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Going, going, gone? England's disappearing landscapes

England's collective masterpiece is being vandalised England's collective masterpiece is being vandalised Graphic: © CPRE

Evidence from CPRE branches across England demonstrates that there is a growing threat to our most important landscapes from inappropriate development.

Our most treasured landscapes are under unprecedented pressure

Going going gone? England's disappearing landscapesThe case studies in our report are a snapshot of the most significant current threats to National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. We have also highlighted the dangers faced by landscapes that lack national protection but are, nevertheless, deeply valued by local communities. Government policies mean that National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), which should have the highest level of protection in planning, are increasingly threatened by damaging developments. The development proposals fall broadly within four categories: energy; housing; transport and tourism.

Cases highlighted in our report include the recent permission for 521 houses in the Kent Downs AONB and the cumulative visual impact of wind farms surrounding the Lake District National Park. Threats to locally valued landscapes include a proposed new 20km dual carriageway in open countryside in Norfolk, and a theme park in Swinley Forest, Berkshire.
We are calling on the Government to:

  • strengthen national planning policy by giving greater weight to the protection of nationally designated and locally valued landscapes;
  • recognise the contribution that National Parks and AONBs make to our economy and review cuts to their funding in advance of the imminent Spending Review;
  • produce guidance for the Planning Inspectorate on implementing the major development test in National Parks and AONBs;
  • ensure that requests for applications to be ‘called in’ by the Department for Communities and Local Government are dealt with in line with the major development test in the National Planning Policy Framework;
  • exempt National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty from the proposed  changes to permitted development rights concerning the conversion of farm buildings; and
  • review the draft planning policy guidance to ensure that best use can be made of the new Local Green Space designation.
  • CPRE is also calling for an urgent Parliamentary Select Committee Inquiry to review how major development is dealt with in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in order to protect and enhance their beauty for future generations.

Find out more
Report, map and case studies

Two ways you can help to stop England's collective masterpiece being vandalised

oneSupport our campaign with a donation

CPRE face a huge challenge to stop this thoughtless and unnecessary destruction. Please support our dedicated staff and volunteers today by making a donation. Your gift will give them the best possible chance of defending our beautiful landscapes and help ensure developers are driven towards previously developed brownfield land and that more affordable houses are built, but in the right places.

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twoJoin CPRE and help your local group

Take a look at the case studies from our research, are there areas under threat where you live? CPRE has a local group in every county, standing up for the countryside. By joining your local CPRE group you could help fight local campaigns and make a difference where you live.

Link iconFind your local group
Link iconBecome a member

Going going gone? England's disappearing landscapesFind out more

Report: Going, going, gone? England's disappearing landscapes (4MB PDF)
Case studies: National Parks, AONBs and locally valued landscapes – under threat around the country (346 PDF)
Map: Threats to England's Landscapes (720K PDF)

Join us in standing up for the countryside

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Suffolk boats on Aldeburgh beach Suffolk coast AONB