See how Surrey protects natural areas and the environment.
The City of Surrey is committed to protecting and enhancing natural and environmentally sensitive areas from development.
Policies and regulations with respect to environmentally sensitive development are contained in City plans and bylaws as well as in provincial and federal acts.
Official Community Plan Policy
Surrey's 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.
Within the Official Community Plan, "Strategy G: Protect Natural Areas" 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.
Biodiversity Conservation Strategy
The Biodiversity Conservation Strategy is a framework that establishes biodiversity goals, targets and conservation priorities for the City. It builds on the Ecosystem Management Study Green Infrastructure Network Framework.
The Strategy contains a set of plans, bylaws and other regulations that are used to manage Surrey’s biodiversity.
Sustainable Development Checklist
The Sustainable Development Checklist for Planning and Development applications helps developers enhance the performance of their projects. The checklist allows developers to make decisions that protect their property from natural hazards, enhance the natural features, and create a healthy place for future occupants.
Many sites have become contaminated during past industrial or commercial uses. As land is re-developed these prior uses may pose a threat to the health and safety of residents.
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.
Soil & Erosion 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.
With urban development comes increased pressure on natural watercourses and streams. Surrey works 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. Learn more about Surrey streams and water quality.
Environmental Research or Salvage Release Permits
You need a permit to conduct research or to salvage and relocate wildlife on City lands.
The City of Surrey follows strict guidelines for managing wildlife and fisheries on public land to protect biodiversity and reduce harm from human activities.
Permits to conduct research or salvage and relocate wildlife on City land will include a range of conditions. For example:
- avoiding damaging or disturbing the habitat
- disinfecting gear
- adhering to project timing as set out in your permit
- providing written notification to the City when you begin and cease activities or if you need to amend your project timing
- provide results to the City once the project is completed
Other conditions will apply based on the nature of the project.
Applying for a permit
First, get applicable permits from necessary agencies relevant to your project, such as:
- General Wildlife Permit
- Scientific Fish Collection Permit
- Species at Risk Act permits and agreements
- Scientific licences
You must also obtain and provide proof of general liability insurance coverage.
Once you have all necessary documentation, email the details of your proposed activities along with supporting information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Allow at least 2 weeks for the review and processing of your permit.