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4th Dec 2019 We're looking for volunteers

Would you like to help with our National Lottery Heritage funded project to catalogue, conserve, interpret and digitise our archive? This charity has been in existence since 1924 and we’re planning to make our fascinating history accessible to the public.

CLICK HERE to find out more.


28th Nov 2019 School visits to the countryside could secure parent vote

With the climate emergency high on the general election agenda, a survey by CPRE, the countryside charity, has revealed that 96% of parents think it is important for children to experience green spaces first-hand and spend time in the natural world.

Findings reveal that political parties could harness ‘parent power’ to get them over the finishing line at the forthcoming general election by making it mandatory for every school child to visit the countryside, as part of the national curriculum.

The survey of 2,000 parents across England, carried out by OnePoll, and commissioned by CPRE, reveals that:

85% of parents in England think that every schoolchild should be able to experience the countryside first-hand as part of the national curriculum;

96% think it is important for children to spend time in the natural world, including the countryside (with 69% saying this is very important and 27% saying it is quite important)

The top five reasons cited by parents for why children should spend time in nature were:

  1. Boost physical health (74%)
  2. Learn more about nature and science (74%)
  3. Boost their mental health (70%)
  4. Experience the thrill of observing wildlife first-hand (65%)
  5. Understand why we should protect the countryside (64%)

Separate research by CPRE shows that 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.

CPRE has included improved access to green spaces for everyone in their 12 recommendations for how the next government can harness the potential of the countryside to promote a healthier economy and happier communities.

Children’s author and co-founder of Farms for City Children Michael Morpurgo, and business woman and environmentalist Emma Bridgewater have added their voices to this call to action. They would like to see the next government make sure that everyone, including every schoolchild, has access to national parks and Areas of Outstanding National Beauty (AONB).

Emma Bridgewater, President of CPRE, the countryside charity, said: 

“Younger people are leading the way in changing the way we treat our planet. Programmes like Blue Planet have done so much to raise awareness of the need to recycle and have succeeded in building awareness of the impact of climate change among children and young people.

But we all have a responsibility to continue to support children on their journey towards making our world truly sustainable. We have many amazing green spaces on our doorstep, which benefit everyone in so many ways – by improving their mental health, physical wellbeing through the ability to experience nature first-hand. What is needed is decisive action from the next government that will ensure all children can access these treasured areas and green landscapes.”

Crispin Truman, Chief Executive of CPRE, the countryside charity, said: “The climate emergency is high on the political agenda and yet the recently-published political party manifestos suggest that policy makers have failed to recognise how experiencing nature directly links with the desire and will to combat the climate emergency. The research also shows that parents see the countryside as good for children’s health and well-being.

“CPRE therefore urges the next government to introduce measures to improve access to the countryside for all, including the 30 million who have the Green Belt on their doorstep, so our green spaces can be a focal point for experiencing, learning about and investing in our environment.”

19th Nov 2019 Countryside-loving millennials will vote to save the countryside

Countryside-loving millennials could swing the General Election in favour of the political party that has policies most likely to protect and enhance the countryside. 
A new poll commissioned by CPRE, the countryside charity, reveals that:
  • Overall, 60% of people said they would be more likely to vote for a political party that wants to protect and enhance the countryside, including the Green Belt, and just 1% say they would be less likely
  • This percentage figure rises to 71% of people aged 25-34
  • Almost two-thirds (63%) of 35-44 year olds and 57% of 45-54 year olds said policies relating to the countryside would affect their decision in the polling booth
The research is published on the same day as CPRE’s countryside manifesto, which includes 12 recommendations for how the next government can harness the potential of the countryside to promote a healthier economy and happier communities.
Crispin Truman, Chief Executive of CPRE, the countryside charity, said:
“This research turns long-held assumptions on their heads with millennials and Londoners being most likely to vote with the countryside in mind. More and more young people are aware of the need to invest in their health and well-being, which is something that the countryside can deliver. 
The survey results show overwhelmingly that protecting and enhancing the countryside is an issue that resonates with people of all ages and in all regions. It shows that countryside issues could be one of the deciding factors in determining which political party forms the next government. 
CPRE therefore urges all political parties to put measures to protect and enhance our countryside front and centre of their manifestos to ensure that our treasured landscapes will be available for now and future generations to come.”
A breakdown of statistics by region can be downloaded here. A regional breakdown of statistics by age, gender and region is available on request.
The online survey of 2,000 English adults (who are parents) was commissioned by CPRE and conducted by market research company OnePoll, in accordance with the Market Research Society's code of conduct. Data was collected between 08/11/2019 and 13/11/2019. All participants are double-opted in to take part in research and are paid an amount depending on the length and complexity of the survey. This survey was overseen and edited by the OnePoll research team, who are members of the MRS and have corporate membership to ESOMAR.

5th Nov 2019 The end of fracking?

We are delighted that the threat of fracking to our countryside, climate and communities now appears to be averted, with the Government's recent decision to issue no further fracking licences. This would not have happened without the brave and sustained campaigns led by local communities, notably at Harthill and Woodsetts in Rotherham and Marsh Lane, near Eckington. We were proud to have shared our planning expertise with them, fought shoulder to shoulder alongside them at three public inquiries and to have worked regionally and nationally with Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, 38degrees, and others to oppose this insidious new form of fossil fuel.

But more clarity is needed as to what the 'ban' means in reality. For example, INEOS have permission to drill at Harthill and Marsh Lane. Can they still carry out these damaging developments, as they would not involve any high volume fracking, just 'exploration'? The fracking industry trade body, UKOOG, stated on BBC Look North that 'all current and planned sites are on hold'. Until this is confirmed by INEOS and other operators, we must remain vigilant. 

Meanwhile, we are clear that, to avert the worst impacts of climate change on our local countryside, fracking has no role in our low carbon future.




  • Government ends support for fracking in the UK on the basis of new scientific analysis
  • Oil and Gas Authority report published today concludes that it is not possible with current technology to accurately predict the probability of tremors associated with fracking
  • Separate proposals to change the planning process for fracking sites will no longer be taken forward at this time

Fracking will not be allowed to proceed in the UK, the Government has announced today, following the publication of new scientific analysis.

Ministers took the decision on the basis of a report by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), which found that it is not currently possible to accurately predict the probability or magnitude of earthquakes linked to fracking operations.

Fracking already takes place across the world including in the US, Canada and Argentina. However, exploratory work to determine whether shale could be a new domestic energy source in the UK, delivering benefits for our economy and energy security, has now been paused - unless and until further evidence is provided that it can be carried out safely here.

Ministers have always been clear that the exploration of the UK’s shale gas reserves could only proceed if the science shows that it is safe, sustainable and of minimal disturbance to those living and working nearby. For that reason, Government introduced tight planning controls through the Infrastructure Act 2015 and set strict limits on seismicity, in consultation with industry.

On the basis of the disturbance caused to residents living near Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site in Lancashire and this latest scientific analysis, the Government has announced a moratorium on fracking until compelling new evidence is provided.

The Government also confirmed today that it will not be taking forward proposed planning reforms for shale gas developments at this time. These proposals were consulted on in 2018 but will not be implemented now. 

Business and Energy Secretary Andrea Leadsom said: “Whilst acknowledging the huge potential of UK shale gas to provide a bridge to a zero carbon future, I’ve also always been clear that shale gas exploration in the UK must be carried out safely. In the UK, we have been led by the best available scientific evidence, and closely regulated by the Oil and Gas Authority, one of the best regulators in the world.

“After reviewing the OGA’s report into recent seismic activity at Preston New Road, it is clear that we cannot rule out future unacceptable impacts on the local community.

“For this reason, I have concluded that we should put a moratorium on fracking in England with immediate effect.”

Other sources of natural gas will continue to contribute to the UK’s diverse energy mix. The Committee on Climate Change has previously said that there will still be a requirement for natural gas in a 2050 net zero economy.

Maintaining diverse gas supplies, for use during the transition as the UK renewable sector grows – or for the production of hydrogen – remains a priority for this Government. 

Business, Energy and Clean Growth Minister Kwasi Kwarteng said: “The Committee on Climate Change’s advice is clear that natural gas will continue to have a key role to play as we eliminate our contribution to climate change by 2050, including for the production of hydrogen. However, following our action today, that gas will need to come from sources other than domestic fracking.

“Today’s decision will not in any way impact our energy supply. The UK benefits from one of the most active gas markets in the world, with security ensured through diverse sources - including domestic offshore production, pipelines from Europe and liquid natural gas terminals.”

The Traffic Light System was introduced in 2012 as an evidence-based method of regulating seismicity caused by shale gas exploration. It has operated at Preston New Road, allowing the OGA to swiftly put a halt to activity when required – including after several significant events this summer.

Oil and Gas Authority Director of Regulation Tom Wheeler said: “Since the OGA suspended hydraulic fracturing at Preston New Road we have been considering whether the operator’s plans are still appropriate to manage the risk of induced seismicity. The OGA’s considerations have been informed both by the seismic events and by independent scientific analysis of data from the first Preston New Road well. 

“Based on these, the OGA believes that further detailed geomechanical analysis would be needed before we could evaluate with confidence whether hydraulic fracturing could resume in the Fylde, or elsewhere, consistent with the Government’s policy aims.”

1st Nov 2019 We're looking for a research and interpretation co-ordinator...

… for our archive project, funded by the National Lottery Heritage fund.

We’re offering £9,000 for 30 days work for the duration of the project (November 2019 to November 2020).

Working with the project archivist and a team of volunteers, the successful applicant will research the archive collection to discover stories of campaigns and campaigners from the charity’s history.

CLICK HERE for more details.

TO APPLY: please apply by email to by 12noon on Tuesday 12th November, explaining your suitability for the role and any relevant experience. Interviews will be held on Thursday 21st November.

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.

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