CPRE manifesto launch

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

This morning, I  attended the launch of CPRE, the countryside charity's regeneration manifesto which sets out how CPRE thinks the government should help us "regenerate ourselves, regenerate our green spaces and regenerate our rural economies".  And in the longer-term, how we can "build back better", as the slogan goes.

Happily, this did not involve my leaving my desk as it was a Teams event.  After a faltering start, it worked well.  It was chaired by Kate Green, Deputy Editor of Country Life, and the speakers were:

  • Rt Hon Philip Dunne MP, Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee
  • Mike Amesbury MP, Shadow Housing and Planning Minister
  • Caroline Lucas MP, Former Leader of the Green Party
  • Rhiane Fatinikun, Founder, Black Girls Hike
  • Crispin Truman OBE, Chief Executive, CPRE

It lasted an hour and was the usual format: Intro + invited speakers (30 minutes or so) + questions (whatever time was left).  In the end there was only time for two sets of questions:

 – The link in the Manifesto between genuinely affordable rural homes and somewhere essential workers can live is well made. What actions would the panel encourage rural communities to take to better understand and resolve the affordable housing needs that they face? P.S. Don't forget to mention the essential role of rural housing associations like English Rural! Martin Collett, Chief Executive, English Rural HA
 – The Prime Ministers speech outlining the Green Recovery was a huge missed opportunity which cannot possibly deliver the ambition to tackle the climate crisis and loss of biodiversity. Deregulation is a backward step! Is it too late to hope that a truly green recovery can be delivered?
 – We support your call for a ring-fenced rural transport fund. However research shows clearly that there is a growing fear of using public transport post-covid, due to government messaging to avoid it. It also shows a likely growth in car use especially for the school run. Smaller vehicles are no longer the answer due to social distancing expectations. How do you square the circle?
 – Would allowing shops to be converted to offices or homes without planning permission be a good way of providing new homes on sustainable, brownfield sites, or would it mark the death of rural villages and small towns as centres of social and commercial life?
 – What is the single most important thing we can do to enable less privileged groups in urban areas to explore and enjoy the great beauty of the countryside?
 – Given the significant evidence base for good planning being a benefit to the economy, a case made by all of us (usual suspects) - who are the unusual suspects we need to partner with to cut through to the ears of those who appear deaf to evidence?
It was inevitable, I guess, that there would be 3 politicians on the panel, given what CPRE is trying to achieve.  But they did go on!  It might have been worse as the LibDems could have been there as well.  It was good see Rhiane Fatinikun, the founder of Black Girls Hike.  She was nobody's usual suspect and it was refreshing to hear what she had to say.


After the event, CPRE said:

"We were delighted with the media coverage for the event with an exclusive negotiated with the ‘I’ online. If you missed it, you can read it here. It includes an opinion piece from our President Emma Bridgewater. We also secured trade press coverage in Business Green, the Farmers Guardian and Gazette Community Magazine and are expecting coverage in Country Life Magazine next week. You can also read CPRE’s news story here.  If you weren’t able to join us yesterday morning, or enjoyed the event so much that you’d like to watch it again (!) you can do so via our YouTube page."

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


  • (we won't publish this)

Write a response