Thursday, 2 December 2010

Pipeline across the Heaths - what value do we put on the countryside?

Following on from the potential damage to Box Hill, another tale of local problems regarding habitat destruction is potentially more serious

Sutton and East Surrey Water Company (SESWC) have declared their intention to install a water main from a reservoir at Mogador, Kingswood to Burgh Heath. They have a fairly simple choice between routing it across 4km of common land mostly on Banstead Heath and Burgh Heath or going down the A217, either in the road or alongside. If they cross the commons they will clear a 20m (yes, ~60ft) swathe along the length of the route to enable the work to take place. Both the water company and the local Council prefer the route across the commons, I wonder why!!

Both Banstead Heath and Burgh Heath are well-used amenity areas for local people but more importantly (as far as I am concerned) are important habitats for both flora and fauna. Construction of the pipeline would cause massive short-term damage and the long-term effects could change the areas irrevocably.

At this point I must declare my interest, as I have been a Banstead Commons Conservator (BCC, I am currently Chairman) for the past 15 years. The BCC manage this area of Commons although most is owned by the local authority and the SESWC require BCC permission to carry out this work. So far this has not been granted!

The whole situation is quite complex, the nature of the Heath, the role of the Conservators, etc. and I aim to address and explain individual aspects over the next few weeks.

I would stress that this blog will be my personal views that may or may not be shared by other conservators.


  1. Just found your blog.

    Keep up the good work!!

    You can rely on our support. Watch your noticeboards!!

  2. Good good. more updates needed