2019: CPRE’s impact
A moratorium on fracking and seeing our influence on the Glover review of landscapes were high points for us in 2019.
We were delighted that our submissions helped to influence the independent Landscapes Review’s report to government – which agreed that Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty should be given more funding and a greater say over development. The report also agreed that a more diverse range of people should be helped to access awe-inspiring countryside, prompted by CPRE research showing that National Parks and AONBs are not within easy reach of almost half of England’s most deprived areas. We particularly welcomed the recommendation that every child should experience a ‘night under the stars’ in these landscapes, having demanded that the government make such life-changing trips part of the national curriculum.
CPRE’s Green Clean returned for a second year in 2019, supporting hundreds of volunteers in removing over 10,000 bottles and cans from our green spaces. Their efforts provided important evidence on the need for a comprehensive deposit return system (DRS) for drinks containers, with a quarter of bottles collected falling outside the scope of initial plans. The following month saw the government publish an Environment Bill that includes the powers to create a DRS – a major win for CPRE following more than 10 years of campaigning.
We celebrated the November 2019 moratorium on all new shale gas extraction as ‘a victory for communities, climate and common sense’, having warned that fracking would increase carbon emissions and industrialise the countryside. Our campaigning supported threatened communities and mobilised the public against plans to fast-track fracking – an influential national petition signed by 307,720 people included over 200,000 CPRE supporters.
The General Election campaign saw CPRE’s call for more trees and hedgerows (to mitigate the impact of climate change and enhance the countryside) influence pledges from all parties to help achieve this. The new government also accepted our challenge to commit to the protection of England’s Green Belts – influenced by our research highlighting plans to build 266,000 homes on Green Belt, and revealing that these homes typically use twice as much land as those built elsewhere. We also demolished the myth that building on the Green Belt can solve the affordability crisis, revealing that just 13% of homes built on land removed from its protection in the past decade have been affordable.
We were therefore pleased to see the Conservative Party manifesto not only commit to protecting the Green Belt, but pledge to enhance it by increasing accessibility and biodiversity.
Find out more about what CPRE The countryside charity did in 2019.