corridors and encourage farmers to be involved.
• Current agricultural practices are depleting the soil and exploiting the natural
• Grassroots initiatives e.g. allotments. A holistic approach to food addressing the need side, the waste side. More engaged in growing, in food clubs redistributing waste which are already increasing in scope.
• Tree planting - also, has read article from Royal Horticultural Society about the kind of shrubs that can be planted along busy roads to absorb pollution.
• Surrey Wildlife reaction to Ash dieback; a need for replanting.
• 'Healthy space' in every sense of the word, let's think about quality of life, our principles and our purpose.
• No more disconnect between us and nature. More education to link us back to the environment and the natural world so we can connect our children to the world around them.
• No more 'London Creep' and erosion of the Green belt.
• We need to keep the natural world around us, not just pave it over.
• The way to mitigate climate change is to pay attention to habitats through collaborations. Less industrialisation and more habitat restoration. Incorporate natural spaces wherever we can.
• Small groups can effect change, particularly if they focus on one thing. There is a plan to plant over 1.2 million trees in Surrey and more engagement is needed with the tree wardens to get buy in for the proposed locations.
• Rewilding and the effects of land management e.g. how scrub clearing in Bookham has destroyed the local nightingale population.
• More community space and green space in Dorking – and also greater access to green space and landscape. Land ownership is too concentrated in the hands of a wealthy few.
• Green spaces to used promote healthy culture and generally improve people's health.
• Universal access to fresh, local food.
• Access to land and green space. Would like a wider group of people to have agency over how land is managed and developed.
• Build respect for wildlife and the natural world.
• Tackle the problems of climate.
• Better farming methods with less pesticides and herbicides.
• Our environment is being destroyed and can't see how we get out of it. Individual solutions won't necessarily help, for example more electric cars means more batteries which means more exploitation of the world's resources.
• Find our link to nature.
• Have the opportunity to buy local organic wildlife-friendly food. To have a Michelin Guide to Farms.
• Improve sterile spaces, find funding for communities to purchase these spaces to develop them into a beautiful nature reserve for nature therapy and mental health. All-inclusive with the opportunity for one to one sessions and group therapies surrounded by nature.
• Educate people about climate change
• Walks in the local area to experience the small things, grass, insects, birds, all wildlife.
• Land restoration is a wonderful idea.
• I agree it's really hard to find out who owns land, like local woodland with rubbish in it, to find out who's responsible for the rubbish.
• local food, bringing a focus on what are we producing. What do we in the local area do well that we can get people engaged in, to be proud in what we're genuinely growing. Let's see growers sending directly to people and local veg boxes – an East Surrey Veg Box instead of one from Devon.
• All bits of land not actively in use to be restored for nature. Make a verge a space that can thrive. Do something with every small bit of land through habitat management, like the Incredible Edible group, nature reserves, or rewilding. Let's have thriving landscapes which humans can engage with, or re-wild, rather than old bits of land. Getting permission will be an issue and we could create a database or online network with information on who owns each bit of land to help enable people's interest in these projects.
• Deeper change is needed and we need to tap into the love of nature. Start in schools by inspiring compassion for the planet. Aware of agriculture's role in this area and the need to hold the farmers and landowners to account in farming sustainably.
• See East Surrey in 2030 with a secure supply of potable water, plus conserved, valued and sustainably managed countryside.
• A greater understanding is needed of the effects of the environment on us.
• A well-funded and staffed Environment Agency.
• Locally produced food and economy
• A clean river (Mole, no sewage)
• Re-wild Gatwick.
• Preserve and protect trees; landowners to no longer be allowed to cut down ancient trees and replace them with 4 new ones.
• A notion of community that includes other organisms and is not human-centric.
• NO more ecocide.
• Stop exploiting nature, particularly the trees that help to reduce air pollution. Mature trees are protected.
• Can we imagine a town that's 'reforested' in order to improve our resilience to climate change through natural means.
• Ability to be in silence when out in nature in say, Norbury Park. Less noise pollution.

• All new builds should have an area of land for heat source pumps and existing communities should have help to achieve this.
• Develop better buildings ‐ houses with heat pumps, solar panels, bat boxes, swift boxes. Developments with community orchards for growing vegetables to share. Green roofs to all buildings where possible ‐ bus shelters, car parks, cinemas
• Heating of properties ‐ energy supplier change is ok but it's the way the building is heated must change. Educating people how to insulate their homes to reduce gas usage. New houses do not have gas central heating.
• Energy inefficiency in older houses and many new houses have not been built with climate crisis in mind - this needs to change.
• Rebuild to better standards. Our housing stock needs to be improved. Where building new homes locally, they need to be on transport nodes to better utilise public transport.
• Our current housing stock would not last as long as the oldest house in the area, built in the 11th century in Limpsfield!
• Retro fitting houses to make them energy efficient; has done this with her own house, achieving a significant reduction in the months the heating needed to on. (Devolvement of decision making to communities would mean they would accept change more easily.)
• Increase affordable housing but avoid rebuilding housing stock that is carbon expensive – use sustainable methods, not current methods.
• Retro-fitting current housing stock is necessary.
• Limitation on inappropriate development.
• Make sure the south east isn't inundated with new builds and make sure the housing that is built is sympathetic and sustainable.

A shared vision for 'Land, Nature and Housing'?

At the end of the 22 April Assembly each breakout room presented the 3 most common themes from their participants' contributions. Here's a Vision Statement based on those 33 summary elements; that vision can be made much richer by inclusion of the detail from above.

In East Surrey we are surrounded by beauty and are at one with it. Nature and biodiversity are considered as part of our community, have an equal voice in all decisions, and are protected in law.
Park and Ride schemes protect our most visited areas, and many less well-known areas are now accessible to all thanks to coalitions with landowners and some community-backed purchases.
More people spend more time in nature every year - habitat restoration work continues everywhere; local food production is commonplace and chemical-free – and our county's mental well-being index is excellent.

Imaginative use of previously wasted and brownfield sites continues to provide for new housing, commercial and industrial premises.
All new builds are of the highest environmental standards; and the locally built affordable housing continues to win awards. The retrofitting of the county's old housing stock is almost complete, and industrial and commercial premises are not far behind.
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COMMUNITY - Community Hubs, Spaces and More | Part...
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Tuesday, 31 January 2023