2016 marks the 90th anniversary of CPRE's inauguration on 7 December 1926. That event saw the minister with responsiblity for planning, Neville Chamberlain, give a fascinating speech to welcome the new organisation. At that time, CPRE was the Council for the Preservation of Rural England, reflecting the founders' desire to help organise existing amenity societies in 'concerted action' for the countryside. Groups like the National Trust and the Commons and Footpaths Preservation Society were represented on the founding committee of the Council, and were soon joined by the Ancient Monuments Society, RSPB, the Ramblers and many others.
Despite this coordinating role, CPRE was a campaigning organisation in its own right from the start. The historic 1926 pamphlet - The Preservation of Rural England - written by its Honorary Secretary, Patrick Abercrombie, became CPRE's manifesto, inspiring the early campaigns for rural planning, National Parks and Green Belts. Our timeline (below) shows the progress of these and many other campaigns over the past 90 years, highlighting a selection of CPRE's most important successes.