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CPRE: reaction to Queen's Speech

21 June 2017

In the Queen's Speech today, the Government has outlined a number of plans that will affect the countryside, namely in major infrastructure and agriculture. 

In reaction to the plans for new infrastructure, the Campaign to Protect Rural England's senior infrastructure campaigner Daniel Carey-Dawes said:

"Rural communities increasingly feel that infrastructure is being imposed on them, and that it doesn't represent the kind of infrastructure they need. The countryside is crying out for new local bus and rail routes - not new road schemes or so-called spaceports.

“We understand the drive for economic gain post-Brexit, but this must not come at the expense of our countryside and environment.

“The Government should plan infrastructure that meets public and environmental need rather than the desires of investors. We should aim for the right infrastructure in the right locations, and engage local communities throughout the process.”

 

Belinda Gordon, head of rural affairs at CPRE, said:

“We welcome the inclusion of an Agriculture Bill, and the emphasis on creating a thriving farming sector and improving the environment. Before and during the fortchoming consultation on the bill, we will be pushing for a fairer agricultural policy that provides funds to those who need it and to those who produce the environmental and public benefits that we all value so much.

"We must encourage farmers to enhance the famed variety and distinctiveness of our landscapes and the resources that support them.”

You can read more about CPRE's proposals for a post-CAP agricultural sector here. A second paper in CPRE's Farming Foresight series is due later this summer. 

 

Matt Thomson, head of planning at CPRE, said:

“The overall tone on housing was disappointing.

“We do welcome measures to help young people whose only option for a home is through the private rental market, as we need to make renting a tenure of choice rather than a poor fall-back option to home ownership. Yet we are more disappointed that the Government appears to have reverted to the tired old rhetoric that the current housing crisis is the result of not enough land being released for housing development.

“Plenty of land is already available for development, but it’s not in the pecuniary interests of the businesses that own the land to actually build on it. Developers are too often trading on the increased value of their landholdings and trickling out a small number of high-end homes to the few people who can afford them. We need to undermine the stranglehold that big developers have over the land market - and challenge the type and quantity of delivery we are seeing.

“The Housing White Paper, only published in February, seemed to comprehend that it is the housing market, rather than the planning system, that is broken. We look forward to seeing how the new Government intends to build on this idea, and build a sector that not only produces more homes, but produces the homes that actually meet people’s needs while protecting our cherished countryside.”

You can read more about CPRE's recent research into the lack of rural affordable housing here.

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