Environmental Protection

Two deer standing near a beach.

The City of Surrey is committed to protecting and enhancing natural and environmentally sensitive areas from harmful development.

Policies and regulations with respect to environmentally sensitive development are contained in City plans and by-laws as well as in provincial and federal acts.

Official Community Plan Policy

Our Official Community Plan established a conservation land use designation for the preservation of particular areas of the city in their natural state. These include major parks and open spaces - some of which comprise environmentally sensitive areas, such as

  • watercourses
  • riparian areas
  • and other habitat areas.

Strategy G: Protect Natural Areas of the Official Community Plan contains Surrey’s environmental policy objectives.

Environmentally Sensitive Areas

The protection and enhancement of the natural environment including significant fish, wildlife, and bird habitats is achieved through land use planning, development regulations and public education.

When developing a property contained within an Environmentally Sensitive Area or located near property identified as having significant environmental value, you may be required to address impacts on the environment from your proposed development. For more information, contact the Planning and Development Department at 604-591-4441.

Ecosystem Management Study

The Ecosystem Management Study "EMS" updates and enhances the City’s environmental mapping. It builds on the Environmentally Sensitive Areas approach described briefly above to strategically manage environmentally significant lands and ecosystem values throughout the City. 

Biodiversity Conservation Strategy

The Surrey Biodiversity Conservation Strategy  (BCS) will be a policy framework that will clearly establish biodiversity goals and targets and conservation priorities for the City of Surrey, and build on the Ecosystem Management Study Green Infrastructure Network Framework.

The Strategy will contain a set of policies and regulatory tools (plans, by-laws and other regulations) that will be used to manage the City of Surrey’s biodiversity. 

Contaminated Sites

Many sites have become contaminated during past industrial or commercial uses. Such activities often resulted in chemicals and other toxic materials being spilled or deposited on land. As land is re-developed these prior uses of that land may pose threats to the health and safety of residents. To address potential issues, the City of Surrey works closely with the Ministry of Environment to implement the contaminated sites process outlined in the British Columbia Waste Management Act.

All development, subdivision and zoning projects in Surrey must provide information on the prior use of the site. Learn more on Contaminated Sites.

Erosion and Sediment Control

When bare soils in construction areas are exposed to rainfall, the muddy waters that runoff of the construction areas can find its way into the City’s storm system; polluting our streams with sediment and potentially causing blockages in the storm sewer pipes. To limit the amount of damage to the City’s storm system and the environment, the City requires standard practices, called erosion and sediment control, to be followed on construction sites to manage this issue. Find out more on Erosion and Sediment Control.

Stream Protection

With urban development comes increased pressure on natural watercourses and streams. Surrey is working with the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the provincial Ministry of Environment to ensure that development respects these resources and preserves them for all residents of Surrey.

Depending on the type of development proposed land dedication, restrictive covenants or landscaping may be required. Get information on current regulations through the Planning and Development Department at 604-591-4441. Also, learn more on Streams and Water Quality.