Surrey County Council has been awarded a Gold Green Apple Environment Award for its work to restore land at The Downs in Caterham. Green Apple Environment Awards recognise, reward and promote environmental best practice around the world.
Since the early 1800s, the site has been used a chalk quarry, landfill waste site and most recently as a Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Camp. Following ground subsidence issues which lead to exposure of hazardous landfill soils and ground gases, the camp was evacuated, planning was approved and works started in 2021 to restore the site to its original state, in sympathy with its surroundings and natural environment.
Restoration has included replicating the surrounding ecological landscape, protecting adjacent ancient woodland and installing new sustainable drainage features. Extensive landscaping including woodland edge planting, and sowing grass and wild flowers has also been undertaken and public access has been improved.
Natalie Bramhall, Cabinet Member for Property and Waste said: “We are delighted to receive the Green Apple Gold Environment Award, recognising the work we have undertaken to restore The Downs, in just one year.
“This was a challenging project, particularly as the site is home to a thriving colony of just over fifty Roman snails, a protected species, which has significantly improved the area for nature and our residents alike.
“Our work at The Downs is part of our continued commitment to restore Surrey’s land and improve our natural environment sustainably and sensitively.”
The Green Apple Environmental Gold Award was presented to Surrey County Council’s Land and Property Team, their Consultants, Campbell Reith Hill and Contractors, Toureen Group on Monday 21 November 2022 at the Houses of Parliament.