CPRE responds to the Liberal Democrat election manifesto

20 November 2019

CPRE, the countryside charity, welcomes measures to tackle the climate emergency outlined in the Liberal Democrat Manifesto published today.

In Our Countryside: a manifesto for the next government, published earlier this month, CPRE called for the next government to commit to and begin implementing ambitious measures to reach net zero emissions from day one. While there has been much debate over dates to achieve net-zero emissions, it is vital that meaningful action is taken immediately to decarbonise large sectors of the economy. Proposals in the Liberal Democrat manifesto provide a clear and coherent path to achieve this, with investment in renewable energy, commitments to provide free energy retrofits to low income houses, requirements that all new homes are built to zero-carbon standards by 2021, and a strong and funded commitment to nature restoration.

While the Liberal Democrats are correct to promote building more social homes, CPRE is disappointed that the manifesto did not include reference to affordability of housing. It also failed to mention designations such as National Parks, AONBs or Green Belts, which are vital to keep the countryside as a source of wellbeing and wonder for everyone, wherever they live.

The next government must support a planning system that empowers communities and promotes development that responds to their needs with adequate resourcing, a brownfield first policy, and measures to enhance and protect green spaces close to where people live.

Crispin Truman, chief executive of CPRE, the countryside charity, said:

‘The climate emergency is the greatest challenge to the English countryside, but also a huge opportunity. There can be no further delay in reducing carbon emissions, and it is good to see political parties proposing bold but realistic steps to decarbonise large parts of the economy as soon as possible – from transport to housing, every sector has a role to play and government must lead the way.

‘The planning system is one of local democracy’s most powerful and effective tools. With the support of local communities, it can protect and enhance the countryside next door to where people live, promoting an invaluable resource for addressing the climate emergency and improving health and wellbeing. Any party that fails to address this in their manifesto will struggle to promote the solutions on the ground needed to tackle the twin crises of housing and the climate.’

For further information please call Media Relations Lead, Faith Mall, on 020 7981 2819 / 077 3933 2796.