Policy Guidance Notes
Land is a precious resource, and must be used wisely. Much progress has been made in recent years in making use of previously developed land, or ‘brownfield sites’, for new development. Around three quarters of new homes are now built on brownfield sites. Overall, this is good news for the countryside, and good news for urban areas which have benefited from regeneration. 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.
Climate change is the most urgent and complex environmental issue we face today. The impact of both energy generation and use on the countryside and the climate is growing. CPRE believes the Government should prioritise measures to curb the growth in energy demand, encourage energy efficiency, promote a wider range of renewable technologies and ensure that new energy generation is lower carbon.
Recovering energy from waste (EfW) can contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill. CPRE supports the use of waste to generate heat and power after everything has been done to minimise the impact of the required infrastructure on the beauty and tranquillity of the countryside. EfW should also be part of the 'waste hierarchy' - only utilising residual waste after opportunities to minimise, reuse, recycle and compost have been maximised.
This policy position statement brings together the recent experience of our branches and National Office, and will guide how CPRE approaches national policy, local plans and proposals for EfW in the future.
Farming is of national strategic importance, in terms of primary production of food, energy and commodities, through its crucial role in managing water and soil resources and in shaping and managing landscape and habitat. The rich character of the English countryside is largely derived from farming and the future of agriculture will play a major role in determining its future. The farming community retains professional knowledge and a skill base which will be vital to the future of productive land management in the future.
CPRE believes that a healthy, thriving countryside is important for everyone, no matter where they live. Our approach to housing policy embodies this belief. Good planning should provide everyone with a decent home they can afford. While housing development can have a significant landscape impact we believe it is possible to avoid sporadic development in the countryside and the unsustainable sprawl of our towns and cities. Meeting the housing needs of rural communities is particularly important if they are to thrive. In the national context of a growing and changing population it is important to meet the need for new housing in England. This document outlines how CPRE believes this can be done without unnecessarily damaging the countryside.
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.
Opencast coal-mining has undergone a recent resurgence in the UK, mainly due to the increase in global coal and gas prices. Mining companies and power stations are increasingly looking to opencast mines to provide a cheaper supply of coal - expensive imports currently account for 70 % of coal burned in the UK.
Not only do opencast mines deface some of our finest landscapes and wreck tranquillity, they can have a devastating effect on nearby communities and wildlife, while hindering efforts to reduce CO2 emissions.
While wind energy can make an important contribution to tackling climate change, CPRE believes this should not come at the expense of the beauty, character and tranquillity of rural England. We assess wind turbine proposals for their potential impact on the landscape, taking account of their cumulative impact, and strongly resist those whose impact we consider to be unacceptable. This note explains how the planning system should enable such judgements to be made fairly and transparently.
Our policy on unauthorised gypsy and traveller development.