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 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 being 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 preserve of the Old Dean Common. AGODC was a great success and is now incorporated in The Heathland Conservation Society. (Thirty years of problems were greatly reduced within one year of AGODC existence)
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 “CROW.” Section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act covers a Geographical area far far greater than the original 29.
*SSSI = Site of Special Scientific Interest. *SPA = Special Protected Area under the European Bird Directive Annex one.