In 1995 Two friends who were totally frustrated at the way the Surrey part of the then SSSI* and potential SPA* was being totally devastated by the shear volume of illegal off road activities such as motorcycling and the use of 4x4s, joy riding together with the inevitable burning of the cars and the dumping of all manner of rubbish and other antisocial behaviour were further frustrated at the lack of legislation to prevent this travesty decided to do something about it. They invested their own money in setting up AGODC, The Action Group for the preservation of the Old Dean Common (Note: The area known as Old Dean "Common" has NO common Status). AGODC was a great success. Thirty years of problems were greatly reduced within one year of AGODC existence and is now incorporated in The Heathland Conservation Society which has more global interests.
It was during an audience with Mr Michael Meacher MP, the then Minister for the Environment, that AGODC was able to present the evidence that helped English Nature secure section 29 of the wildlife and Countryside Act for part of the area. It was at an earlier meeting that AGODC attended with Surrey Heath Borough Heath Council and English Nature that English Nature agreed to apply for section 29, not easy to get as it had only been invoked once or at most twice since the bill was passed in 1982.
During this meeting with Michael Meacher MP other items were raised on third party damage to SSSI/SPAs. These were subsequently incorporated in Section 29 which was superseded by the current section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act covering a Geographical area far greater than the original 29.
It should be made clear there are large areas of land designated a SSSI/SPA that are not included in the "CRoW” mapping. For example except for the 182 acres of the Windlesham United Charities and Poors Allotments which does have "CRoW" Status, There is NO PUBLIC RIGHT OF ENTRY onto any part of the Broadmoor to Bagshot Woods and Heath SSSI/SPA, only permitted entry. The exception being on the small number of Public Footpaths and Bridle Paths which are clearly marked on the Ordnance Survey map for the area.
The aim of the Heathland Conservation Society, which is a voluntary organisation, is to Conserve and Protect our environment and in particular the fragile Heathland.
With over 80% of the UK heathland being lost since 1830, due to agriculture, forestry, industry, housing and neglect it is very important that we protect this rare and valuable environment. Now, all that remains are small pockets of heathland scattered across the south.
*SSSI = Site of Special Scientific Interest. *SPA = Special Protection Area under the European Bird Directive Annex one.
CRoW = Open access land under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CRoW)