Join us for a fascinating evening talk about Green Belts, how we made them a reality, and why they're so important.
CPRE planning officer, Andrew Wood explains how Sheffield's Green Belt is not just essential for our quality of life today, but is also a radical and progressive idea with deep historical roots and great promise for the future.
Tickets: £5 each (free to members).
Tea, coffee and nibbles included
Book free members' tickets in advance by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Buy tickets online:
- Victoria Hall, 37 Stafford Road, Sheffield, S2 2SF
The planning inquiry into INEOS' proposals to explore for shale gas, which could lead to the fracking in South Yorkshire, is now over. After late changes were made to the traffic management proposals by INEOS, Rotherham Council's case was weakened significantly, despite Councillors at a recent planning board refusing to back down on their opposition to the revised plans. At the end of the first week of the inquiry, Rotherham withdrew its opposition on ecology after it failed to defend its position properly.
This week has seen a day of local groups, notably Harthill Against Fracking, CPRE South Yorkshire, Friends of the Earth and many local residents making a persuasive and passionate defence of local countryside. Concerns focused on the safety of local residents and visitors on the narrow lanes around the proposed site, off Common Lane, and impacts on local farms.
Andy Tickle, Director, gave evidence to the inquiry, and said "Local people have made their feelings very plain and made a huge contribution to the inquiry. Their evidence was very clear and pointed out the many problems with INEOS' plans, especially on traffic issues. They were amazing!".
The inquiry has now closed but a decision will not be made for several months.
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The Friends of the Peak District annual Magnificent Walk will start and finish at the fantastic traditional country pub and restaurant – the Fleece Inn - in the picturesque village of Holme, near Holmfirth.
- 20 beautiful miles from Holme - via the Pennine Way, onto the recently restored Black Hill, above the large mill town of Marsden
- Then follow the Friends’ Peak District Boundary Walk back to Holme around the northern-most tip of the National Park via the spectacular Royd Edge and Digley Reservoir
- 15 mile route also available
- Sign-in at the Fleece Inn from 8am
- 314 bus from Huddersfield at 06:50 and 07:50 (arriving at 07:26 and 08:27)
- Parking will be available (details to be confirmed)
- Public toilets are available in the village
- Drinking water will be made available
- Walkers can set off no earlier than 8.30am
- We'll provide route directions and maps. And we'll waymark the route where necessary
- Runners welcome
- Dogs are not allowed on some sections of the 20 mile walk. Sorry.
- Registration costs £12 for adults (£15 on the day). Children under 16 FREE. All proceeds in aid of the Friends of the Peak District.
- The Fleece Pantry shop will be open from 8am serving a selection of takeaway hot and cold drinks,’holme’ made bread, pies, pasties, cakes and the famous breakfast butties. At the end of your walk, why not enjoy a superb meal at the Fleece Inn, prepared by enthusiastic chefs using fresh local produce, and complimented by a selection of cask conditioned beers and wines from around the world. (Booking is advisable, call 01484 683449).
- Click here to download a gpx file of the route
- Email: email@example.com or call 0114 279 2655
Book your tickets today...
(b) By post
You can download a registration form HERE and send it to us by post. Please make cheques payable to 'CPRE Peak and South Yorks'.
(c) By phone
You can call us on 0114 279 2655 and pay by card.
- Fleece Inn, Holme, near Hollmfirth, HD9 2QG
We are delighted by the Government announcement to introduce a deposit return system
CPRE wholeheartedly congratulates the Government on its decision to introduce a nationwide deposit return system (DRS) for plastic and glass bottles, as well as aluminium cans. The introduction will help boost recycling rates and combat the plague of litter blighting our countryside. This is a watershed moment for recycling in the UK, given that similar systems around the world produce extremely high results.
The long-awaited decision came following a call for evidence in October last year which investigated how the littering of plastic, metal and glass drinks containers could be reduced, as well as the recycling of them increased. The evidence submitted was examined by retail giants such as Coca-Cola and Tesco, alongside other members of the Voluntary and Economic Incentives Working Group, for which CPRE provided the Secretariat.
CPRE has campaigned for the introduction of a DRS for 10 years, and are absolutely delighted by the announcement. There has been increasing pressure from environmental organisations, the media and the public for more action to be taken against the tide of waste that is polluting our natural environments - with single-use drinks containers being a huge contributor.
Samantha Harding, Litter Programme Director at the Campaign to Protect Rural England said: “This is a brilliant and significant decision by Michael Gove. I am thrilled that we will finally see the many benefits a deposit system will bring to England, not least the absence of ugly drinks containers in our beautiful countryside.
“What’s significant is that producers will now pay the full costs of their packaging, reducing the burden on the taxpayer and setting a strong precedent for other schemes where the polluter pays. This really is a bold and exciting step by the Government.”
Bill Bryson, author and former President of the Campaign to Protect Rural England said: “I wholeheartedly congratulate Michael Gove for his wisdom in finally accepting the case for a deposit return system in the UK - I never thought I would see this in my lifetime. Future generations will look back on this decision as a piece of supremely enlightened policymaking, and one that raises the prospect of the world’s most beautiful country becoming free from drinks container litter at last. My most profound gratitude goes to the tireless campaigners and heroic litter pickers of CPRE who, for the past decade, have kept the issue alive in the minds of our politicians, press and public.”
Emma Bridgewater, President of the Campaign to Protect Rural England said: “This landmark announcement is the breakthrough we have been waiting for. CPRE have been campaigning for the introduction of a DRS for almost 10 years – it has been a long battle, but this significant victory is an enormous leap forward in the war against waste.
“Our countryside, oceans and wildlife have long since been the victim of our obsession with single-use bottles and cans, with the UK producing billions of them year after year. Many end up damaging our natural environments and killing our wildlife – and is also a shocking waste of valuable materials. The proven success of DRS in other countries means that now most of these bottles and cans will be captured and recycled – we congratulate the government on their decision.”
Deposit systems are already successfully operating in 38 countries around the world, producing average recycle rates for collected materials of 90% - reaching as high as 95% in Norway. The concept is simple – consumers will pay a small deposit on top of the cost of any drink that they buy. This is then returned to the customer when the container is returned to a retailer.
Economic incentives such as these are proven to be the best driver of behaviour change when it comes to boosting recycling and reducing waste. The consumption of plastic bags has gone down by more than 80 percent in England since the 5p charge was introduced.
Planning reform often resembles the Emperor’s new clothes. Will the review of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) be any different? The review’s launch has been billed as a ‘housing revolution’ but what does the consultation draft really say, and what’s our agenda for it?
It appears to strengthen local authorities’ ability to refuse planning applications that conflict with an up-to-date development plan. A new legal requirement for plans to be reviewed every five year may help to answer the vexed question of how ‘up-to-date’ is defined.
The review gives new weight to completed neighbourhood plans, but with some worrying caveats. Firstly, a neighbourhood plan which is in its late stages, but not yet in force, might carry less weight than it does now. Secondly, if a local authority is struggling to maintain a supply of housing sites or deliver its planned rate of housebuilding, there is scope to override a neighbourhood plan. So a community that had successfully grasped the nettle of finding enough housing sites for its neighbourhood plan could face off-plan applications just because other parts of the district are not delivering.
There is an interesting new provision for strategic plans to be prepared individually or jointly by local authorities, or by an elected Mayor or combined authority. This might open the door to local authorities producing joint plans (perhaps akin to former structure plans), even if the devolution arrangements are stalling (as in Yorkshire). It might be a bigger reform than it seems at first glance. We have consistently called for more joint working across local authority boundaries, so this may be good news if it is done well.
We will be judging the revised NPPF against our core concerns.
- Will it improve protection of the countryside, designated landscapes and Green Belt?
- Will it enable local authorities to get serious about affordable housing, and prevent developers wriggling out of their obligations?
- Does it really put brownfield sites before greenfield?
- And does it give communities meaningful powers over how their area develops?
We’ll be studying this and reaching our conclusions in the next month or so.
To view the consultation document, click here www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/685288/NPPF_Consultation.pdf
A Dogwood Production by Graham Harvey
“A really lovely story, beautifully told.” London Theatre April 2017
Graham Harvey, for twenty years the Agricultural Story Editor of The Archers and writer of more than 600 episodes, brings to the stage the true tale of an unlikely Cotswold hero and an enduring romance.
Set in the Oxfordshire countryside at the end of World War Two, rich in tradition and full of vivid, memorable characters. But this is no nostalgic, bucolic ramble.
This is Elizabeth’s story...
What inspires a young Somerset land girl to set off in search of a best selling author in the darkest days of war? The story moves between the 1940s and the current day, reflecting that the love of the countryside, the need to protect it and issues of national identity, are timeless. “When peace is won, we fight for the land we love”…
Graham Harvey will be taking part in an after-show conversation – included in the ticket price -where he will discuss the issues in the play…and all things Ambridge!
Elizabeth is played by Rebecca Bailey and the show is directed by James Le Lacheur, who has recently spent a year in London’s West End in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
The show features new live music composed and performed by Alastair Collingwood, who has written scores for numerous theatre shows, including Betty in London’s West End, directed by Kathy Burke, and Cora with Dana Gillespie, which also toured the USA. His TV credits include the title music for French and Saunders (BBC1), Rhona (BBC 2), Vanessa’s Real Lives (ITV 1) and How Clean Is Your House? (Channel 4), amongst many others.
Includes after show discussion with Graham Harvey
Approximate running time: 85 minutes plus interval
Anticipated duration of after-show discussion: 20 minutes
Interval: 15 minutes
Interval between production and discussion: 15 minutes
£12 per ticket. Bar available.
Buy your tickets here:
For directions to the venue, visit www.medwaycentre.co.uk
For more information about the production, visit www.nofinerlife.co.uk
What the papers say
“Bailey’s performance is a mini masterpiece as she slips effortlessly between age and encounter, with warmth, wonderment, and magnificent spiky humour.” Chichester Observer, September 2017
“Made magical by Alastair Collingwood’s musical scores.” Mid Sussex Times, September 2017
- The Medway Community Centre, New Street, Bakewell, DE45 1DY
Councils find sites for more than five times the number of homes predicted by Government
An analysis of Brownfield Land Registers, published on 12 February, confirms that there is enough space on brownfield land to build at least one million new homes, with more than two-thirds of these homes deliverable within the next five years. Many of these sites are in areas with a high need for housing.
This means that three of the next five years’ worth of Government housing targets could be met through building homes on brownfield land that has already been identified, easing pressures on councils to continue releasing greenfield land unnecessarily and preventing the unnecessary loss of countryside.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), which carried out the analysis, found that the 17,656 sites identified by local planning authorities, covering over 31,133 hectares of land, would provide enough land for a minimum of 1,052,124 homes – this could rise to over 1.1 million once all registers are published, confirming CPRE’s previous estimates.
Most brownfield land is within urban areas that already have infrastructure, and where there is a higher demand for housing. The areas of England identified as having the highest number of potential “deliverable” homes include London, the North West and the South East with the new registers giving minimum housing estimates of 267,859, 160,785 and 132,263 respectively.
Rebecca Pullinger, Planning Campaigner at the Campaign to Protect Rural England said:
“It’s fantastic news that local authorities have identified so many sites on brownfield land that are ready and waiting to be developed – and shown how wide of the mark the Government’s estimates of brownfield capacity have been. Contrary to what the Government, and other commentators have said, brownfield sites are also available in areas with high housing pressure. Indeed, our analysis is conservative with its estimates of potential number of homes that could be built – the figure could much higher if density is increased and if more registers looked at small sites.
The Government needs to get on with amending its guidance to make sure that councils identified all the available brownfield sites in their areas. They then need to improve incentives to build on these sites and ensure that they follow through on their commitment that all that new-builds should be on brownfield first.”
The registers have found sites for well over 400,000 homes that have not yet come forward for planning permission despite the urgent need to move sites towards development. More than one third of these sites are on publicly owned land. As public authority developments should give a significant opportunity to provide affordable homes, this presents an opportunity for homes built on brownfield land to help towards local need.
Further results from the analysis show that there is brownfield capacity wherever there is threat to the Green Belt. In a number of areas that have an extremely high number of sites in the Green Belt proposed for development, particularly in the North West, local authorities have identified enough suitable brownfield land to satisfy up to 12 years’ worth of housing need.
In order to make best use of suitable brownfield land, CPRE calls on the Government to take the opportunity presented by the upcoming review of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) to introduce a brownfield first approach to land release and granting planning permissions for development. Local authorities must be empowered to refuse planning permission for greenfield sites where there are suitable alternatives on brownfield land.
Councillors voted 9-1 against fracking in Eckington.
More news to follow shortly...
Ahead of the Rotherham Borough Council planning committee hearing this Thursday, we have joined with Friends of the Earth and local community groups Harthill Against Fracking and Eckington Against Fracking to call on Rotherham planners to reject the application by chemicals giant INEOS to conduct exploratory drills for shale gas near the village of Harthill in South Yorkshire.
This is the first application for exploratory drilling by INEOS to be considered by a local planning committee in England. The company has ambitious plans to drill numerous fracking wells across the Midlands and North of England. INEOS has also applied to conduct test drills near Eckington (Derbyshire) and Woodsetts (also in Rotherham) - both within 10 miles of the Harthill site and due to be considered by local planners shortly.
INEOS has also recently applied to the Planning Inspectorate for the Eckington and Harthill applications to be decided by a government appointed planning inspector because it believes “no local decisions have been made in a reasonable time period”. Thursday’s decision by Rotherham MBC will be an important consideration for the planning inspector in the planning inquiry in as early as May this year. Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council officers have recommended that Councillors reject the planning application on Thursday.
Deborah Gibson, campaigner with Harthill Against Fracking said: “Harthill is full of people who love its location, its calm, and its history, from the Iron-age settlement, Roman settlement, the Domesday Book, to the present. There is a mix of emotions amongst local people, of anger, fear and helplessness but also hope that the RMBC Planning committee will refuse INEOS permission. This is a completely unnecessary and unacceptable industrial development and we are worried about the impact of extra traffic poses to farms, businesses and livelihoods and the safety of children should it go ahead.”
Richard Dyer, campaigner with Friends of the Earth, said: “We know that we have to leave the majority of fossil fuel resources in the ground if we are to prevent dangerous climate change, so it makes absolutely no sense to investigate the potential for fracking, England should follow the lead of all of our neighbouring countries, by saying no to this risky technology and commit to a clean energy future”
Dave Kesteven, campaigner with Eckington Against Fracking, said: “Eckington along with Woodsetts is also facing the threat of an INEOS exploratory drill, we have the prospect of 3 drilling rigs within 10 miles. We are all in this together and we stand strong with the community of Harthill. We don't need fracking. We won't have fracking. Standing together we will beat Ineos and win”
Our director, Andy Tickle said: “The drill site would be in some of Rotherham’s best countryside and would have significant impacts on landscape and tranquillity. It is unnecessary industrialisation of the South Yorkshire countryside and it must be stopped.”
Harthill Against Fracking, Friends of the Earth and CPRE are speaking at the planning hearing at Rotherham Town Hall on Thursday 25 January. Local campaigners will be present outside the hearing and available for broadcast interviews and photo opportunities. The hearing begins at 1pm and a decision is expected the same day.
For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call Friends of the Earth press office: 020 7566 1649
- INEOS owns 1.2billion Acres of PEDL (Petroleum Exploration and Development Licences) www.ineos.com/news/shared-news/ineos-adds-to-shale-gas-licence-portfolio/ and announced in 2014 that it wants to be the biggest player in UK fracking industry: www.ineos.com/businesses/ineos-shale/news/ineos-moves-to-become-biggest-player-in-the-uk-shale-gas-industry/
- The INEOS ‘non determination’ press release is downloadable from the Derbyshire County Council website: www.derbyshire.gov.uk/environment/planning/planning_policy/minerals_waste_development_framework/shale_gas/fracking-bramleymoor-lane/default.asp
- About Friends of the Earth: For more than 40 years we’ve seen that the wellbeing of people and planet go hand in hand – and it’s been the inspiration for our campaigns. Together with thousands of people like you we’ve secured safer food and water, defended wildlife and natural habitats, championed the move to clean energy and acted to keep our climate stable. For further information visit www.friendsoftheearth.uk