Campaign to Protect Rural England Standing up for your countryside

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Policy-based Evidence Making

The Policy Exchange's war against planning
A 'think tank' has launched a sustained attack on England's planning system. The counter-offensive starts here. Using solidly referenced facts and statistics, CPRE demolishes the Policy Exchange's arguments for radical reform of planning – reform which would delight developers and smother much of England in sprawl.


Protecting the wider countryside

The draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) proposes removing a critical policy which recognises the national importance of the countryside as a whole. This research maps these areas and shows that unless the Government revises the NPPF, more than half of the English countryside could be under greater threat from inappropriate development than before. The report recommends that the final NPPF should retain explicit recognition of the intrinsic value of the wider countryside and the character of the countryside, while favouring the efficient use of land rather than urban sprawl.


Quotes in support of "brownfield first" in planning

Nine leading practitioners and politicians express strong support for brownfield first.


Recharging the Power of Place

Valuing local significance

This report has been commissioned by the Campaign to Protect Rural England, the National Trust and Heritage Link as part of their on-going work to promote innovative approaches to protecting the historic environment and local distinctiveness.


Roadside Advertising: Problems and Solutions

Our campaign briefing on the problem of roadside advertising and ideas how to take action.


Rural Coalition Briefing on the Localism Bill

The Localism Bill offers an exciting opportunity to realise some of the 38 recommendations that the Rural Coalition made in August 2010’s The Rural Challenge.  This briefing discusses how the Bill could go further to deliver the best outcomes for rural communities.


Strategic Environmental Assessments

A CPRE Briefing

This briefing sets out what Strategic Environmental Assessment is, when it is required by the EU Directive and the UK Regulations, and the components of a successful SEA. It also explains how SEA has been applied in UK law and policy. Additionally, the briefing compares SEA to other EU-mandated environmental assessments, and offers campaigners key issues to consider when faced with an SEA.


Sustainable Development (Policy)

Brownfield Land

Land is a precious resource, and must be used wisely. CPRE supports a ‘brownfield first, greenfield last’ strategy as a general principle. However, just because a site is brownfield does not mean it should necessarily be developed.

Wherever possible, it is generally better to use already developed urban land and buildings than to build on green fields.

CPRE believes we need to tap this potential [the potential of brownfield sites] while protecting the character and quality of existing residential areas.

It makes social, environmental and economic sense for most new development to occur in built-up areas, where infrastructure and services are already in place, or can easily be provided, rather than in the countryside. Brownfield development is essential for urban regeneration. Done well, it brings homes, jobs and services closer together, reduces car dependence and enhances communities. However, not all previously developed sites should be considered suitable for development. Land important for wildlife, historically significant or that provides valuable open space should be safeguarded from inappropriate development.

What CPRE wants:

  • A ‘brownfield first, greenfield last’ approach – to protect the countryside and regenerate urban areas.
  • Removal of obstacles to brownfield development - financial support for remediating contaminated land.
  • A plan-led approach which responds to the needs and aspirations of local communities.
  • Better use of existing buildings – reduction of VAT on building repairs, which deters responsible maintenance and favours demolition and development on greenfields over building re-use and refurbishment.
  • Protection for urban open spaces, wildlife habitats and sites of historic importance.
  • Local brownfield strategies to tackle brownfield blight, identify opportunities for regeneration and ways to overcome obstacles to brownfield development.
  • A national target of at least 75% of residential development and 85% of commercial development to take place on brownfield sites.


Good land-use planning is the unsung hero of environmental protection. It can encourage urban regeneration, curb urban sprawl, help slow the growth in road traffic, protect the beauty and tranquillity of the countryside and safeguard wildlife habitats.

Effective planning is more important now than ever before with economic pressures and a growing population leading to more development intruding into the countryside.

Precious Green Belt land is being eaten away despite a Government commitment to protect it. Proposed new legislation concerning the planning for major infrastructure projects presents a serious challenge to the integrity of the planning system.

Find out more

• CPRE's policy on brownfield land 
• Planning resources
• Planning campaign briefings


The Bigger Picture

The case for strategic planning

This report sets out the case for retaining some form of strategic planning alongside newly empowered local councils and communities. Strategic planning works across local boundaries and is essential to protect the Green Belt and promote urban regeneration, and to co-ordinate development, service delivery, landscape management and conservation of the natural, historic and cultural environment.


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