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14th Oct 2019 Only 1 in 10 homes built on land released from the Green Belt are ‘affordable’

Only 1 in 10 homes built on land released from the Green Belt over the past decade are ‘affordable’ according to a new report: "Space to Breathe, A State of the Green Belt" report published by CPRE on Monday 14 October.

The reports says that harmful development on the Green Belt, often in the guise of providing ‘affordable’ homes, is squandering this valuable asset at a time when it is needed for our own health and well-being, and to address the climate change crisis.

Key findings of the "Space to Breathe, A State of the Green Belt" report show that: 

  • In the past decade, only 1 in 10 new homes built on land released from the Green Belt are considered ‘affordable’, showing that building on the Green Belt is not the solution to the affordable housing crisis
  • This trend looks set to continue in the future as our research shows that there are proposals for a further 266,000 homes on undeveloped Green Belt land in advanced local plans, and only a third of these are likely to be classified as ‘affordable’ according to local policies
  • Development on the Green Belt is inefficient and land hungry, with the average density of homes within the Green Belt just 14 dwellings per hectare, compared to an average of 31 outside these designated green areas.

CPRE’s recommendations include: 

  • Better and existing solutions to fix the housing crisis such as building on brownfield sites
  • Enhancement of the Green Belt so it is valued as much by local authorities, government and developers, as it is by local communities
  • Stronger evidence-based tests for planning proposals. 

Tom Fyans, Deputy Chief Executive of CPRE said: ‘Building homes on the Green Belt is not the answer to the housing crisis. Indeed, in terms of the Green Belt, it’s clear that we are reaching a tipping point. The increasing number of new homes proposed on the Green Belt has continued to rise since the report was first undertaken in 2012, despite the fact that these homes are not delivering promised affordable housing. We must not allow our Green Belt to be gobbled up, but instead focus on building affordable homes in which young struggling families can actually live.

The Green Belt is also the countryside next door to 30 million people in some of our largest towns and cities. The countryside around our urban areas provide a huge opportunity to help us in our efforts to address the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis, while supporting the improved health and well-being of everyone. 

There are better ways to tackle the housing crisis exist, such as a ‘brownfield first’ policy. Our research shows that there is enough brownfield land to make way for more than 1 million homes. CPRE is calling on the government to start implementing new and existing positive solutions now to ensure that future generations can enjoy these much loved landscapes.’

1. Download a copy of the "Space to Breathe, A State of the Green Belt" Report here.

2. State of Brownfield 2019 can be downloaded here.

2nd Oct 2019 We're recruiting a Planning Officer

We’re looking for a Planning Officer to develop our planning work. As part of a staff team of five people plus volunteers, the post holder will be responsible for our work on Local Plans and contributing to campaigns.

The deadline for applications is Friday 25th October. Interviews will be on Tuesday 12th November

The main tasks include:

  • Scrutinise weekly lists of planning applications from all planning authorities (7) in our area.
  • Co-ordinate planning volunteers to investigate relevant planning applications and provide input for submissions.
  • Be responsible for preparing and submitting high quality comments on applications of concern.
  • Present and defend CPRE’s/Friends’ views at public inquiries as appropriate.
  • Contribute to campaigning and profile raising objectives

For more details an application form, click here.

Or, for an informal chat about the role, please call us on 0114 279 2655.

16th Jul 2019 Homes people can afford

Everyone needs a secure, stable and affordable place to live. But right now there are more than 170,000 families in rural communities who are on social housing waiting lists, and many more in urban areas.

It’s time to do something about this. We’ve joined housing charities such as Shelter, Crisis and the National Housing Federation to call on the government to spend £12.8 billion a year to build more social housing across England for those that need it most.

We want to see communities in the countryside prosper and flourish, and they need affordable homes to do so. Read more about our calls for action.

13th Jul 2019 @ 19:30 @ 21:30 Concert of choral music through the ages

Presented by the hugely popular ‘New Chamber Choir’.

Conducted by Paul Hudson.

Saturday 13th July at 7.30pm.

St Michael and All Angels’ Church, Hathersage.

All proceeds in aid of Friends of the Peak District.

Admission: £7.50 (concessions: £6.00).


Buy your tickets here.

St Michael and All Angels’ Church, Hathersage

2nd Jul 2019 Woodsetts public inquiry

The inquiry into exploratory drilling for shale gas at Woodsetts in Rotherham's lovely countryside has now concluded, after an amazing performance by the local community group, Woodsetts Against Fracking. After attending public inquiry training provided by us in 2018, they went on to crowdfund for a barrister and several expert witnesses to bolster their case, all of whom did sterling work as did countless supporting WAF members. 

We gave evidence on day 6 of the public inquiry  (see here for more detail: Put simply, we said that the Government withdrawing a key paragraph supporting shale gas development from the National Planning Policy framework (after it was found to be unlawful), strengthened our case that significant impacts on local landscapes and amenity outweighed potential national interest in shale gas exploration. We also said the Government's new policy to achieve net carbon zero by 2050 must also be taken into account. 

A week later the Government announced that the case had been 'called-in', so that a Minister will now take the decision rather than the Planning Inspector who heard the case. This also probably means the decision will be delayed for several months.


New research from the National Housing Federation reveals that the Government must invest £12.8bn a year to finally end the housing crisis in England.

Over ten years, this investment would kick start a nationwide housebuilding programme of around 1.45 million social homes to rent and shared ownership properties to buy across the country. It would stimulate the economy and help more buyers to get on the housing ladder, and ensure that millions of people no longer get stuck in inappropriate homes or on the streets. 

Now, a coalition of housing groups and charities, including CPRE, is calling for the Government to make this significant investment as the only way to end the housing crisis, since the private market alone cannot build the quantities or types of homes the country needs. 

Over the course of ten years, this Government investment would amount to £146bn, including inflation. This would cover about 44% of the total cost of this construction boom, unlocking the rest of the money which can then be raised from other sources.  

The research also finds that investing in new homes would add an additional £120bn to the economy each year, through the creation of local jobs in construction and other industries across the country. Effectively, every pound spent by the Government would generate at least £5, boosting the economy in a balanced and sustainable way.

It would also reduce the Government’s benefit bill over the course of the decade. Last year, the Government paid £22.3bn in housing benefit, a significant amount of which went into the pockets of private landlords to help cover rent for millions of low-income tenants. By moving many of these tenants into social housing, the Government would need to spend less on housing benefit over time, and so could save taxpayers tens of millions of pounds every year. This would also allow more people to build a solid foundation for their lives in social housing, aiding social mobility.

This new financial modelling is based on research, conducted by Heriot Watt University for the National Housing Federation and the homelessness charity Crisis, which showed that England needs to build 145,000 social homes every year for the next decade to clear the current backlog of people who need a home and meet future demand. 

Last year the Government spent £1.27bn on affordable housing, making housing one of the smallest government budgets, down 70% on 2010 levels. As a result, far fewer social rented homes are being built. In 2017/18, just 5,400 were built, compared to almost 36,000 in 2010/11 before funding was cut.

The chronic under-investment in housing has led to a 169% increase in rough sleeping, while the number of households in temporary accommodation is at a 10-year high. What’s more, 1.3 million children are currently living in poverty in expensive privately rented accommodation, while many young people are stuck at home with their parents, unable to build an independent life and start families of their own. 

Kate Henderson, Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation, said: “The housing crisis is an economic, social and human catastrophe. But it can be solved. And now, for the first time, we know exactly how much it will cost. By investing £12.8bn in affordable housing every year for the next decade, the Government can ensure millions of people have a stable and affordable place to live, at the same time as strengthening the economy across the country.

“By investing this money in affordable housing at the upcoming spending review, the Government can help families all across the country to flourish. They can help children get out of poverty, give young voters a foot up on the housing ladder and help out private renters who have to empty their bank account every month.

“As well as being the right thing to do, investing to end the housing crisis also carries huge economic benefits. It will advance the country’s productivity, boost its economic growth and lower the benefit bill over time.”

Crispin Truman, Chief Executive at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: “Everyone needs a secure, stable and affordable place to live, but right now there are more than 170,000 families in rural communities, who are on social housing waiting lists. At the current rate of building, it would take 130 years just to meet this backlog.

“Just like our towns and cities, communities in the countryside need a healthy mix of homes in order to prosper, including homes for social rent. These offer long term stability to families on lower incomes in rural areas, where life is more expensive and work can often be insecure and seasonal. They allow people to put down roots and plan for the future.

“Councils and housing associations can play a key role in building the homes the nation needs, but only if they are properly funded. This investment in homes for social rent and other low cost tenures would help to guarantee the future prosperity of our rural communities, and society as a whole.”

For further information please contact: Andrew Carruthers, Press Officer, National Housing Federation: or visit:

30th May 2019 Local charities could receive £1 billion in deposits from cans and bottles

CPRE survey shows 20% of people would donate deposits to charity with a deposit return system

One in five people (20%) using a UK-wide deposit return system would donate deposits they’d paid on drinks cans and bottles to charity all of the time, according to a new survey carried out by ICM Unlimited and published today (30 May) by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) [1]. This could result in annual donations of more than £1 billion to good causes [2].

A further 19% of respondents said they would donate their deposits most of the time, and more than a third (34%) would donate at least some of the time. This could lead to a further £1.3 billion in donations to local charitable causes from the deposits on glass and plastic drinks bottles and aluminium cans, the analysis by CPRE found [3]. The donations could be even higher if drinks cartons and pouches are also included in England’s deposit system – something which Environment Secretary Michael Gove is currently considering.
The countryside charity states that by including an option for the public to donate their deposits – something that is part of most other deposit systems around the world – we could build on the huge success of the carrier bag charge, which, as well as reducing plastic bag usage by over 80%, raised £66 million for good causes in 2016/17 [4]. 
Samantha Harding, litter programme director at CPRE, said: 
‘Not only would the introduction of a UK-wide deposit return system put a stop to most of the environmental damage caused by drinks containers and boost recycling rates in excess of 90%, it could also provide much needed funding for good causes across the country. It is fantastic and really heartening that so many people would be happy to donate their deposits in this way.
‘An effective “all-in” deposit return system will bring an end to the growing disenchantment and scepticism around current recycling methods by doubling current recycling rates. But it’s also evident that the deposit, as well as encouraging the right behaviour in terms of recycling, would allow for people’s generous natures to be realised when it comes to supporting others.’
‘It’s important to ensure that England’s scheme includes every bottle, can, carton and pouch, whatever the shape, size or material. Not only will this halt the devastation caused to our countryside and environment by drinks container pollution, but if every type of drinks packaging is included in the scheme, it could result in more donated deposits, benefiting nature and local communities.’
In the UK, it is estimated that 28 billion single-use glass, plastic and aluminium drinks bottles and cans are sold every year in the UK, according to recent government figures [5]. Due to ineffective waste collection and recycling systems, overall recycling rates in the UK have stagnated at around 45% [6]. This results in a large number of drinks containers either left polluting the countryside, waterways and streets, or being sent for incineration or buried in landfill, rather than recycled.
Through its monetary incentive, an effective UK-wide deposit return system has the potential to boost recycling rates for drinks containers to more than 90%. CPRE highlights that this would significantly reduce the environmental damage they cause, as well as ensuring that the producers of drinks packaging rightfully become financially responsible for the full costs of the waste they create.
Earlier this month the Scottish government announced its plans to introduce a deposit return system for glass, plastic and aluminium drinks containers of all sizes
CPRE is calling for the UK government to build on Scotland’s ambition by introducing a fully comprehensive ‘all-in’ system, including all drinks containers of all sizes and materials, to make sure that England gets the most effective and economically viable deposit system in the world. 
1. The survey was commissioned by CPRE and conducted by ICM Unlimited. ICM interviewed a sample of 2,112 UK adults aged 18+ online using its omnibus service between 27 and 29 March 2019. The results have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults aged 18+. ICM Unlimited is the specialist social and political research division of Walnut Unlimited, the human understanding agency.
The survey results will be available on CPRE’s website after the embargo lifts on Thursday 30 May 2019. 
For an advanced copy of the survey results please email
2. CPRE based its analysis, which shows that more than £1 billion would be raised for local charitable causes through donated deposits, based on the following criteria:
  • 20% of respondents from the representative sample of the UK population said that they would donate their deposits all of the time. 
  • The deposit value for a UK-wide deposit return system is very likely to be 20p, as this is the value confirmed by the Scottish government on 8 May 2019.
  • A UK-wide deposit return system achieves a 90% return rate for the 28 billion glass and plastic bottles and aluminium, which government statistics show are sold each year in the UK.
3. Using the above criteria but expecting the 19% of respondents who said they would donate their deposits most of the time, and 34% would donate at least some of the time, to donate half of their deposits collectively.
4. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra): Single-use plastic carrier bags charge: data in England for 2016 to 2017
Almost two-thirds of retailers voluntarily provided additional information on how much they had donated to good causes. These retailers donated over £66 million to good causes amounting to 4 pence for every single-use bag sold by them.
5. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra): Consultation on introducing a Deposit Return Scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
UK consumers go through an estimated 14 billion plastic drinks bottles, 9 billion drinks cans and 5 billion glass bottles a year.
6. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra): UK Statistics on Waste 2019

29th May 2019 Save Sheffield's Countryside UPDATE

Save our green belt

Some of you may have seen CPRE at Sheffield station just before Easter, when we unveiled our map of countryside at risk. Now here’s our first update.

If you would like to receive our updates direct to your inbox, please sign up to our monthly eNewsletter, HERE.

At the station event, we met people from all across the city, and learned about the parts of the countryside that matter to them. We also had some really good media coverage in the Yorkshire Post, Sheffield Star and Telegraph, and on Twitter. It seems our key message – that Sheffield can and should meet its housing needs without eating into precious countryside – strikes a chord with many people.

You may also have seen articles in the national press suggesting that Green Belt needs to be released on a large scale to provide homes. This is presented as a moral argument – people need homes more than they need countryside. We argue that this is flawed logic. In Sheffield, CPRE research shows enough brownfield land for about 25,000 homes – around 11 years’ supply. These are just the brownfield sites that landowners have already put forward for development. 

Much more could be done to re-model currently run down areas of Sheffield. Treating greenfield sites as an easy, go-to option doesn’t just waste countryside – it also wastes these important opportunities to bring new life to existing neighbourhoods. 

We’re hoping you can get these messages heard by your local councillors. Whatever their political persuasion, they must be in no doubt about how much their voters care about their environment – the good bits and the bad bits. They care about parks, trees, air quality, litter, rivers and wildlife, allotments, and places to walk, cycle and do sport. Will you write, email or talk to them to help us save precious green belt land?

In the coming few months, we’ll be organising events in places across Sheffield where we know the countryside is under pressure for development. We want to hear what matters to you and talk about how we can make change happen. We’ll email you dates and venues as soon as they are booked!

Please let us know if you’d like to volunteer to do more, including getting our information distributed in your local area. Please either email us on or call on 0114 279 2655.

Thanks for your support so far!

9th May 2019 Drinks container crisis: global annual consumption nears 2 trillion

International ‘Clean Planet’ coalition calls for world-wide deposit return systems for drinks containers

In an international day of action for a ‘Clean Planet’, a global network of campaigners and organisations have come together to call for world-wide deposit return systems to stop the environmental damage caused by the vast amounts of drinks containers produced, sold and thrown away every day.

At 9.00am local time on the 9 May 2019 in each country, over a 24-hour period, the network of groups from 22 countries across five continents [1] will release a series of aerial photographs and videos of messages written on hillsides, beaches and buildings calling for a ‘Clean Planet’.

The global stunt is aimed at raising awareness of the environmental impact of drinks packaging, with an international call for action for governments across the world to extend, update or introduce a deposit return system in each country respectively, as the best solution to drinks container pollution [2].

In a joint statement the Clean Planet campaigners, said: ‘The scale of the pollution problem requires immediate global action. Now is the time for every government around the world to stand up and take action against the environmental devastation caused by drinks cans, bottles and cartons – we cannot wait any longer for a clean planet.

‘Through effective deposit return systems that collect and accept every single type of drinks container, introduced right across the world, we have a chance to stop choking our planet with the trillions of bottles, cans and cartons that are produced every single year.’

The case for deposit return systems

When introduced, effective deposit return systems simultaneously boost recycling rates for drinks containers to more than 90%, reduce the environmental damage they cause by stopping them from being littered and make producers of these products responsible for the cost of the waste that they create.

In the process, more recycled content is used to create drinks containers and more refillable containers are used as part of a circular economy, which in turn creates jobs, reduces waste and slows down the depletion of natural resources.

In 2015, it was it was estimated that 1.6 trillion drinks containers were sold across the world [3]. Using growth projections based on the increase in the numbers drinks container sold from 2014 to 2015, global sales of aluminium cans, glass and plastic bottles, as well as drinks cartons, pouches, sachets, look set to reach 1.9 trillion in 2019 [4].

Yet ineffective waste collection and recycling systems across the world mean that a large number of these single-use products are left polluting the environment, and many that are collected as waste are either sent for incineration or buried in landfill, rather than recycled.

Samantha Harding, litter programme director at the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), said:

‘We stand united with campaigners from all across the globe, calling for world-wide deposit return systems to tackle the environmental crisis caused by drinks containers.

‘With global sales approaching 2 trillion, it is clear that the consumption of drinks cans, bottles and cartons has reached epidemic proportions. Without immediate action, our countryside and environment will continue to pay the price for the careless actions of those producing these products.

‘As the UK government edges closer to a decision on the type of deposit return system that will be introduced here in England, it is imperative that the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, ensures that we get the best possible system.

‘Only by introducing an “all-in” deposit return system – that includes every single drinks can, bottle and carton of all sizes and materials – are we going to effectively tackle the crisis and bring about the clean planet that we so desperately need.’

Last year, the UK government committed to introduce a deposit return system in England [5]. It is currently consulting on two design options for what the system will include and how it will operate [6].

CPRE is calling for a fully comprehensive ‘all-in’ system, including all drinks containers of all sizes and materials, to make sure that England gets the most effective and economically viable deposit system in the world.

Notes :

1.The global network of ‘Clean Planet’ campaigners are demanding change through the introduction of a deposit return system in those countries that do not yet have one, and extending deposit systems in countries that already have one to make them more effective by including all cans, bottles and cartons.

2. Photographs and videos of the global CLEAN PLANET messages will be available at 9.00am local time in each country taking place throughout the day on Thursday, 9 May 2019 in this Dropbox folder:

3. What is a ‘deposit return system’? A deposit return system is the most effective recycling system, delivering much higher levels of recyclable waste collection, as well as increasing the quantity of low contamination, high quality materials collected for recycling.

How does it work? When you buy a drink, you pay a small deposit (10-20p) and then when you return the container to one of the many return points, you get your deposit back. Thanks to the monetary incentive, such schemes already in operation throughout the world achieve unrivalled return rates of between 70-98.5%, with an associated reduction in other container litter of up to 80%.

Who pays for it? Set up costs for the system are paid by the producers of drinks container packaging via a one-off fee, often known as a ‘joining fee’. The ongoing costs for the system are funded by:

  • Unclaimed deposits
  • Material revenues, received from the sale of glass, aluminium and plastic collected via the deposit return system
  • Producer fees, which make up the balance between income from material revenues and unclaimed deposits against the costs of collection, transport, processing, administration and handling fees – ie. the administration fee guarantees the deposit system is ‘cost neutral’ overall.

In short, the system follows the ‘polluter pays’ principle, ensuring that the cost of dealing with drinks containers is met by those who produce them and those who litter them. There is a net-zero cost to retailers, and consumers will only be out of pocket if they do not return the can or bottle after consumption.

4. Rexam Annual Report 2015Globally, about 1.6 trillion units of beverage packs were sold in 2015, an increase of 5% in volume versus 2014

5. Based on the 5% increase in volume from 2014 to 2015, set out by Rexam in its 2015 Annual Report, if continued the global sales would increase from 1.6 trillion in 2015 to 1.9 trillion in 2019.

6. Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs: Deposit return scheme in fight against plasticIntroducing a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland

9th May 2019 Save Sheffield's Countryside

Sheffield’s countryside is at risk

Sheffield City Council are set to redraw the boundaries of the green belt in order to build thousands of new houses. But these homes will NOT meet the housing need, but are likely to be executive homes instead.

We fear that much valuable countryside will be lost unnecessarily as the number and type of homes built will not meet people’s real housing needs.  Nor will the sites chosen be sustainable – they will not be close to public transport nor local facilities.

We need to keep high quality green spaces close to where people live – they are a key asset for quality of life for everyone and they underpin Sheffield’s reputation as the ‘Outdoor City’.

Click here to see our map which shows our best estimate, as a professional planning organisation, of where green belt land around Sheffield will be under pressure for development. Some of these areas will be proposed by the Council in its long awaited new Local Plan. Much more is at risk from landowners and housebuilders pushing for extra sites to be allocated.

If these beautiful green field sites are released by the Council in the Local Plan, landowners and housebuilders will choose them over the inner city brownfield sites because the profit margins are much greater.

Act now…

If you think Sheffield should only grow outwards if it is first making the best possible use of land and buildings within the city, please take action:

  • Donate to our campaign fund:  
  • Click here to add your name to our petition and sign up for campaign updates (via our email addresses at Friends of the Peak District)
  • Click here to email the Leader of the Council, Julie Dore,  to voice your concerns. You may choose to copy and paste the following text.

Dear Councillor Dore,

I’m very concerned that the forthcoming Local Plan will unnecessarily damage Sheffield’s Green Belt by allowing developers to build executive homes in our finest countryside, which will not meet the real need for more affordable homes in sustainable locations.

I’m particularly concerned that local greenspace close to where I live [insert area] may be affected, as CPRE have indicated. [option to add reason(s) why developing this area would be damaging]

I am asking you and the Council to reconsider your plans so that we can have both the homes that are needed to underpin Sheffield’s future growth but without damaging the huge asset of the countryside on our doorstep.

I would be grateful if you could tell me what housing is allocated for [insert name of area] in the Local Plan.

I look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely

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