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12th Dec 2018 Outrageous proposal to build 22 houses in Sheffield’s Green Belt

We're adding our voice to the many local residents, including the Dore Village Society, who are strongly objecting to the application to build 22 houses in Sheffield’s designated and (until now) protected Green Belt which is also part of a Local Wildlife Site. 

Planning officer, Andrew Wood, explains “The application at Long Line is for 22 houses, which would fill one of the remaining gaps in development on the South-West side of the road. The gradual filling out of Long Line is a huge anomaly in Sheffield's otherwise fairly robust defence of Green Belt over recent years.

“We want to know why Long Line is uniquely vulnerable to the Green Belt being nibbled away, especially as it also falls within a Local Wildlife Site. It's difficult to see how the Council could accept the applicant's argument of special circumstances to build in the Green Belt”. 

Without a Local Plan, Sheffield City Council’s development plan policies are deemed to be out of date, and the applicants are trying to exploit this by claiming that the new development meets a housing need. However, national planning policies mean that the protected status of the site should not be compromised by the out-of-date plan. Also, none of the new houses are proposed to be affordable, so their effect on meeting real housing needs would be very limited.

The Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust added their voice to the objections, saying “The site is not allocated for housing. The land is designated as Green Belt and is located within the boundary of Dore Moor Local Wildlife Site. We support the many concerns raised by local residents about the potential loss of this important Local Wildlife Site and inappropriate development on the Green Belt.”

We're asking Sheffield City Council to heed these concerns and refuse this application. 

Further details about the planning application can be found on the Sheffield City Council website: and use the following Planning Application Reference: 18/04034/OUT

18_04034_OUT-SITE Long Line location plan-page-00118_04034_OUT Long Line Site Plan-page-001    

20th Nov 2018 BUY - DRINK - RETURN

How deposits on cans and bottles will untangle recycling confusion

National litter pick collects a staggering 11,212 drinks containers of all materials and sizes – but the imminent introduction of a deposit return system is set to spark a recycling revolution.

Throughout September, the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) held 35 litter picks across England as part of its nationwide ‘Green Clean’, including one on our patch in Sheffield. As well as helping communities clean up their local green spaces, CPRE wanted to highlight the astonishing variety of cans and bottles discarded across our countryside, towns and cities.

The data resulting from the Green Clean events will help the Government design England’s ‘deposit return system’ which – if properly set up to collect every drinks can and bottle – will provide a simple solution to recycling confusion and boost recycling rates for drinks container waste to more than 90%.

Volunteers taking part in the Green Clean collected a total of 11,212 cans and bottles of all shapes, sizes and materials:

  • 35% of those collected were made from plastic
  • 50% were aluminium
  • 14% glass
  • 1% Tetra Pak

While plastic packaging has been making the headlines, this data shows that two-thirds of all drinks containers littered are made from other materials – such as aluminium and glass – and should be taken just as seriously.

Of the plastics: 10% were small bottles (below 500ml), 71% were medium sized (500ml – average water bottle), 10% were large (501ml-1.5l), and 9% were considered extra-large (more than 1.5l).

Of the cans: 18% were small (below 330ml – small energy drink), 29% were medium sized (330ml – average fizzy drink can), and 53% were large (more than 330ml – average beer can).

Of the glass bottles: 25% were small (under 330ml – stubby and regular beer bottle), 42% were medium sized (400-750ml – larger beer bottle), and 33% were large (more than 750 ml – wine bottles and large spirits bottles).

CPRE’s evidence demonstrates that there is no limit to the types and sizes of cans and bottles that are causing harm to our wildlife and natural world. It should provide the incentive for the Government to make the right decision and ensure that all cans and bottles, of all types and sizes, are included in England’s deposit return system.

Samantha Harding, Litter Programme Director at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: ‘By introducing a simple deposit system the Government has a golden opportunity to end growing scepticism around current recycling methods, collect and recycle more materials than ever in the UK, and ensure that those who produce the packaging rightly pay the full cost of recovering the materials that they produce. But it will only work if it is universal in the types of cans and bottles it accepts.’

‘Deposit return infrastructure is the same for large plastic bottles as it would be for small plastic bottles, cans and glass – failing to set the system up to collect all that it can, will set the system up to fail. The Government is committed to tackling waste and boosting recycling and with this solution it has the chance to get things right.

‘In recent times, there has been a noticeable shift in consumer behaviour and attitudes – people genuinely want to take responsibility for the amount of packaging used. We all want recycling to work, but our data clearly shows that current collection methods are failing.’

In March this year, the Government promised to ‘introduce a deposit return scheme in England for single use drinks containers, subject to consultation later this year’. However, there are many within the drinks and packaging industries attempting to dilute the system and limit the type and size of containers that will be included.

CPRE will share this data with the Government, via its upcoming deposit return consultation, to make sure England gets the best-designed system. In order to be as effective as possible, the system must accept cans and bottles of all materials, shapes and sizes. That includes drinks packaging that is on the market now, as well as being future-proofed against changes to the type and size of containers in the future.

19th Oct 2018 Devastating new HS2 route

The new HS2 line through South Yorkshire would have a devastating and lasting impact on our most treasured landscapes. High viaducts, long embankments and deep cuttings would radically change favourite views forever.  

Wildlife sites, ancient woodland and high quality agricultural land would be lost and dozens of footpaths would be diverted.

Although some impacts could be concealed or reduced as new tree and hedge planting grows, the viaducts over the River Dearne and Frickley flood plain near Mexborough would be permanent intrusions. Further north the line would be highly visible on the 2 km long, 24 metre high Barnburgh embankment before dropping into the 3.7km long Hickleton cutting. 

"The route bisects high ground with a deep cutting adjacent to a popular local viewpoint at Watchley Crags,” said Anne Robinson, our transport campaigner. “HS2 Ltd have taken no notice of our suggestion for a short cut-and-cover tunnel. At Hickleton, the cutting would create an uncharacteristic land form between Ludlow Hill and Barnburgh Cliff with severance of the ridgeline and the wood.”

Impacts on local communities include the loss of 63 homes between Ravenfield and Clayton. In the peak construction phase between 2024 and 2028, there would be major impacts of noise, earthworks plus plant and lorry movements on local roads.

In principle we support rail developments, but they have to be in the right place. HS2 has got this badly wrong. Putting the route across the Magnesian Limestone Ridge between Mexborough and Clayton would destroy the integrity of the best South Yorkshire landscapes. We made a host of constructive suggestions to reduce the impact, and none have been taken on board.

This is incredibly disappointing.

3rd Oct 2018 Hello from New Director

Tomo lives in Sheffield and has been walking, climbing, cycling and running in the Peak District (and in many places around the world) for a fair while. He also teaches outdoor pursuits, and is a retired Army Officer and a trustee of the Peak based charity, Challenge Cancer Through Adventure.

"It's a great privilege to be the new Director for this branch and I’m alive to the challenges facing us over the coming years. I will endeavour to reach out to our supporters over the next few months at ‘update evenings’ in various locations across South Yorkshire (details to follow). I look forward to meeting you".  Tomo Thompson

(Andy Tickle is still with us, as Head of Campaigns)

29th Sep 2018 @ 10:00 @ 15:00 Litter pick in Sheffield

CPRE's Green Clean Litter Pick - we need your help!

Join our litter pick event and see how many plastic bottles you can find!

Following the great news of environment secretary Michael Gove’s announcement that England will have a deposit return system for bottles and cans, the Government is currently looking into how this system will work, so now is the time to clean up the countryside and show what it could look like with an effective deposit system.

We’ll be counting all the bottles and cans collected locally, to provide national evidence to the Government so they can create the best possible deposit return system for England.

We’ll provide the kit – just turn up!

But if you want more info, email

River Sheaf Walk, Queens Road, Sheffield, S2 4BA

7th Aug 2018 Green belts to benefit future generations not current housing developers

Letter to the editor...

Your special feature on Sheffield’s Green Belt (26th July) raises some crucial issues about how we value our open spaces and the unique connection Sheffield has to its surrounding countryside.

We are yet to see the draft new Local Plan for the city, but we know two things: the City Council is trying hard to focus new development on brownfield sites; but there will be proposals for some major schemes in the Green Belt.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has been at the forefront of shaping and defending Sheffield’s Green Belt since the 1930s. Without the Green Belt, Sheffield would have sprawled many more miles along the river valleys and out into beautiful landscapes. It would also have been a less attractive and less healthy city, because the Green Belt brought the countryside into town and created ‘The Outdoor City’. 

Last year, CPRE published a ‘Blueprint for Sheffield’s Green Belt’, which set out our vision. Sheffield should only grow outwards if it is making the best of use of existing urban land, including remodelling run-down neighbourhoods and improving urban green space. Brownfield sites should be prioritised, so long as they are in the right places to help create good, sustainable places. And the Green Belt should only change if this will create truly exceptional outcomes for quality of life – not just more housing.

Meeting people’s need for a decent home is fundamental. Therefore an essential test of proposed Green Belt changes is whether they will genuinely address housing need. Nationally, we have just published a report that shows Local Plans across the country are set to release Green Belt land for around 460,000 homes, but only 22% of those will be affordable. This is a damaging double-whammy.

Perhaps the greatest threat Sheffield’s Green Belt faces is that many of the sites housebuilders are itching to develop are in affluent, high-demand areas, where they want to build large, expensive homes. Time and again we have seen developers wriggle out of their obligations to build affordable homes. As a result, expensive areas will become more expensive, as new homes fuel demand, while poorer areas that need investment will be left behind. This means there is a huge risk that Green Belt changes in Sheffield will worsen the already deep social inequalities in Sheffield.

We were delighted to see that Stocksbridge and Penistone MP, Angela Smith, raised exactly these issues in Parliament recently. Her constituency contains land and neighbourhoods that perfectly illustrate the challenge: brownfield sites in areas needing regeneration, and tracts of beautiful countryside that should be protected for everyone, not sold to the highest bidder for exclusive housing. We hope that Sheffield City Council, through the new Local Plan, will take a robust approach to meeting this challenge.

31st Jul 2018 Halt plans to fast track fracking

It should be up to local communities to decide whether or not to host fracking operations in their areas

New government proposals which are trying to force through fracking is being widely criticised. They would enable shale gas explorers to drill test sites in England without applying for planning permission and fracking sites could be classed as nationally significant infrastructure, meaning approval would come at a national rather than local level.

Daniel Carey-Dawes, Senior Infrastructure Campaigner at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: 

‘It’s as if the government doesn’t realise the scale of the opposition. If they press ahead with these proposals, the protests, outrage and anger from local people across the country will undoubtedly intensify.

‘These proposals would be a complete perversion of the planning system and trample over the rights of local communities - all to fast-track an industry bringing environmental risks that would massively outweigh any suggested ‘benefit’ to our energy security.’

Following the initial announcement of the proposals, CPRE launched a petition with 38 Degrees to demonstrate to the government the scale of opposition. The petition has received almost 150,000 signatures so far, reflecting the widespread discontent with fracking since the industry first targeted the English countryside for drilling.

Click here to sign the 38 Degrees petition.


Or visit the national CPRE website here for more info.


18th Jul 2018 We're looking for a new Honorary Treasurer

If you're passionate about the countryside and have a head for figures, we'd love to hear from you. 

For more information... visit the recruitment website here.

3rd Jul 2018 @ 13:50 Mark Cocker at AGM

Mark Cocker takes centre stage for a thought-provoking and entertaining star turn at our AGM.

Mark Cocker’s latest book "Our Place - Can We Save Britain’s Wildlife Before It Is Too Late?" is described by The Guardian as ‘a seriously great book, important and urgent’ in which he delivers ‘a blistering attack on the country’s collective failure to protect its landscape and wildlife’.

In the book, Mark criticises national environmental institutions for caring more about membership and landowners than the campaigns that initially spurred them into existence. But he is an Ambassador for the Friends, and promises a fascinating and provocative dialogue as guest speaker at our AGM.

Mark will be interviewed by writer and Guardian journalist, Ed Douglas, focusing on the history of conservation. Together they will discuss issues such as: Where did the green movement start and where did the ideas come from? What has happened to it and where is it going? Who created our cherished institutions like the National Trust and RSPB? 

They will address searching questions like: Who owns the land and why? Who benefits from green policies? Relating them to specific landscapes, including the Peak District, they will look at the important role of the mass trespass movement. 

They will also explore the great paradox that whilst British people love wildlife and the countryside more than almost any other nation, and it is known to be a fundamental part of our national identity, we have still spectacularly failed to protect it.

Mark promises to be as interesting and stimulating in person as he is in print. All are welcome to attend. 

Event details: Annual General Meeting
Date: Thursday 19th July at 7pm (AGM business will follow at 8.15pm)
Venue: The Maynard, Main Road, Grindleford, Derbyshire, S32 2HE
Tickets: Free to members. £5 to non-members (on the door). Anyone planning to attend is invited to email or call 0114 279 2655. Non-members are welcome to attend the AGM but will not be eligible to vote.

Download AGM papers

Mark Cocker: acclaimed writer, broadcaster, naturalist and environmental tutor. His latest book (described as radical, provocative and original), "Our Place - Can We Save Britain’s Wildlife Before It Is Too Late?" 

Ed Douglas is a writer and journalist with a passion for the wilder corners of the natural world. The current editor of the Alpine Journal, and a current Guardian columnist, Ed is an enthusiastic amateur climber and mountain traveller, with a particular interest in the Himalaya. His latest book, "KINDER SCOUT, The people's mountain" reveals the social, political, cultural and ecological developments that have shaped the physical and human landscape of this enigmatic and treasured hill.

State of Nature report: 
Of the 3,148 species studied in the report, 60% had declined in the past 50 years, 31% had declined badly and 600 were threatened with extinction. We lost 44m birds and 99% of wildflower meadows, half our ancient woodland, three-quarters of our heathland, and three-quarters of our ponds. 

26th Jun 2018 Stop plans to fast-track fracking!

The government has announced plans to speed up the planning process for fracking. Should these plans go ahead, it will be as easy to drill an exploration fracking well as it is to build a conservatory or erect a fence.

These proposals could lead to dozens of new wells being drilled across the English countryside over the next couple of years resulting in significant damage to the environment, landscape and climate.

While fracking-related drilling is currently forbidden within England’s National Parks, in 2015 the Government voted to allow shale gas extraction underneath the Parks. This is a serious threat to the beauty and character of National Parks in areas were fracking could take place, including the Peak District.

Click here to read and sign the petition calling on Westminster to reconsider plans to streamline the planning process for fracking. 

Read more on the Campaign for National Parks website...

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