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Leader's statement on countryside car park closures

Leader of the Council, Cllr Caroline Reeves said: "We understand that some residents disagree with our decision to close our countryside car parks while our parks and countryside remains open. General government guidance (which applies to town centres, cities and rural areas) is advising us to stay local and use open spaces near to our homes where possible and not travel unnecessarily.

"We take our role as community leaders very seriously and during an emergency situation we must do what is best for all of our residents while following the lead of our multi-agency partners in the Local Resilience Forum (LRF). Included in this group are public services, emergency services, local authorities, the NHS, all supported by military and voluntary sectors.

"One of the main aims of the LRF is to either prevent or mitigate the impact of any incident on its local communities. We were one of the last councils in Surrey to close our car parks and we took this decision to help with social distancing, to minimise the spread of coronavirus by those driving into the borough to walk, and reduce potential impact on other services such as the Police who have to engage, educate and explain the guidance or may have to deal with emergency car break downs or accidents.

"As a local authority committed to ensuring that our borough stays as safe and healthy through the pandemic as possible, we are proud of how our residents are following the government guidance during lockdown to stay home to reduce the spread of the virus and save lives.

"Taking your daily exercise walking, running or cycling from your house can provide a new chance to explore our beautiful borough. Please see here for a variety of downloadable maps of different walks or download the Guildford app to help find some new routes. Please be considerate of others and also follow the Countryside code."

Published on Tuesday 21 April.