Businesses in Surrey to invest in nature

Environment becomes urgent priority for sustainable growth

A new investment model in Surrey is placing nature’s recovery at the heart of the local economy, transforming nature conservation and sustainable growth. 

Coast to Capital, who determine local economic priorities and undertake activities to drive the economy, are delighted to award £426,000 Local Growth Funding in creating a wildlife rich natural environment.

The investment fund is enabling local charity, Surrey Wildlife Trust, to deliver a nature recovery network between Redhill and Godstone in Surrey to create a network of green corridors for wildlife to thrive and move. Helping to ensure clean air, water and good soil quality, Coast to Capital recognises the health of the natural environment affects the health of the local population, workforce and local economy. 

Coast to Capital is the first Local Enterprise Partnership in the UK to invest Local Growth Funding in “natural capital”. The growth fund is enabling Surrey Wildlife Trust to deliver a nature recovery network by creating and managing woodlands, community orchards, rivers, ponds and hedgerows in the Holmesdale area, providing recreational space for people to enjoy improving health and wellbeing.  This particular area has already been designated as a Biodiversity Opportunity Area (BOA), which means that it is a priority area for restoration and creation of habitat.

Sarah Jane Chimbwandira, chief executive of Surrey Wildlife Trust, said:

“The devastating decline in insects, which pollinate three quarters of our food, and birds and mammals means we can no longer sacrifice nature for profit. Coast to Capital is taking a transformational approach to sustainable growth, where creating space for nature is valued as important as space for housing and business.”

The investment will develop an assessment of the value of natural features such as rivers, ponds, woodlands, orchards and hedgerows in the 1,400 hectare Holmesdale area. These natural capital accounts will determine the value to the economy in terms of water purification, flood alleviation, soil stabilisation and carbon sequestration.

Jonathan Sharrock, Chief Executive at Coast to Capital said:

“The area is blessed with natural assets that are treasured by residents, businesses and visitors. Preserving and enhancing these, as we grow the economy, is not just the right thing to do, it is an economically essential thing to do.

We are excited that through our investment fund natural assets in Surrey will be enhanced. Our ambition is to develop a model of sustainable growth for the area. We look forward to working with the Surrey Wildlife Trust on the next steps of the project.” 

Sarah Jane Chimbwandira added: 

“The natural capital accounts create further investment opportunities for other forward thinking organisations, such as developers, who want to move towards investing in nature and achieving ‘net gain’ for wildlife, where nature is left in a better state than before a development.”

This investment fund will also create new jobs and develop vital environmental skills such as species surveying, hedgerow maintenance and planting through volunteer projects.  The opportunity to improve health and wellbeing through community volunteering will also encourage people to be more connected with each other and nature whilst securing sustainable ecosystems for the future.

For more information on the investments portfolio and Local Industrial Strategy visit coast2capital.org.uk