Should Effingham Common be designated a LNR

Effingham Parish Council are considering designating Effingham Common as a Local Nature Reserve (LNR). Guildford Borough Council have indicated that they are supportive of formally designating the site.

Effingham Common is already registered Common Land, and people have the right of access on foot to the land under the CRoW Act 2000. Dogs must be kept on a lead of 2 metres of less between 1 March and 31 July, and at all times around livestock. Horse-riding is confined to bridleways. Cycling and vehicles are not permitted. Effingham Common is also designated as a SANG (Suitable alternative natural greenspace), which permits development within 7km of a SPA (Special Protection Area), such as Wilsey and Ockham Commons which are part of the Thames Basin Heath SPA.

If Effingham Common was designated as a LNR, this would mean that

  1. There would no increase in pressure to install a car park at Effingham Common, The main pressure comes from its SANG designation, and if anything designation as a LNR would slightly decrease the pressure
  2. There would be no increase in furniture at the site (e.g. benches), but there might be increase in signage noting the designation close to entrances to the Common
  3. any development around the Common would need to take into account the impact to the LNR
  4. There would be no change to the access to the site
  5. The site would need to be managed for the nature present

Guildford Borough Council have confirmed that they have no plans to change the character of the Common, but are looking to improve habitats at the woodland edge and around the ponds. The ambitions for the Countryside Estate are set out on page 18 of GBC’s A Vision for Guildford Borough’s Countrside Sites

What do you think? Post your comments to the website, or let the parish clerk know by email to Jon Short

3 thoughts on “Should Effingham Common be designated a LNR”

  1. I personally have been eager to see the Common become a Local Nature Reserve for many years as it has changed considerably over the last 50 or so years. It, at present, contains a good number of mature, mostly oak trees, which need protecting.

    Two baseline surveys were undertaken at the behest of Guildford Borough Council some ten or more years ago and several additions have been made subsequently by casual observers and specialist groups. Whilst none of the surveys can be said to be complete and have been added too more recently, there are now over 330 species recorded on the common of which 278 are invertebrates Perhaps less charismatic but vital in terms biodiversity and supporting the food chain.

    A relatively high proportion of the beetles recorded are ‘local in distribution’ and include three which are ‘nationally notable’.

    Six of the bird species are now on the Amber or Red rarer species lists and whilst the number of species is not that reduced the numbers of individuals are markedly less than they were 50 years ago. The growing of spring corn in the 50s caused the west field to support a small population of lapwings which we have now lost and the numbers of breeding skylarks is dangerously low.

    Despite attempts at drainage in recent years the land still retains too much surface water, which has cause an increase in the spread of soft rush, neither of which are good for plant diversity.

    Guildford Borough Council should be commended in trying to encourage wildlife on the Common. Making it Local Nature Reserve would assist them in doing that.

  2. Fully support all protection for such sites. We are losing too much valuable habitat to development elsewhere and we need to protect what we have left

  3. I totally agree. These sites must be protected, particularly given the way that the Green Belts are being
    destroyed for development, eg Effingham Lodge Farm — a disgraceful decision.

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