Campaign to Protect Rural England Standing up for your countryside

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We have a range of campaigners and senior spokespeople who can be available for national media interviews.

Please call the press office on 020 7981 2819 to arrange. We have a dedicated ISDN line.

Shaun Spiers, Chief Executive

Shaun Spiers

Shaun has led CPRE since 2004. Previously, he was Chief Executive of ABCUL, the credit union trade association. From 1994 to 1999, he was an MEP for the South East, serving on the European Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee. He is a trustee of Sustain, the alliance for food and farming, and was a founder trustee of Civic Voice.

Follow him on Twitter @ShaunSpiers1

Neil Sinden, Director of Policy and Campaigns

Neil Sinden

Neil has been CPRE’s Director of Policy and Campaigns since 2002 and has extensive and specialist knowledge of the issues affecting rural England. He previously worked for urban and rural planning consultancies and the arts and conservation group, Common Ground.



Erica Popplewell, Head of Government and Rural Affairs

Erica joined us as Head of Government and Rural Affairs in September, 2013. Erica's background includes time as a consultant at Futerra, a specialist sustainability communications company, and in Defra's Sustainable Development Unit.

Previously a senior campaigner at Which?, as well as holding the position of senior external affairs officer with the National Trust, Erica brings a detailed understanding of Whitehall and Westminster to CPRE.

 Specialist areas: political impact on the countryside; general rural policy issues; litter; food; farming; tranquillity; protected landscapes and habitats

Matt Thomson, Head of Planning

Matt Thomson

Matt joined CPRE in July 2014, and is currently also completing a PhD in Planning at Oxford Brookes University.  Previously he was Head of Policy and Practice for the Royal Town Planning Institute – the professional body for town planners in the UK – and also has 15 years’ experience as a planning officer with various local councils in England..

Specialist areas: planning; housing; transport; major infrastructure projects; garden cities

Samantha Harding, Stop the Drop Campaign Manager

Samantha Harding

Sam has led CPRE’s ‘Stop the Drop’ anti-litter campaign since 2008. Previously, she managed campaigns for The Children’s Society and The Stroke Association.
A recent campaign breakthrough has been  securing the introduction of a 5p charge on carrier bags – a scheme that works effectively in Wales to reduce litter and waste.


Specialist areas: litter; deposit refund schemes; recycling; fly tipping; waste

Graeme Willis, Senior Rural Policy Campaigner, Food and tranquillity

Graeme Wills

Graeme joined CPRE in 2006 when he worked with Caroline Cranbrook to publish The Real Choice report, which highlighted the importance of local food webs.

Now Graeme manages an expanded project to chart the importance of local food networks across a range of geographically spread communities.

Graeme is also our authority on tranquillity.

Specialist areas: local food, tranquillity

Paul Miner, Senior Planning Officer

Paul Miner blog

Paul has worked at CPRE since 2002 and is our senior planning campaigner, as well as chair of the land use planning working group at Wildlife & Countryside Link. He holds an MA in Town & Country Planning.

Paul became a chartered member of the Royal Town Planning Institute (MRTPI) in 2008 and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS) in 2010.

Specialist areas: planning; green belts; pylons; clutter

Ralph Smyth, Transport Campaign Manager

Ralph leads CPRE’s wide-ranging campaigning on transport. He was a key player in the successful legal challenge that stopped Heathrow's Third Runway and is an expert on plans for high speed rail. He has a detailed understanding of rural transport issues facing local communities.

Before coming to CPRE, Ralph worked full-time as a barrister and is accustomed to making complicated issues easy to understand for a wider audience. 

Specialist areas: All aspects of transport including (high speed) rail, aviation, road-building, traffic sign clutter, road safety, rural transport, cycling.

Emma Marrington, Senior Rural Policy Campaigner

Emma Marrington

Emma is a rural policy specialist in our campaigns team and works on some of the most treasured features of our countryside like National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and landscape issues.

She also leads our work on the protection of trees and hedgerows and our campaign to curb intrusive light pollution.

Specialist areas: National Parks, AONBs, trees, hedgerows, light pollution, polytunnels

Matthew Ford, Roads Campaigner


Matthew has worked at CPRE since October 2014 and is our Roads Campaigner. He holds a BA in Political Science from Goldsmiths College and an MSc in Environment and Development from the University of Edinburgh.

Previously, he was a researcher and campaigner for a Member of the European Parliament.

Specialist area: road campaigns


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