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24th Apr 2019 How you can make a difference in the local elections

At CPRE, we are big believers in local democracy and in the importance of people and communities having an influence over the decisions that affect their lives. The upcoming local elections being held in England on Thursday 2 May are a great opportunity to have a say on matters affecting your area.

Voting will be taking place in 248 councils, including in Sheffield, electing over 8,500 councillors and six directly elected mayors, with almost every part of the country being affected in some way. This is the biggest local election in a number of years, and could see the political landscape at the local level shift significantly.

We have created this video to explain why it is so important that we get out and vote in these elections!

Click here to download the CPRE 2019 Local Election Manifesto.


3rd Apr 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’.

Our map (to be released here on Monday) 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

25th Mar 2019 Enough Brownfield land to build more than 1 million homes

At a time when we are still awaiting the Sheffield Local Plan, and its potential threat to green belt land, a new analysis of councils’ Brownfield Land Registers, published by CPRE, demonstrates the huge potential that building on derelict and vacant land has for the provision of new homes.
In order to provide enough housing in England for everyone who needs it, we must be creative within our finite land. By making use of suitable brownfield sites, the homes we need can be built in the places we need them, while our beautiful countryside is allowed to thrive.

Brownfield sites are also often close to where people already work and live, with infrastructure such as public transport, schools and shops already in place. CPRE has long campaigned for brownfield development to be brought to the top of the planning agenda. We urged the government to introduce regulations that make it compulsory for local planning authorities to publish a list of suitable brownfield sites, and estimates of their capacity for housing. These regulations came into force in April 2017, and we were finally able to definitively analyse the number of identified suitable brownfield sites for housing across the whole of England.

This report measures progress towards achieving the government's aim of ‘making full and efficient use of brownfield land’.

All the sites on the registers have been assessed by local planning authorities as being ‘suitable’ for housing development, having had regard to their environmental, amenity and heritage value.

The analysis highlights that there is space on suitable ‘brownfield land’ – land that has previously been built on, and now sits derelict or vacant – to accommodate more than one million new homes, two-thirds of which are ‘shovel ready’ and could make an immediate contribution to meeting housing need, as they have been confirmed as being deliverable within five years.

Prioritising this land, which councils have shown is ready and waiting to be redeveloped, would not only help to transform run-down areas, and provide more homes, but also prevent the unnecessary loss of precious countryside and green spaces for housing.

Rebecca Pullinger, planning campaigner at the Campaign to Protect Rural England said:

‘Building on brownfield land presents a fantastic opportunity to simultaneously remove local eyesores and breathe new life into areas crying out for regeneration. It will help to limit the amount of countryside lost to development, and build more homes in areas where people want to live, with infrastructure, amenities and services already in place'.

Many areas across England with high housing need also have a large amount of brownfield land ready for redevelopment. London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and Sheffield have identified land available for regeneration that would provide almost half a million homes.

In order to make best use of suitable brownfield land, CPRE is urging the government to introduce a genuine ‘brownfield first’ policy, which ensures that suitable previously developed or under-used land is prioritised for redevelopment over green spaces and countryside. Clearer definitions and guidelines must be given so that the registers act as a true pipeline, identifying all possible brownfield sites and recording their suitability for uses other than housing, including uses that protect the biodiversity or heritage value of sites where applicable.


1. CPRE, State of Brownfield 2019

2. Nb. All the sites on the registers have been assessed by local planning authorities as being ‘suitable’ for housing development, having had regard to their environmental, amenity and heritage value.

3. Key statistics in brownfield registers analysis:

Number of local authorities with a published register


Number of sites identified


Total area (hectares) identified


Minimum housing capacity identified


Minimum housing capacity of deliverable sites


4. Breakdown for new brownfield sites added in the past 12 months:

New sites added since February 2018


Total area (hectares) of new sites added since February 2018


Minimum housing capacity of new sites added since February 2018


*The total housing capacity of registers that have been reviewed in the past 12 months is 822,929 homes. This figure has been used in assessing the proportion of homes that are newly identified.

7th Mar 2019 New hope for Loxley Valley

A new initiative to find a future for the derelict Hepworth’s 'brickworks' site in the Loxley Valley has begun.

Sheffield City Council and the site’s new owners, Patrick Properties, are working with countryside charity CPRE to engage the local community in preparing planning proposals for the huge site, which has lain dormant since the 1990s.

The process began with a productive workshop at Langland’s Garden Centre in December 2018, with an invited audience of community groups, environmental groups, Parish councillors and local businesses. This will pave the way for further engagement and a full public consultation in early summer.

Hepworths vacated the site in the early 1990s, leaving a number of large factory buildings that are now unsafe having fallen into disrepair. However, there are some cottages still in use at the site, as well as a millpond, extensive woodlands, and a bowling club. Although the site is secure, antisocial behaviour has occurred on site in recent months, causing considerable concern and nuisance to the local residents. Bovis Homes drew up proposals for a scheme of 500 homes in 2005, but a planning application was never submitted.

Paul Martin, Managing Director of site owner Patrick Properties, said, “We are preparing a unique scheme which complements the surrounding countryside and makes use of a derelict brownfield site. We believe that we can do this with a smaller number of houses than was previously proposed. We are keen to have a good relationship with the community and create a great place to live, work and play. We’ve commissioned URBED, a planning and design consultancy with a great reputation, to prepare a scheme. The workshop was extremely helpful for us to identify the important issues we need to consider before we start work on the proposals.”

CPRE’s planning officer, Andrew Wood, said, “Everyone in Bradfield and the Loxley Valley cares about this site, and we want to see it come back to life in a positive way that’s good for the community and the environment. We see it as a unique site that needs a unique solution. We’re delighted that the Council and the landowner are opening up a genuine conversation about this.”

Participants at the workshop raised a wide range of issues, including the need to enhance the woodland character of the valley, manage flood risk, and ensure that new development can be accessed without putting additional strain on the road network. A report of the workshop will be published shortly, and open engagement with the public will begin in the coming months.

For more information, contact

19th Feb 2019 Government consults on deposit refund scheme

We're one step closer to getting a deposit system that could boost recycling for bottles and cans to more than 90%, as Defra consults on two options on how the system will operate.

We welcome the commitment to the scheme but hope the Government learns from past mistakes when consulting retailers and the packaging industry.

CPRE recently highlighted extracts from archived transcripts demonstrating that the decision by the House of Lords to reject a Beverage Container Bill in 1981. It shows that 26 trade associations lobbied the Government to reject a deposit system, on the grounds they would voluntarily take action to deal with the packaging they create. Almost forty years on, the polluted state of our countryside, streets and oceans proves that any effort they may have made has failed.

Last year, the packaging industry paid just £73 million towards the £1 billion clean-up costs of dealing with their products, while tax payers were left to foot the remaining 93% of the £1 billion.

So we urge you to respond to the consultation by midnight on Monday 13th May 2019.

Here’s how:

  • Online using the citizen space consultation hub at
  • By email to:
  • Or in writing to: Deposit Return Scheme Team, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Ground Floor, Seacole Block, 2 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 4DF

More information from CPRE here.

4th Feb 2019 New maps show more than a third of people can’t easily enjoy England’s most beautiful countryside

Countryside charity CPRE calls for better access to our celebrated landscapes 

England’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) are revered for their spectacular landscapes and contain the country’s most iconic countryside, which can boost our physical health and mental wellbeing. But CPRE has launched detailed maps that show 36% of England’s population live too far from the current network of 10 National Parks and 34 AONBs for these areas to be classified as easily accessible.
The maps show that the majority of people in many major towns and cities, including Liverpool, Chester, Leicester, Cambridge, Northampton and Peterborough, live outside the accessible catchment area to these beauty spots, and are more likely to miss out on benefits that easy and regular access to these landscapes can bring.
The maps also highlight a strong correlation between levels of social deprivation and a lack of access to National Parks and AONBs, with almost half of the most socially deprived areas of the country falling outside of the accessible range. CPRE fears that the frequent lack of affordable and sustainable transport options means that many people are not able to access these places to enjoy the huge benefits they provide. 
Visitors to National Parks overwhelmingly rely on private transport to reach them and get around, with 93% of journeys made by car. However, the majority of areas where less than half of all households own a car also fall outside of the accessible range of these landscapes. This leaves the majority of people who live furthest from England’s most beautiful countryside reliant on public transport to reach it.
However, affordable and frequent rail travel is not always possible to National Parks and AONBs, and almost always requires onward travel options, such as a reliable bus service. There are innovative schemes, such as the Dales Bus service in the Yorkshire Dales, but these are not universal.
Emma Marrington, senior rural policy campaigner at CPRE, said: ‘When the most beautiful parts of England’s countryside were given National Park status, or designated as AONBs, they were done so as a public good – so that everyone could enjoy the benefits that access to them can bring. But the mapping demonstrates that a huge amount of people are currently missing out.
‘Regular interaction with the natural world – fresh air, exercise, escaping the stresses and strains of urban living, just being in the great outdoors – is inextricably linked to increased levels of health and happiness. By increasing the provision of affordable and sustainable transport options to and around these places it would not only create a countryside for all, but also help to combat isolation among communities within National Parks and AONBs.’
An independent review of England’s National Parks and AONBs, led by journalist and writer Julian Glover, is currently being undertaken. CPRE hopes that the final report and recommendations from the review, due out this autumn, will consider how to enable greater access to these landscapes so that they can benefit even more people, improving their health and wellbeing, as well as instilling a love for these special places.
Landscapes Review of National Parks and AONBs lead and journalist, Julian Glover, said: ‘Seventy years ago parliament voted to protect our finest landscapes for everyone’s benefit. Now it is time to renew that mission. We need to preserve and enhance their beauty, help people who live in them and turn around the decline in the natural environment. We also need to make sure they can be understood and enjoyed by all parts of a changed society. These are big challenges and I hope the review I am leading will make progress towards meeting them.’ 
CPRE is calling for increased resources for outreach and engagement programmes to provide equal opportunities for access to National Parks and AONBs for everyone. 
The countryside charity would also like to see a network of accessible, stile-free paths that are wheelchair-friendly created in all National Parks and AONBs, as well as opportunities for all school children to visit and learn about National Parks and AONBs as part of the national curriculum.
1. Landscapes Review of National Parks and AONBs: CPRE mapping is available here on CPRE's website
CPRE’s mapping, created by LUC, investigates how accessible the current network of National Parks and AONBs are to people, both in overall proximity and within a 15 mile catchment area.
The research shows that 64% of England’s population lives within 15 miles of a protected landscape, leaving 36% of the population outside of the catchment. The results show that there are significant gaps - particularly the area between Leicester, Grantham, Stamford and Kettering - this area is the furthest distance from any protected landscape in England.
2. The maps were commissioned as evidence for an independent review of National Parks and AONB last year (the Glover review). 
3. The mapping considers which areas are within 15 miles of a Protected Landscape when travelling on the existing road network. The map shows which areas are well and less well served by National Parks or AONBs if you have access to a car or can get there by public transport. This highlights that there are large swathes of England that are outside of this zone.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) fights for a better future for the English countryside. We work locally and nationally to protect, shape and enhance a beautiful, thriving countryside for everyone to value and enjoy. Our members are united in their love for England’s landscapes and rural communities, and stand up for the countryside, so it can continue to sustain, enchant and inspire future generations. Founded in 1926, President: Emma Bridgewater, Patron: Her Majesty The Queen.

8th Jan 2019 New Environment Bill - draft clauses on environmental principles and governance now published

The Government claims that these draft clauses represent an essential step towards putting environmental ambition and accountability at the heart of government, and will address the biggest environmental priorities of our age: air quality; the protection and enhancement of our landscapes, wildlife and habitats; more efficient handling of resources and waste, and better management of surface, ground and waste water.
The Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, has said, “Our ambition is to be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than that in which we found it”.
Core elements published in the draft clauses include:
  • The environmental principles – such as the “polluter pays” - will help protect the environment from damage and will encourage decision-makers to further consider the environment in the development of government policy.
  • The establishment of a governance body – the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) – to uphold environmental legislation.
  • A commitment to making it a legal requirement for the government to have a plan for improving the environment.
Currently environmental decisions made in the UK – from improving air and water quality to protecting endangered species – are overseen by the European Commission, so the new Environment Bill will be critical to environmental protection post-Brexit.
Tom Fyans, director of campaigns and policy at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said:
‘While the proposed Office of Environmental Protection (OEP) has some useful legal powers, there are significant unanswered questions regarding its relationship with the planning system, when decisions are in breach of environmental law, and how it will engage with climate change – the greatest threat to the countryside. We are also seriously concerned that the OEP will lack the true independence required to hold the government to account.
‘We are pleased that the 25 Year Environment Plan will be placed on a statutory footing, with requirements to report to parliament on the government’s progress to improve the environment. But even here there is much more work required on the future environmental priorities – for example, examining how targets are set for improvements in air and water quality, soil health, and waste and resource use.’
More detail on all policy areas will be published in due course. 
Meanwhile: the press release issued by DEFRA can be seen here...

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.

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