Surrey Wildlife Trust launches urgent wildfire appeal

Surrey Wildlife Trust is urgently asking for donations to help one of Surrey’s most precious heathland habitats, and around 200 red deer that help maintain it, recover from a devastating wildfire.

In July, a wildfire broke out on Pirbright Ranges, one of the largest areas of lowland heath in Surrey and home to many rare and threatened species.  Patches of ground continue to burn for three weeks and over 650 hectares of pristine heathland has now been severely burnt, at great cost to wildlife.

Surrey Wildlife Trust’s herd of red deer carry out a vital role by grazing the heathland to prevent scrub including Scots pine, common gorse and silver birch from taking over the site.   This allows slower-growing dwarf scrub and specialist heathland plant species to flourish, creating the foundation of the unique and threatened heathland ecosystem.  Following the fire, hundreds of meters of fencing and heavy-duty sleepers that keep the deer safely on site now needs to be replaced – and the ongoing welfare of the herd will depend on regular vet checks and inspections by SWT staff.  Supplementary food in the form of haylage will also be made available to the deer to ensure they have enough food to maintain good condition heading into winter.

The immediate impact of the fire also includes the potential loss of hundreds of recently fledged rare ground-nesting birds including European nightjars, Dartford warblers and woodlark which may have been too young to fly away from the fire.  The damage to the site will also have prevented their parents from nesting a second time this year and will change the availability of suitable nesting sites for years to come.  Reptiles like slow worms, grass snakes and adders have been unable to escape the fire, perishing alongside the many invertebrate species, including endangered heath tiger beetles that inhabit the remaining heathland fragments in the southeast of England.

Rising temperatures and a lack of rainfall has led to increasingly large, uncontrollable blazes that destroy large areas of heathland. The Pirbright Ranges Fire has potentially burned deep into the ground, affecting plant species including round-leaved sundew, marsh clubmoss and bell heather over hundreds of hectares.

Around 85% of heathland in the UK has been lost over the past 150 years through agriculture, development and changes in land management. Surrey Wildlife Trust manages several areas of heathland, including Chobham Common National Nature Reserve and Wisley and Ockham commons that are particularly susceptible to fire in dry conditions.  Strain on resources in the years ahead are set to be severe for all who manage and protect these diverse and sensitive habitats.  Dealing with the impact of the Pirbright Ranges fire is expected to account for more than 30 additional days of SWT staff time this year alone.

Pirbright before the fire

 

Surrey Wildlife Trust’s director of reserves management, James Herd, says: “Wildfires have put Surrey on the front line of the climate and nature emergency – and we urgently need extra support to meet the challenge.  Whilst the heathland will regenerate over time, it is likely to be eight to twelve years before it returns to full health.  The deer will perform a unique and irreplaceable role in ensuring the lowland habitats recover during this time.  All donations we receive will go directly to ensuring their welfare and the continuing safety of Surrey’s heathlands and their unique plants and animals.

“With the help of local people, we will do all we can to explore what more can be done to protect our natural heritage as weather patterns change.  It’s vitally important that people in Surrey can continue to reap the benefits of diverse and healthy ecosystems.”

Pirbright after the fire

 

Pirbright Ranges is owned by the Ministry of Defence.  For safety reasons, it is not accessible to the public.  The herd of red deer that grazes the site is owned and managed by Surrey Wildlife Trust.

David Nolan, Area Commander for Surrey Fire and Rescue Service said: “Surrey Fire and Rescue Service is urging people to be wildfire aware. We have seen an increase in the number of wildfires we are attending recently and are asking residents to help keep Surrey safe. Please pack a picnic instead of a BBQ, and don’t have campfires or bonfires when the weather is dry! Ensure you dispose of cigarettes and litter correctly.”

For More Information Regarding Surrey Wildlife Trust CLICK HERE

Epsom & Ewell Borough Council responds to ULEZ consultation

Epsom & Ewell Borough Council (EEBC) has responded to Transport for London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) consultation.

TFL’s proposal is to expand the ULEZ to all London boroughs, including Kingston-upon-Thames and Sutton. This means eight out of the 13 wards in the borough will border the ULEZ and be directly affected. The Council anticipates the remaining wards will also be impacted by increased parking demand and use of side streets by non-exempt vehicle owners.

The following response was agreed by members at Full Council on 28 July:

  1. Provision is required for exempt routes which enable access to essential places and roads such as:
    1. A3, M25, A240.
    2. Facilities, e.g. the existing St Helier in Sutton.
    3. SW Region stations and other transport hubs that at present are outside the ULEZ but require EEBC residents to pass through the proposed ULEZ to reach them.
  2. Owners of non-exempt vehicles in EEBC to be included in any scrappage scheme that the Mayor of London is requesting from central government for London borough residents.
  3. The consultation period of two months should be extended until 31 December 2022 to allow more careful analysis of the cause and effect to the welfare and economy of the boroughs.

Councillor John Beckett, Chair of Environment and Safe Communities Committee, said: “We support the move to reduce high levels of air pollution, which the ULEZ scheme aims to achieve. However, owing to the acute economic pressure households and business are facing at this time, the scheme needs to consider the economic, social and mental health needs of all communities affected by this scheme, not just London boroughs.”

Your Funds…Your Ideas……

Residents have the opportunity to tell Mole Valley District Council the priorities for improving their local communities. The feedback received will help inform decision-making about spending money collected from developers, totalling almost £1 million.

 The Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy (NCIL) – or Neighbourhood Fund – consists of money from developers collected by Mole Valley District Council (MVDC) when new homes or retail premises are built in the district. Because new development can put a strain on existing infrastructure, the Neighbourhood Fund is available for communities to bid for money to deliver new infrastructure or maintaining existing infrastructure. Just under £1 million is currently available.

MVDC is inviting residents to complete a short consultation and choose the top three priority areas they consider are important, or in need of investment, in their local community. The consultation, and further guidance on the Neighbourhood

Fund, is available by visiting molevalley.gov.uk/fund. Residents can have their say until Wednesday 31 August 2022.

Councillor Bridget Kendrick, Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “We want to engage with the people who know the needs of their communities best – our residents – to help give us a much clearer picture about where and what is needed in the district in terms of infrastructure. We will be carrying this exercise out every other year, as we know that priorities change over time. “Once we have the vital feedback from this consultation, we will be in a much better position to be able to assess bids for funding we receive from local communities and make informed decisions about where investment is needed. Please do get involved, we really do need to hear from you and what you tell us will make a difference.”

Reward offered in search for wanted man Edward White-Overton

Surrey Police are continuing to appeal for the public’s help in finding 58-year-old Edward White-Overton who is wanted on recall to prison.

The independent charity Crimestoppers is offering a reward of up to £1,000 for information on Edward’s whereabouts which leads to his arrest.

Edward is described as a White man, around 6ft in height with short grey hair and blue eyes.

He has links to Epsom, Sunbury, Surbiton, Isleworth, Croydon, Bracknell, Bournemouth and Morden as well as the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) community.

If you’ve seen Edward or have any information which could help, please direct message Surrey Police or report online using webchat or their webform Click HereClick Here on their website, quoting crime reference number PR/45220074910.

Information can be given 100% anonymously at any time via freephone 0800 555 111 or by completing a simple and secure anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org. Please note that only information passed to Crimestoppers will qualify for a reward.

£270,000 secured to make Epsom’s streets safer

Surrey Police, Epsom & Ewell Borough Council and the Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey have secured over £270,000 in government funding as part of the Safer Streets initiative.

In response to ongoing issues in and around Epsom town centre, Surrey Police worked closely with Epsom & Ewell Borough Council to draw up an application for Safer Streets funding.

A survey was sent out into the community and the results were closely consulted when drafting the application. Among the concerns raised were drug use, threatening behaviour, extreme drunkenness, and violence within Epsom town centre, closely linked to the night-time economy.

The survey highlighted a desire for better signposting to help and support, and a need for increased confidence in the police response to issues within the town centre.

The application was drafted by the police and council, then approved and submitted by Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner Lisa Townsend. Other areas in Surrey to benefit from successful funding bids are Sunbury Cross and the Surrey Towers development in Addlestone.

The money will be used, among other measures, to modernise CCTV use, deliver training packages for licensed premises, and to provide free anti-drink spiking and spiking detection devices within Epsom town centre.

Borough Commander for Epsom & Ewell, Inspector Jon Vale, said, “This is fantastic news. Surrey Police and Epsom & Ewell Borough Council have worked tirelessly as a partnership in the submission of this bid. The community have told us their concerns, and we have listened.

“The funding made available will allow the partnership to implement numerous measures that would not otherwise been a possibility. This will help to make Epsom town centre an even safer place for users of the night-time economy, in particular women and girls.

“Tackling violence against women and girls is a specific priority for the Epsom & Ewell Community Safety Partnership and this work demonstrates our shared commitment in this respect.”

Rod Brown, Chair of the Epsom and Ewell Community Safety Partnership, said, “We know from speaking with residents that the safety of their environment is of great importance. I am delighted that this award will allow us to deliver lasting benefits to the late-night economy in Epsom to allow business to invest with confidence and secure safety improvements for the town.”

Latest News From Mole Valley District Council

Councillor Stephen Cooksey, Leader of Mole Valley District Council, said: “We have been allocated just over £235,000 for use as a discretionary scheme to support residents who were not entitled for the government’s energy rebate payment. We see those who live in Council Tax bands E – H homes and in receipt of Council Tax Support as the priority for this financial aid. Payments will be made directly to people who pay by Direct Debit. Anyone else will need to apply online. Eligible residents will be able to start applying in the next few weeks and more details will follow.

“Earlier this month the Council discussed, voted on and agreed to act on three motions put forward. The first will see us write to the government to request that they resolve an existing anomaly when it comes to their current policy surrounding the energy rebate payment of at least £400 (proposed by Cllr David Preedy). As it stands, only homes that have a direct relationship with electricity companies will receive a payment; unfortunately this does not include the majority of Park Home residents. We’ll be asking the government to find a solution in this matter to ensure that all households receive the energy rebate.

“We have also, with Council’s backing, written to fund managers at the Surrey Pension Fund – which we are a member of – to request that the Fund, and its investments, are net zero by 2035, and that suitable interim carbon budgets are also set (proposed by Cllr Claire Malcomson). We declared a climate emergency over two years ago and are doing everything in our power to become carbon neutral by 2030. We want to know that other bodies are committed to acting now too.

“Lastly, it was agreed at Council to call on the Chancellor of Exchequer to give more powers to the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) to prevent bank companies from closing branches which, in so doing, is very clearly disadvantaging many vulnerable or older residents who are unable to bank online, or travel a long distance, to the nearest available branch (proposed by Cllr Vyvyan-Robinson). Following the meeting, the responsible Cabinet Member not only responded to the FCA’s consultation on the branches shutting or having opening hours reduced, but also invited all Members to respond individually by the closing date of 26 July.

“We have been advised of planned strike action in Elmbridge and Surrey Heath by Amey employees – who empty bins and carry out street cleaning services under a joint contract that includes Mole Valley, Elmbridge, Surrey Heath and Woking – from Monday 1 to Friday 19 August. I want to reassure residents that Mole Valley crews were not involved in the ballot for industrial action. A range of contingency plans are currently being worked on to minimise the impact on core services across the four partnership areas, should the strikes go ahead. At this time we don’t know what those plans look like, and whether they could impact on our district’s waste services. We will keep you updated.

“The current contracts for the respective operators of Dorking Sports Centre (Places Leisure) and Leatherhead Leisure Centre (Fusion) will soon be coming to an end. It has been decided that the best option from an operational and financial perspective is to begin a procurement process to find a single operator to run both centres and provide high quality leisure services from December 2023. We will be in a position to provide further updates later in the year.

“You will have probably seen reports of the frightening wildfires across the country in recent weeks, not least at Hankley Common in Surrey. Wildfires are devastating for our countryside, wildlife and people’s lives and livelihoods. Often the cause of wildfires is people being neglectful, particularly when using disposable BBQ’s out in the open. Prevention is the key, and Surrey Fire and Rescue is urging people to pack a picnic rather than a disposable BBQ and to remember to please take your litter home with them.”

Witness appeal following fatal collision in Tadworth

Surrey Police are appealing for the public’s help following a fatal collision on the A217 (Brighton Road) between Lower Kingswood and Tadworth.

Officers were called at around 10.20am this morning (26 July) following reports of collision involving a pedestrian and a small green lorry with ‘Greene King’ branding. Emergency services were in attendance and despite best efforts of paramedics, the pedestrian, a man in his 70’s was sadly pronounced dead at the scene a short time later.

His family have been informed and are being supported by specially trained officers.

The driver of the lorry was fully cooperative with officers and both the driver and Greene King are working with us as our inquiries continue.

The road was closed for a number of hours in both directions between the Tadworth roundabout and the roundabout which links with Chipstead Lane. The southbound carriageway has since reopened but the northbound carriageway remains closed at this time.

Surrey Police are appealing to anyone who may have witnessed the collision or have any further information or dashcam footage to contact us and assist us with this investigation. If you can help, please contact Surrey Police  quoting PR/P22156156 via:

If you do not wish to leave your name, please call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

EPSOM TOWN CENTRE MASTERPLAN – HAVE YOUR SAY!

EPSOM TOWN CENTRE MASTERPLAN – HAVE YOUR SAY!

25 July – 31 August 2022

Epsom & Ewell Borough Council have opened a public consultation on Monday 25 July to give residents, workers, business owners and visitors the chance to help shape the future of Epsom town centre.

The consultation is looking to find out:

      • How respondents feel about the town centre today
      • How respondents would like the town centre to change in the future
      • What respondents think should happen in the key opportunity areas that have been identified.

The public’s opinions will inform a new Epsom Town Centre Masterplan,which will be a key part of the evidence base for Epsom & Ewell’s borough-wide Local Plan, guiding decisions about planning, development and investment in the future.

Councillor Steven McCormick, Chair of the Licensing & Planning Policy Committee, said, “We want to hear as many local voices and opinions as possible about our Town Centre. To do this we need a range of people who both visit and use Epsom to go online and take part. There will be an exhibition within the Ashley Centre (opposite Costa Coffee) from the 8th August, with an opportunity to meet the project team on the 11th and 13thof August”

Respondents will be able to give their views via an online questionnaire at https://epsom-ewell.gov.uk/residents/planning/planning-policy/consultations-and-examination which has been made possible with the support of the Department for Levelling Up, Homes and Communities (DLUHC) “Prop Tech” 2 engagement fund.

Update on Bin Collections in Mole Valley

Caroline Salmon, Cabinet Member for Community Services in Mole Valley said: ‘Due to the extreme heat earlier this week, there have understandably been some delays in bin collections across the district. Our teams have been working hard to clear any backlogs, and we appreciate the patience and understanding of all our residents.

“I also wanted to inform you that we have been notified about a strike action planned by Amey employees working on the waste collection and street cleaning services in Elmbridge and Surrey Heath. This is scheduled to take place from Monday 1 August to Friday 19 August. The action was voted for by GMB union members in a ballot related to pay settlement negotiations that have been taking place between Amey and the GMB. Mole Valley crews were not involved in the ballot for strike action.

“Currently is it not known what form any action might take, nor the extent of its impact across the area managed by Joint Waste Solutions (JWS) who manage our waste services, as well as Elmbridge, Surrey Heath and Woking. JWS are working with Amey on a range of potential contingency plans, to minimise any impact on core services to residents, should strike action take place.

“We do not know yet if this will impact on Mole Valley’s waste services. When we receive more information we will share it with you.”

If you would like to find out more about the planned strike action, please check JWS website with Q&A. The page will be regularly updated, once more information comes to light. Please follow us on Social Media for the latest updates Twitter: @molevalleydc and Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/Molevalleydc

RAC Summer Run

On Thursday 21st July the RAC Club at Woodcote Park, Epsom held the first Summer Run for pre-1905 cars ahead of the world famous London to Brighton Run that takes place on Sunday 6th November 2022.

The Summer Run started and finished at Woodcote Park. With cars arriving from 9am. 16 cars took part as the event was restricted to 25 cars for safety reasons. After a quick safety briefing the 16 cars were ready to head off to Gildings Barns, Newdigate, Dorking for lunch.

Many of the innovative manufacturers from the dawn of motoring were represented with charismatic Daimlers, De Dion Boutons and Napiers as well as lesser known marques such as Argyll, Clement, Dennis, Mors and Swift.

By 10:20am the Cedar Lawn was full of the sound of these wonderful cars starting their engines with the first car setting of at 10:30am. Unfortunately this one never made it passed the gates. Well it was 117 years old. But there was no problem for the others 

The 38-mile route took participants south on the A24 towards Leatherhead and into the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty skirting Box Hill,

The route then headed east along the A25 in the picturesque Mole Valley before heading south once again, now on more rural minor roads through the villages of Betchworth, Leigh and Charlwood towards a leisurely lunch stop at Gildings Barns set in the tranquil Surrey countryside.

After lunch the return route north was more direct. It started on scenic, traffic-free country lanes via Park Gate and Brockham before rejoining the A25 and A24 for an easy journey back to the exclusive seclusion of Woodcote Park. With cars arriving from 3pm, well all but 1. The drivers and their companions were greeted on there arrival on the lawn with a glass of Champagne followed by afternoon tea. 

I have covered many events at the RAC Club but I have to say this was one of the more elegant, stylish, peaceful event to date. I hope this will return in 2023.

To watch highlights of the event click link below.

Looking further ahead, close to 300 entries have already been confirmed for this year’s staging of the illustrious RM Sotheby’s London to Brighton Veteran Car Run on Sunday 6 November. 
 
Underscoring the remarkable event’s huge global appeal, participants are travelling from as far away as North America and Hong Kong – as well as from throughout Europe – to savour the undiluted magic experienced annually on the time-honoured road from capital-to-coast aboard a game-changing horseless carriage. 

Full details of the 2022 RM Sotheby’s London to Brighton Veteran Car Run – including entry forms – are available on the event website at www.veterancarrun.com