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CPRE brownfield campaign shortlisted for Charity Awards

12 May 2015

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has been shortlisted in the environment and conservation category of the 2015 Charity Awards.

CPRE has been shortlisted for its work on promoting brownfield first - encompassing its Waste of Space online campaign to crowdsource brownfield sites for housing, and its report on identifying brownfield land for housing in England, From wasted space to living spaces.

With greenfield and Green Belt land under threat from development - amidst a dire shortage of affordable housing - CPRE sought to highlight the availability of suitable brownfield land in places where people want to live and to provide clearer and more accessible evidence for a ‘brownfield first’ policy.

The Charity Awards, the charity sector’s most prestigious awards programme, will announce its 10 category winners and two overall winners on 18 June. The 30 nominees, split into 10 categories ranging from disability to international aid and development, have been chosen by a 10-strong judging panel of voluntary sector experts.

Launched in The Times, CPRE’s Waste of Space campaign encouraged the public to nominate local brownfield sites for redevelopment. CPRE then added the 400 nominated sites to an interactive map, illustrating the number and geographical spread of suitable sites.

The Waste of Space campaign was supported by a body of research conducted by the University of the West of England: From wasted space to living spaces. The report used local authority data to demonstrate that England could build at least a million homes on brownfield land; it also showed that brownfield land is a regenerating resource.

Among other endorsements, the brownfield campaign was supported by secretary of state for communities and local government Eric Pickles and housing minister Brandon Lewis. The From wasted space to living spaces report was covered 18 times by national news organisations in the week of its November 2014 release, and its persuasive emphasis on ‘brownfield first’ was supported by party manifestos and pronouncements during the 2015 election campaign.

Shaun Spiers, chief executive at the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), said:

“I am delighted that CPRE has been nominated for improving awareness of the many brownfield sites suitable for development.

“The success of Waste of Space and the accompanying report exceeded expectations. Whereas the common view a couple of years ago was that the bulk of new housing would have to go on greenfield sites, we’ve helped persuade politicians and other decision-makers that there is plenty of suitable brownfield land that should be used before the countryside is built on.

“Of course, not all brownfield land is suitable for development – some, for instance, is important for amenity or nature, or just as open space. But a good deal of brownfield land is simply wasted space, and developing it can help both improve our towns and cities and safeguard our matchless countryside.

“We now aim to harness the support for promoting brownfield development that was evident in all the party manifestos, not least the Conservative Party’s.”

Tania Mason, group editor at Civil Society Media which organises The Charity Awards, congratulated Campaign to Protect Rural England on making the highly-coveted shortlist:

“We had an almost record number of entries this year - just four fewer than our all-time high in 2011 - and the standard was excellent, so Campaign to Protect Rural England should be very proud to have made the shortlist.

“For 16 years The Charity Awards have been identifying and celebrating the fantastic work that UK charities do, and the rigorous judging process ensures that only the very best-run charities make it through.

“We wish Campaign to Protect Rural England all the very best of luck on the night.”

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