CPRE’s hedgerow campaign wins top prize at 2023 Charity Awards
We’re delighted to announce that our hedgerow campaign was awarded first prize in the Animals and Environment category at the 2023 Charity Awards.
The UK’s hedgerow network is our largest nature reserve, yet it has halved in size over the past eight decades, largely because of new farming practices and property development. After the Climate Change Committee recommended that the hedgerow network should be increased by 40% by 2050, we launched our 40by50 campaign in July 2021 to encourage the government to implement this target.
Since then, our hedgerow campaign has involved research reports, farmer surveys, media activity, petitions, site visits, parliamentary events, planting projects and more. Local CPREs have also been instrumental in raising awareness of hedgerows and influencing the government to agree to the target.
Eighteen months later, the government announced the introduction of the first-ever hedgerow target to create or restore 30,000 miles of hedgerows by 2037 and 45,000 miles of hedgerows by 2050. It also almost doubled the farm subsidy payment to incentivise farmers to engage in hedgerow restoration.
‘Resilient and tenacious’ charity sector
Alongside the nine other category winners, the Overall Winner and the recipient of the Daniel Phelan Award for Outstanding Achievement, CPRE was presented with the trophy at a ceremony at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London on 7 June, hosted by broadcaster, commentator and writer Ayesha Hazarika.
The Charity Awards shortlist is chosen by an independent panel of expert judges, themselves all eminent figures in the charity sector. The judges score each entry against six Hallmarks of Excellence before coming together for two days of challenge and discussion to select the winners.
Matt Nolan, chief executive of Civil Society Media which organises the Charity Awards, congratulated CPRE on winning the highly-coveted award. He said:
‘Against the backdrop of a devastating pandemic followed closely by an eye-watering cost-of-living crisis, the external environment has seldom been more challenging for UK charities. Yet the standard of entries in this year’s Charity Awards proves that the sector is as resilient, tenacious and effective as it has ever been. To win an award is a real badge of honour, and the team at CPRE, the countryside charity should be truly proud of their achievements.’
Tom Fyans, director of campaigns and policy at CPRE said:
‘Hedgerows shape our countryside, are a haven for wildlife, remove carbon to help tackle climate change and support sustainable local economies. In towns and cities too, they clean the air and provide shade and shelter for urban wildlife. Shockingly, we have lost half our hedgerows since the Second World War.
‘In July 2021, CPRE launched a campaign calling for the government to set a national target to increase the hedgerow network by 40% by 2050, as recommended by the Climate Change Committee. Just 18 months later the government introduced the first ever hedgerow target in its 25-year environment plan.
The Charity Award is wonderful recognition of the importance of CPRE’s work to protect what is, in its full expanse, our largest and most connected nature reserve. But our campaign is not over – we will continue to champion the national target and hold the government to account for it. Across the country the network of county CPRE groups will be planting and restoring hedgerows and engaging local communities with their care.’
Find out more about CPRE’s hedgerow work.