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Protecting and design

Green Belt and Countryside Study

The Green Belt and Countryside Study alongside other evidence base documents, will help to show how much growth we could accommodate across the borough whilst still preserving the important role that Green Belt and countryside land currently fulfils. It also looks at whether we could designate new Green Belt land. For further information view the Green Belt and Countryside Study.

Sites of Nature Conservation Importance

Sites of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI) are areas which are designated locally for their wildlife importance. SNCI designation does not carry any statutory protection and is additional to national designations such as Sites of Special Scientific Importance (SSSI) and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). SNCIs are nevertheless valuable as they help to keep us informed of the extent of natural plant and animal life in the Borough.

The National Planning Policy Framework (paragraph 109 -118) requires local councils to conserve and enhance the natural environment. SNCI designations are continuously reviewed as part of a rolling programme of surveys carried out by the Surrey Wildlife Trust on behalf of the Borough Council. Download icon Sites of Nature Conservation Importance evidence 2004-2007 (SNCIs) [1.99MB] .

In 2016, SNCI surveys were undertaken in relation to two sites which were proposed to be allocated within the Proposed Submission Local Plan (2016), the icon former Wisley airfield [2.88MB]  and  icon Little Flexford [1.39MB] .

Conservation Area Character Appraisals

The purpose of a Conservation Area Character Appraisal is to:

  • 'clearly identify what it is about the character and appearance of each area which should be preserved or enhanced and set out the means by which that objective is pursued'.
  • it is hoped that the 'clear assessment and definition of an area's special interest and the action needed to protect it will help to generate awareness and encourage local property owners to take the right sort of action for themselves'. View further information on Conservation Area Character Appraisals.

Planning for Open Space and Green Infrastructure

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) provides a variety of guidance regarding green and open space, and recreational areas. These facilities greatly enhance quality of life and also serve a variety of wider spatial objectives. In particular, they provide health benefits, and can assist in mitigation and adaptation to climate change. View further information on the Infrastructure and Delivery Evidence Base pages.

Strategic Flood Risk Assessment

The Strategic Flood Risk Assessment assesses the risk to an area from flooding from all sources, now and in the future, taking account of the impacts of climate change, and assesses the impact that land use changes and development in the area will have on flood risk. View further information on Strategic Flood Risk Assessment.

Landscape Character Assessment

An assessment of the borough's landscape has been completed by Land Use Consultants to provide information about what makes it special and varied. Our Landscape Character Assessment (LCA) was adopted in January 2007, forming part of the evidence base to support policies within the emerging Local Plan. View further information on Landscape Character Assessment.

Habitat Regulations Assessment

The aim of the Habitat Regulations Assessment (HRA) is to identify any aspects of the emerging Local Plan that would have the potential to cause a likely significant effect on Natura 2000 or European sites (Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and Ramsar sites), (either in isolation or in combination with other plans and projects), and to begin to identify appropriate mitigation strategies where such effects were identified. View further information on the Habitat Regulations Assessment (HRA) page.

Surface Water Management Plan

Guildford Borough Council together with its key partners Surrey County Council and the Environment Agency, commissioned Halcrow Group Limited to undertake two separate projects. The aims of the projects were to develop a sustainable approach to the management of surface water flood risk throughout Guildford Borough. View further information on Surface Water Management Plan.

Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change Study

This study identifies the key environmental sustainability and climate change issues for Guildford borough. It draws together relevant national and international policy and legislation, data showing our borough's performance on environmental sustainability and climate change matters, and projections of climate change and climate change impacts. We will use the study as evidence to inform relevant policies in the new Local Plan. Download icon Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change Study [1.04MB]

Assessment of the Viability of Carbon Emission Targets for New Builds

This report examines the cost and feasibility of reducing carbon emissions in new buildings by 10, 15 and 20% below Building Regulations standards. This work supports the new Local Plan's emerging policy on sustainable design, construction and energy.

icon Assessment of the Viability of Carbon Emission Targets for New Builds [2.75MB]

icon Simulation Report - Care Home [3.34MB]

icon Simulation Report - Domestic [2.77MB]

icon Simulation Report - Large Office Building [2.71MB]

icon Simulation Report - Retail [3.16MB]

Guildford Renewable Energy Mapping Study

Guildford Borough Council commissioned a detailed icon renewable energy mapping study [8.7MB]   and the final report was finalised in February 2015. The study looked at where different renewable energy technologies are most suitable within the borough. View further information on Guildford Renewable Energy Mapping Study.

Surrey Hills AONB Areas of Search Natural Beauty Evaluation Report

Using a previous Landscape Character Assessment of the Surrey Hills and adjacent 'areas of search', the document identifies 'areas of search' which are judged to meet the natural beauty criteria of an AONB. The findings have been submitted to Natural England for consideration of an extension to the Surrey Hills AONB. The Surrey Hills AONB Areas of Search Natural Beauty Evaluation Report can be read below:

View further information on Surrey Hills AONB Areas of Search Natural Beauty Evaluation.

The Thames Basin Heath Special Protection Area

The Thames Basin Heath Special Protection Area (SPA) is a protected habitat of international importance covering a large part of the South East of England. The SPA strategy forms the basis of planning guidance for development that could have an impact on the SPA to ensure that negative impacts are avoided or mitigated. Download the icon Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area Avoidance Strategy 2017 Supplementary Planning Document.  [5.97MB]

Historic Environment Information

Within Guildford borough there are many important heritage assets, both designated and non-designated, that contribute to its character, sense of place, attractiveness and quality of life. For further information view the  icon key heritage assets [657.86KB] .

Air Quality

Below is a list of submission documents related to air quality:


Below is a list of submission documents related to noise:

Flood risk

Below is a list of submission documents related to flood risk:

icon Statement of Common Ground as agreed between Guildford Borough Council and the Environment Agency (January 2018) [549.68KB]