The festive season is now well and truly upon us – a time to reflect on the events of the past year and look forward to new beginnings as we enter the next one. It’s certainly been a jam-packed year of campaigning for us at CPRE, and we’d like to share with you our biggest moments of 2016 – all thanks to you!
And that’s a wrap!
What you’ve helped us to achieve this year
Plastic bag usage down, public support up
As part of the coalition that campaigned for the plastic bag charge, it was a win-win for us when figures were released earlier this year about just how successful the scheme has been in both reducing plastic bag usage – a whopping 85% – and also in getting the backing from consumers themselves.
Starry starry night
We released the most detailed ever satellite maps of England’s dark skies, which give us an unprecedented level of understanding into where light pollution is most invasive. These interactive maps show that just 22% of England is untouched by light pollution, and that 53% of our darkest skies are over National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty – another reason to protect these stunning landscapes.
Thank YOU - for a successful campaign!
A staggering 9,465 of you wrote to your MPs to challenge some of the proposed changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). We’re thrilled that every MP across the country was reached by letter, which expressed concern over legislation that will see councils being forced to give up land for development to meet unrealistic housing targets.
The future of farming
Our very first Farming Foresight paper, New Model Farming: Resilience through diversity, was released in August with much positive debate over the shape of farming post-Brexit. The report calls for a change in the way subsidies are allocated to encourage a more diverse sector, with environmentally friendly practices to achieve long-term sustainability for British farms – something we feel very strongly about.
Kent AONB saved
CPRE Kent won an important victory after a lengthy legal battle to save an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty at Farthingloe, near Dover. Two judges at the Court of Appeal quashed the planning application that could have led to the loss of a treasured and historic beauty spot.
Pushing for brownfield development
We published important new findings on brownfield land across England. Not only did we demonstrate that brownfield land is actually being built out six months faster than greenfield, we also showed that there are enough suitable brownfield sites to provide between 1.1 and 1.4 million new homes – a big increase on the number the Government previously estimated. This powerful new evidence further bolsters our calls for national planning policies that ensure brownfield development is prioritised over greenfield development.
We’re celebrating with Friends of the Lake District, our county representatives in Cumbria, after their campaign persuaded National Grid to reconsider its plan to build 50 metre tall pylons through 24km of the Lake District National Park. The new plans could also see the existing lines being removed completely, leaving this part of the park free of pylons for the first time in 50 years.
The value of the Green Belt
Our latest research shows the huge potential of the Green Belt in terms of amenity and nature conservation. Providing a breath of fresh air for 30 million city people, we want to see adequate investment in these vital resources in the forthcoming 25-year plan for the environment and make sure Green Belt protection is enforced.
An extra special year for CPRE
90 years of campaigning
And to top things off, this year marked a huge milestone in CPRE history – our 90th birthday! On 7 December 1926, CPRE was established, originally as the Council for the Preservation of Rural England, and we have been campaigning for the protection of the countryside ever since, boasting countless momentous achievements.
Making our voice even stronger
By supporting our campaigns you've made our voice stronger which has been listened to in Parliament and helped us achieve our successes together. In the coming year, we'll need to continue fighting threats to the countryside from inappropriate development and infrastructure. You've made a real difference to our campaigns and, if you're not yet a member, do consider joining us in our fight to protect the countryside for current and future generations.
Thank you again for supporting our campaigns and helping us achieve so many successes to protect the countryside.
Wishing you a merry Christmas and a very happy New Year from everyone at CPRE!