Countryside campaigners in Surrey are imploring its councils to "significantly" reduce their housebuilding targets and protect the green belt, saying new plans for homes in London should ease the pressure on the county.
The Surrey Branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE Surrey) says the councils should amend their local plans to prevent the loss of large swathes of green space.
The group spoke out after London Mayor Sadiq Khan published the draft London Plan, which states that thousands of new homes can be built "without intruding on" the city's green belts.
It also states that 50% of new homes will be affordable and CPRE believes that more affordable housing in London would ease the pressure on nearby counties, such as Surrey.
Andy Smith, director of CPRE Surrey, said: "If migration levels are now dropping sharply, and if the London Mayor believes that his city can accommodate its own growth adequately within its own boundaries, surely this means that Surrey districts need to build far fewer new homes.”
Councils across Surrey are earmarking areas of green belt land for developments, as they look to meet a rising demand for housing.
Runnymede Borough Council's draft local plan states that "at least 7,413" high quality homes need to be built in the borough by 2030.
A number of other councils, including Epsom and Ewell Borough Council and Surrey Heath Borough Council, are looking to draft local plans and set housing targets.
The percentage of Guildford which is made up of Green Belt land
However, CPRE Surrey claims that the figures used to calculate these large targets may be outdated.
Mr Smith said: "Local authorities around Surrey all assume a high proportion of population growth, and therefore housing need, in their districts, and much of this increase represents inward migration from London.
"Coupled with this, the latest immigration statistics show a drop of over 100,000 in the annual rate of international migration into England – this also must surely affect Surrey.
"With all these changes, the 'housing need' figures which Surrey's local authorities are currently using could well be out-of-date.
"In several districts, it is assumed that between a half and two thirds of all new housing demand is generated by inward migration, mostly into Surrey from London. And in Mole Valley almost the entire projected increase in population supposedly originates in London."
CPRE Surrey is now calling on all Surrey councils to follow London’s example and make commitments to protect green belts.
It also wants them to provide high levels of affordable housing within their plans and set housing targets which "reflect London's commitment to meet all of the city’s growth".
"We believe that the housebuilding targets for all the Surrey districts should be significantly reduced to reflect these major changes," said Mr Smith.
MP for Mole Valley Sir Paul Beresford raised concerns about Guildford's local plan during Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday (December 20).
He told Theresa May that 57% of the new homes will be built on green belt land.