CPRE manifesto for the next UK government launched
As the 2023 party conferences begin, we have launched our manifesto for the next UK government, outlining four key areas of priority for the countryside, climate, communities and wildlife.
2024 looks set to be the year of an era-defining election, with the new government facing a myriad of environmental crises as well as a broken housing market.
We’re calling on all political parties to recognise the true value of the countryside and its vital role in answering the nation’s challenges – with a focus on the four common sense and practical policies summarised below.
A planning system for people, planet and nature
We need a planning system with democracy at its heart, that prioritises outcomes that prevent climate and ecological collapse – one of the biggest threats to our countryside. That means properly balancing our use of land to meet the needs of people, planet and nature as well as prioritising development on brownfield land. National planning policy should listen to the voices of local people, and all local plans must recognise both the threats to the countryside, as well as the role it can play in providing a myriad of services.
Fixing the broken housing system for rural communities
A healthy home is the foundation for a decent life. But over the years our broken housing system has changed a home from a human right into an investment product, depriving towns, cities and rural communities of genuinely affordable homes. In the countryside, the situation is particularly acute and many people are now unable to afford to live in the communities that they grew up in. Fixing our broken housing system has the potential to regenerate rural communities at a time when it is desperately needed. That’s why we want to see genuinely ‘affordable’ housing linked to local incomes, and more action to limit the loss of rural housing to second homes and holiday lets.
Enhancing the countryside next door
The countryside surrounding our towns and cities provides millions with health and happiness, but it has the potential to deliver much more. We must invest in this countryside next door as a key solution to the climate and nature crises, and an irreplaceable space where people across the nation can enjoy fresh air and the great outdoors. The next government needs to ensure that the Green Belt continues to be protected, and designate a new generation of regional and country parks – giving more people and nature space to thrive. We also want to see more farmland covered by Environmental Land Management Schemes, so that we can begin to restore biodiversity.
Rooftop renewables – a common sense revolution
To protect nature and our treasured landscapes, we have a duty to make the best possible use of our finite land. But our outdated and expensive energy system is using up more and more of the space we need for food, wellbeing, and wildlife across our countryside. Meanwhile, we are missing opportunities to generate huge amounts of cheap, low-carbon electricity on rooftops in every part of the country. With the right initiatives, the rooftops of warehouses and car parks across the nation could act like clean power stations, cutting carbon emissions, slashing energy bills and protecting our countryside. That’s why the next government should make rooftop solar a standard requirement for new buildings and commit to getting 60% of the solar energy we need from our rooftops.
Read the full manifesto to get the detail on how we think the next government can make this happen.
We want to place countryside, communities, climate and nature at the heart of the 2024 general election, and the first step is engaging with MPs at the party conferences. But it doesn’t stop there. We’ll be working hard to ensure that the issues raised in our manifesto are heard, and reflected in the manifesto of the next UK government.