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CPRE East of England


Robin Burkitt Alison Greenwood Straw bales in Norfolk



This page contains a selection of publications and archives

The October 2017 East of England Regional Report.  For more information and a round-up of news on planning, transport, environmental and infrastructure issues please  click here  

The June 2016 East of England Regional Report Please click here.

The January 2016 East of England Regional Report. Please click here.

The October 2015 East of England Regional Report.  please click her

The June CPRE 2015 East of England Regional Report.  please click here

The January 2015 CPRE East of England Regional Report. please click here

The September  CPRE East of England Regional Report.  For more information and a round-up of news on planning, transport, environmental and infrastructure issues please click here

The June 2014 CPRE East of England Regional Report.  For more information and a round-up of news on planning, transport, environmental and infrastructure issues please click here

The February  2014 CPRE East of England Regional Report.  For more information and a round-up of news on planning, transport, environmental and infrastructure issues please click here

The September 2013 CPRE East of England Regional Report.  For more information and a round-up of news on planning, transport, environmental and infrastructure issues please click here

The June 2013 East of England Regional Report   click here


CPRE’s Save Our Countryside Charter

England’s countryside is precious, irreplaceable and finite – a beautiful national asset for us all. Yet more and more of our green fields are being destroyed by haphazard and badly planned developments. Too often these are imposed on local communities who are increasingly powerless to stand up for the places they love.  We must stand together to safeguard our countryside: for nature, for the food it provides, and for its beauty and the freedom it offers.  We want a robust and fair planning system that can secure this, while providing the development our country needs.

New Chairman for the East of England Regional GroupMichael Monk

From 15th September we welcome Michael Monk as Chairman of the East of England Regional Group.  Michael has been involved with CPRE for a number of years, both as Chairman of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough branch and in a number of roles with national CPRE, including Policy Committee and as a Vice-Chairman of the County Branches Forum. 

Michael says: “I consider that the region should help to support branches and act as a link between CPRE National Office and the branches.  My background in strategic planning also makes me aware of how inter-dependent and inter-active spatial areas are and yet can also be very different. I am keen to learn about the key issues and challenges facing our branch areas; although I have attended meetings of the regional group since 2011, I am aware of big gaps in my understanding!”.  

We would also like to thank our outgoing Chairman, Greg Peck, for his hard work and support over the last six years.

Along with CPRE East Midlands Region, we were delighted to host the event “90 Years of CPRE: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”, on 6th July in Peterborough.

Over 60 members, volunteers and staff from fourteen branches in the East of England and East Midlands regions (and even further afield!) came together to celebrate 90 years of CPRE and our achievements. The day included presentations from Dame Fiona Reynolds DBE, who spoke about the arguments in her book, The Fight for Beauty, and Oliver Hilliam, CPRE Senior Communications and Information Officer, and co-author of 22 ideas that saved the English Countryside.  Dame Fiona also cut our delicious celebratory cake.  We did not forget the future of CPRE, and a range of workshops including campaigning, planning, branch development and communications enabled delegates to learn from each and share experiences and advice. There were plenty of opportunities to meet people from other CPRE branches, staff from CPRE National office, and representatives from other organisations.  We were also pleased to be able to acknowledge the huge contribution made over the years by two regional volunteers – Barry Porter, was presented with a Lifetime Achievement award, and Michael Brooks, presented with a 20-year long service award.  Greg Peck, Chairman of CPRE East of England, said: “This has been a great opportunity to meet people from across CPRE, and to celebrate our achievements and the positive impact CPRE has had on our countryside.”

Fiona and Cake Fiona closeup
Dame Fiona Reynolds cuts the celebration cake Dame Fiona Reynolds addresses delegates
CPRE’s Oliver Hilliam  


Eye, Suffolk: Gas-fired power station.  Outcome and lessons – from CPRE Suffolk Chairman Andrew Fane.  Click here to read more

Give Peace a Chance

New research from the Campaign to Protect Rural England, published today, shows that better data collection and a new indicator of tranquillity are needed to increase protection for England’s most peaceful areas.  To see the report click here

We’ve also launched our 2007 tranquillity maps in an interactive format – click here

The Value of the Natural Environment Conference

On the 17th March we were please to support Natural England in hosting a conference to explore the value of the natural environment in creating a foundation for economic growth and our health and wellbeing.

The event explored the value of the natural environment and distinctive landscapes in supporting economic development and health and wellbeing for Suffolk, Norfolk and the East of England as a whole. It also considered the challenges we face for nature to be truly recognised as the keystone of a prosperous economy and healthy society.

Presentations from our speakers can be found here:

Richard Carter Adnams

Caroline Angus     SCC Health and Wellbeing

Nick Collinson     Suffolk's Nature Strategy

Andrew Day     Countryside properties

Pat Holtom   Waveney Valley

Paul Morling     RSPB Local Economies

Richard Powell  Investing in our natural capital.

Pete Waters    Visit East Anglia

CPRE has launched a Transport Toolkit website which provides practical ideas on helping communities improve walking, cycling, car sharing or public transport where they live. No matter what your ambitions, there are ideas from small to big.  Find out more at http://www.transporttoolkit.org.uk/.

CPRE East Midlands and East of England invite you to

90 Years of CPRE: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Wednesday 6 July 2016, 10am – 4pm, The Fleet, Peterborough

Members and volunteers of branches in the East of England and East Midlands regions are invited to join us to celebrate 90 years of CPRE, our achievements, and how we go forward.  This event will enable us to share information, learn from each other, get to know each other and find out more about CPRE, how we work and our priorities.  The day will include presentations from keynote speaker Dame Fiona Reynolds DBE and Oliver Hilliam, CPRE Senior Communications and Information Officer, and co-author of “22 ideas that saved the English Countryside”.  There will also be a choice of workshops: Raising your branch’s profile; Balanced Communications: Strategic Techniques to Improve Your Organisation and its Reputation; Planning in the Future: Does CPRE still have a voice?; Effective Campaigning – what makes a successful campaign?

There will be plenty of opportunities to meet members and volunteers from other CPRE branches and staff from CPRE National office, and representatives from other organisations.  A programme will be available shortly.  There is no charge for attending and lunch and refreshments are included. There is ample, free on-site parking and transport will be provided from Peterborough station to the venue free of charge.  To register your interest or to book a place, please contact Tracey Hipson at office@cprecambs, tel: 01480 396698.  Places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Stand up for the countryside:

A manifesto for the 2015 General Election

CPRE’s manifesto sets out our priorities for the next Government under three themes:

·       the right housing in the right places

·       the right infrastructure for the right reasons

·       a beautiful countryside to sustain us all

For more information, click here

Waste of Space

More housing is needed in England and CPRE supports the Government’s policy that brownfield land should be used for new homes.

However current planning policy doesn’t prioritise building new homes on brownfield land before building in the countryside. More needs to be done to use suitable sites in our towns and cities rather than forcing development into our precious green spaces.  To help us find out how much brownfield land is available and where it is, CPRE has launched the #WasteOfSpace campaign to raise awareness of the ‘brownfield first’ solution.

waste of space

Please help us by nominating brownfield sites in your area that could be suitable for housing development in the future.  For more information please go to http://www.cpre.org.uk/how-you-can-help/take-action/waste-of-space

On Tuesday 9th April, CPRE East of England hosted a workshop introducing and exploring Natural England’s National Character Area (NCA) profiles.  This successful event included presentations and a practical session for delegates to explore how their organisation could use the profiles.

NCAs divide England into 159 distinct character areas, of which 16 are in the East of England. The profiles include a description of the key characteristic of the area, how the landscape has changed over time, the key ecosystem services provided in each character area and how these benefit people, wildlife and the economy as well as supporting key facts and data. They identify potential opportunities for positive environmental change and provide the best available information and evidence as a context for local decision making and action.

More information about NCAs and Natural England can be found at: http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/publications/nca/default.aspx.

In November last year, CPRE published maps showing, in detail and across the whole of England, how likely the local surroundings are to make a visitor feel tranquil (see home page for this regions map)

On Friday 18 May, the House of Commons is due to consider the Rural Bill sponsored by John Penrose, Conservative MP for Weston-super-Mare, and backed by MPs from all the major political parties.  Mr Penrose is calling on the Government to measure systematically and secure it for future generations.

MPs have also been signing a House of Commons Early Day Motion (number 1107)  backing the Rural Bill, and calling for Government action.  So far, 75 MPs have signed this motion which states;

That this House recognises the significance of and its importance to quality of life; is concerned that many areas are under severe pressure from encroaching greenfield development, light pollution and road and air traffic; acknowledges the importance of urban parks and suburban gardens as pockets of relative in urban environments; praises the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) for creating and developing a quantified, evidenced and robust way of measuring across the country; welcomes the measures proposed, with cross-party support, in the Rural Bill; and calls upon the Government to measure through a system similar to the one the CPRE has developed, publish the results annually, and amend planning policy to protect, preserve and enhance in future

Light Pollution

The Milky Way - blotted out for more than half of the UK population by light pollution

Photo: CfDS image library

Darkness at night is one of the things that defines the countryside and makes it so different from towns and cities.  But that darkness is disappearing, and with it our view of the stars and planets.

It's disappearing because we carelessly and wastefully beam outdoor light upwards into the sky. Collectively, these lights stop us from being able to see the night sky, with all its majesty and mystery. Instead, we see only a pinky orange glow, which only a few dozen of the brightest stars can penetrate. This glow spreads for miles outside towns and cities, making it much harder - or even impossible - to see the sight of thousands of stars and our own galaxy, the Milky Way. 

This light pollution is getting worse. Satellite data we've obtained from US Air Force weather satellites shows that light pollution is spreading into new areas of countryside and increasing in the areas where it was before.

Our new light pollution maps
Data has been used to create
maps which show how much light pollution there is in your area.


The Coalition Government have embarked upon a series of radical changes – arguably none greater than the virtual dismantling of the national planning regime laboriously set up by the Blair/Brown administration.

It seems certain that these changes will have a huge impact on the planning system. Foremost is a commitment that decisions should as far as possible be taken at a local level. Nevertheless we must be vigilant that protection of our precious countryside remains a top priority.

Click here to find out more about these changes 


Bill Bryson, President of CPRE, interviews Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg on the crisis facing our countryside:


The Conservative Party published their long awaited green paper on planning on February 22 claiming that the system is “broken”. The policy champions local involvement in planning but retains a strong centrally imposed national planning regime including a new Major Infrastructure Unit continuing the role of the Infrastructure Planning Commission.

The green paper has a strong presumption in favour of development, restrictions on appeals, and a regime of tariffs and compensation to smooth the path of development. It also proposes abolition of regional planning - including Regional Spatial Strategies - as well as national and regional building targets. http://www.cpre.org.uk/news/view/655

The East of England Plan (covering the six counties of East Anglia) is being reviewed to provide a regional strategy to 2031

It is an extremely important document and will have a major impact on the east of England on issues ranging from housing to transport and from water to waste. CPRE have been involved from the start to try to ensure that the landscape and environment is protected and that development is carried out in as sensitive a manner as possible. 
read more


Noise and light pollution is a growing problem in this country and a serious threat to tranquillity. CPRE have investigated the issues and reveal worrying trends.

 see Tranquillity



28th April 2010


CPRE East of England submitted a detailed response to the East of England Regional Assembly (EERA) consultation on the review of the East of England Plan (see our response here).

The review of the East of England plan will consider the needs of the region up to 2031. Due to be completed by 2011, it  will look again at jobs and housing targets, and where growth might be located, including the possible need for new settlements, as well as the infrastructure required.

CPRE Branches will be drawing your attention to any key issues for your area as they arise and the current timetable is shown below. For further information go to:


2 September –

24 November 2009

Public Consultation – EERA sought responses to four scenarios for housing and economic growth


Winter 2009/10

Analysis of public consultation responses and development of draft policy including jobs and homes targets to 2031





EERA publishes draft East of England Plan. Approved by EERA and submitted to Secretary of State



Responsibility for draft East of England Plan transferred to the new Regional Strategy Board (comprising local authority leaders and East of England Development Agency) following EERA dissolution



Public consultation – Draft East of England Plan > 2031



Independent planning inspectors conduct an Examination in Public of Draft East of England Plan > 2031


2011 onwards



Government publishes East of England Plan > 2031 which will provide the framework for development of local plans up to 2031.

31st December 2009

Please note CPRE nationally has submitted a full response. The regional response deals only with issues related to the region. Branches affected by proposals (Norfolk and Essex have also responded.

East of England Plan review 2013.

A review of the  East of England plan has begun although only published this year already it needs revising to take the plan for the region up to 2031. Due to be completed by 2011, it  will look again at; jobs and housing targets; where growth might be located including the possible need for new settlements; as well as the infrastructure required. A public consultation on issues is expected for spring 2009, this will be followed by a further opportunity to have your say on the actual draft in January 2010, this will be followed by the Examination in Public.

CPRE Branches will be drawing your attention to any key issues for your area as they arise and the timetable is here

27 July 2011

Planning system overhaul "damage" is feared

See this item is  from the BBC news website.


For more information and CPRE's view, go to www.cpre.org.uk/magazine/opinion/item/2369-planning-system-under-attack"

25 May 2011

Housing lottery – Local authorities play fast and loose with our countryside

Countryside campaigners are warning that many local authorities in the East of England are continuing to push forward plans for green-field housing. This is in spite of the Coalition removing the last Government’s shackles of regional housing numbers.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) East of England is demanding to know why many local authorities continue to allocate land for housing based on top-down imposed targets - numbers they are no longer obliged to stick to – that can only be met by ever more of our tranquil countryside being covered in concrete and tarmac.

Jeremy Hill, CPRE Regional Director, said: “It is clear that the straight-jacket of regional housing numbers simply was not sustainable. Now that it is up to local authorities to determine housing need in their area, we are relieved that many local authorities are choosing to look again to see how much housing is needed in their area and how this can be accommodated sustainably.

“Many local authorities have taken the only sensible decision – to reduce their housing numbers to a more realistic and sustainable level. Sadly others have decided to plough on with housing numbers that can only be met by destroying our countryside.” 

CPRE is calling on all local authorities to reconsider their housing numbers and to focus on regeneration and building on brown-field sites first; and only as a last as a last resort building on green-fields.

Letter published in The Economist 2 April 2011


Regarding Britain, you suggested focusing on education in poorer parts of the country, but your real remedy for regional inequalities seemed to be  mass migration to the already heavily built-up south-east region.   Your call for an easing of planning restrictions in the south-east is a familiar refrain, much as politicians lambast civil servants or tabloids ridicule health and safety laws.  It ignores both the capacity of a given area to accommodate population sustainably and the very great success of the planning system in ensuring that people wish to live in all parts of the country.  Surely more thoughtful ways can be devised to help depressed areas than simply turning off the lights and shutting the door.

Press Release

18 JANUARY 2011


Countryside campaigners are asking the National Grid to hold fire on its announcement on overhead power lines in the heart of Suffolk and Essex.  The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) in the eastern region says it’s crucial that the expert advice of engineers and energy consultants is taken into account before a decision is made.  Also, the Government consultation on new 400,000 volt electricity lines and pylons is due to end on Monday (24 January) but reports from the Institution of Engineering and the leading energy consultants KEMA on the cost and environmental impact of these high voltage cables will not be published until later this year.  The line is needed to connect new generators to the region’s electricity transmission system. 

“Only two months ago, the Energy Minister Charles Hendry welcomed these expert reports which he said would give a clearer picture of the relative costs and impacts of high voltage overhead lines compared with undergrounding," said CPRE’s Regional Director, Jeremy Hill, “So it takes a little understanding why the consultation period should end before they’re even published.  Changes to the planning system will weaken the guidelines for when and where these highly intrusive lines should be placed underground,” He continued.  “It’s crucial that any decision is fully informed.”

CPRE is calling on the Government to put back the end of its consultation period so the report can help make the Government, National Grid and all those involved, aware of the full facts.  By the same token, the campaigners are also asking the National Grid to delay its announcement of its preferred route for the new high power lines.

Thursday 24 June 2010

Affordable housing numbers up but success could be at risk from budget cuts, say rural campaigners

A recent report by the Homes and Communities Agency confirms that the East of England has seen a 20 percent increase on last year’s total number of housing completions funded via the National Affordable Housing Programme. Jeremy Hill, Regional Policy Officer for the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) in the East of England, said:

“CPRE has long been an advocate for well planed and situated development and the increase in affordable housing in the East of England is to be applauded. However, there is still a desperate shortage of affordable housing in the region – an area with some of the most expensive housing in the whole country. The average house price in the region in 2008 was Ł225,967 – still nearly 11 times average regional income. [1] 

“There remains a huge demand for affordable homes, particularly in rural areas. In these times of austerity and budget cuts CPRE is urging the government to remember this need and to keep funding rural affordable housing. Without this much needed funding, the cost of living in the East of England may prove too high for those who grow up here and want to remain in the countryside they love.”

Note to Editors:

  1. National Housing Federation Home Truths 2009 East of England – average regional income based on home address

Thursday 20 May 2010


In launching its plan for a ‘Big Society’ the new coalition government has confirmed that it will abolish Regional Spatial Strategies (essentially regional planning) and will return decision-making powers on housing and planning to local councils.

Jeremy Hill, Regional Policy Officer for the Campaign to Protect Rural England in the East of England, said:

“Over the last 10 years we have seen central government impose enormous targets for new homes to be built in the East of England – often overriding views of the people who live here and with seemingly limited regard for the environment. We welcome the new government’s commitment to abolish Regional Spatial Strategies and with it centrally imposed and undemocratic targets for house-building in the East of England.

At this stage it remains unclear what the new government intends to put in its place. The jury will be out until we see what they come up with but we do believe there is a need for strategic planning across local-authority boundaries to help coordinate – but not impose – development, infrastructure and services.

6 April 2010


The East of England’s new policy officer for the Campaign to Protect Rural England hit the ground running today by calling on all prospective candidates to sign up the CPRE's countryside manifesto.

Jeremy Hill, who has worked in property and as a city solicitor, highlighted the many threats being faced by the countryside:

I feel passionately about our beautiful countryside in the East of England. I am also very aware of the many threats it faces, from urban sprawl to pollution and climate change, and how we must rise to meet these challenges. Whoever wins the election must not be allowed to forget just how important our countryside is. That’s why all candidates should sign up to our Countryside Manifesto.”

The manifesto calls for government to

For more information or to arrange interviews:

Contact: Jeremy Hill, CPRE East of England: 01480 396697 or 07767 893358 

16 January 2009


Countryside campaigners say the new settlements in a study for the East of England Regional Assembly are unnecessary and would cause irreversible damage to the environment.  The new settlements study commissioned by EERA recommends major growth in Cambridge, Norwich and Chelmsford; more limited growth in Ipswich, Colchester and Bury St Edmunds plus up to six new settlements to meet Government targets for more than three quarters of a million new homes in the East of England by 2031.  

The Campaign to Protect Rural England says the region is pushing for unnecessary growth which would have a far-reaching and extremely damaging impact on the quality of life for those who live and work in the region.  CPRE’s regional planning advisor, Sean Traverse-Healy said the location of some of the settlements suggests the region is to be used as a giant dormitory for London commuters.  “If this is indeed the case, what are the benefits to the region?” he asked.  “If development is needed, it’s not just a question of coming up with a big number. It must meet the needs of people in the region, not just respond to an artificial Government-imposed target.”  

Mr Traverse-Healy says any new settlements will need services such as new roads, water, schools, hospitals, all of which will contribute to even greater loss and damage to the countryside. “Piling further growth on existing growth rates cannot be sustained without having an adverse impact on quality of life in the region. The report’s recommendations would lead to more pollution, more noise and more congestion.  The consequences are frightening and unnecessary,” said Mr Traverse-Healy.

For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact: Sean Traverse-Healy: Tel: 01763 853843, Mob: 07957 189558, or Ali Sargent, Tel: 01799 531599, Mob: 07776 255193


Archived material

Briefing on Proposed Changes to the East of England Plan

Key issues:

The Government did not agree with the Panels recommendations on Harlow North despite very cogent arguments. The water utilities made a very strong case that waste water was the big issue (still seen as a priority in the Sustainability Appraisal  Report (SA). CPRE EE  argued that, what amounts to a new settlement on the doorstep would inhibit Harlow regeneration, but the Government line is that it will depend on how it is integrated with the existing settlement  

The housing target has gone up by 2,500 bringing the total to 508,000 this is due to the addition of the north Harlow. Watford has also been added as a Key Centre for Development and change, Watford did not figure in the original plan being already the largest settlement in Hertford, no extra housing has been allocated. Hertford is taking a very big hit overall. The target for affordable housing remains unchanged and the detail has been left as the Panel suggested to the Local Development Frameworks (LDFs)  to determine. A further real concern is the issue that the targets are a minimum, this will have implications for LDFs and developers will be able to use this to push for more housing 

Of concern is the Greenbelt and the issue of reviews, a major cause for concern is the time frame issue. The Government is suggesting that reviews must look to provide land up to and beyond 2031 this means that the reviews will be seeking far more land than that which would have been sought by the original plan. The issue of compensatory green belt is then given much more emphasis but appears to be limited by the Plan to certain areas.  

January 2007 


Archived material including

Environment worries delay plan

Choice if we want it, superstores if we don't

Huge household projections are a massive environmental challenge

Stern Report press release 12 December 2006

Key points from the Strategic Environmental Assessment of Regional Spatial Strategy 14  see briefing

CPRE Response to the Sustainability Appraisal/Strategic Environmental Assessment Report for the East of England Plan.

Regional Economic Strategy

Examination in Public of the East of England Plan.

Summary of the Panel Report from the Examination in Public of the East of England Plan Aug 06

The weekly briefings on public hearing has a special page, click on this link.

Affordable Rural Housing Seminar 8th July 2005

Seminar Report  -  PDF File click here

19th June 2007


Countryside campaigners have welcomed the news that the publication of the East of England Plan will be delayed to give the Government time to assess the impact of half a million new homes on protected European conservation sites.   Throughout the consultation stages, CPRE East of England has been concerned about the level of development proposed by the Draft Plan to 2021.  The figure, originally 478,000 dwellings, was increased to 508,000 by the Secretary of State Ruth Kelly in the proposed modifications to the Plan. 

“This level of housing and economic development, plus all the associated infrastructure, will significantly impact on our countryside and on the quality of life for the people of the East of England,” said Sean Traverse-Healy, CPRE’s East of England Planning spokesman. 

“At least the European Habitats Directive will give pause for thought.  We await with interest and optimism to see if the concerns raised by Natural England and the East of England Regional Assembly (EERA) have brought about significant changes in policy. However, the delay and any policy changes may have an impact on the preparation of the local plans (Local Development Frameworks)”. 


For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Sean Traverse-Healy: Tel: 01763 853843.   Mob: 07957189558

Background info:

Letter from Government Office

The Government Office for the East of England is today announcing that it is commissioning further work to assess the East of England Plan (Draft Alterations to the Regional Spatial Strategy for the East of England) against the requirements of the European Habitats Directive.  This decision is in response to the points put to us in representations on the original Habitats Directive assessment work from the Regional Assembly, Natural England and others, and which we consider need to be considered before we can finalise the Plan.

By having this further work carried out, and considering the need for changes to the Plan that may flow from it, we aim to ensure that the final Plan will be fully compliant with the Directive.

As you will realise, this course of action has implications for the timetable for publication of the East of England Plan.  The consultants we are appointing will need time to complete their work to the necessary standard, and we may then wish to consult further.  All of this means that the final Plan will not now be published before the autumn at the earliest.

This should not hold up putting in place higher levels of sustainable growth within the region, nor should it delay progress on Development Plan Documents.  In March Local Authorities submitted finalised programmes for producing Development Plan Documents to us.  We will expect them to keep to those programmes notwithstanding these developments in relation to the RSS timetable.

 I appreciate that this extended timetable may be frustrating for all concerned.  However, you will appreciate that, in the particular area of the application of the Habitats Directive to Regional SpatiaI Strategies, we have been operating in uncharted waters, without specific precedent in UK law or practice, and without the benefit of previously tested methodology.  This is an area that is inherently difficult, given that the Habitats Directive is designed to protect specific habitats, whereas a Regional Spatial Strategy is a high-level document that does not specify development at particular sites.

 We found ourselves in a position where, given the stage in the process at which it became clear that the Habitats Directive applies to Regional Spatial Strategies, it was too late for the Regional Assembly to develop the assessment, which would be the normal approach.  It therefore fell to the Government Office to pick it up very late in the process.  All of this makes it important that we take the time now to ensure we follow the correct processes, reflecting best practice.

 I presume you will inform the local authorities in the region. I am copying this letter to colleagues in the East of England Development Agency, Environment Agency, and Natural England, and simultaneously putting a notice about the new timetable on our Government Office website with a link to this letter.

Yours sincerely

Alex Plant

Deputy Regional Director, Development and Infrastructure

 12 December

The Stern Report - Word document

June 26 2006

Press release issued on behalf of CPRE and the Plunkett Foundation

PR24/06  19.06.06



There is a stark choice: more superstores...or more local food, shops and jobs linking people with the places and landscapes where they live, a powerful new report launched today (Monday) shows.

The Real Choice report [1] published by CPRE [2] and Plunkett Foundation [3] is based on surveys by Caroline Cranbrook [4] over eight years monitoring a broad area of towns and villages in East Suffolk.  It reveals that local foods are flourishing and growing since a planned superstore was turned down.


Six leading chefs, commentators and celebrities from the worlds of food and farming - Richard Benson, Raymond Blanc, Jimmy Doherty, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Prue Leith and Gordon Ramsay - have endorsed this report [5]. Barry Gardiner MP, Minister for Biodiversity, Landscape and Rural Affairs has written the Foreword.

The benefits have been huge:

·                    small stores prospering with more farm shops and markets;

·                    more businesses adding value and offering choice;

·                    more food people can trace and trust;

·                    local food tourism taking off;

·                    local countryside well-managed and serving the community;

·                    local stores keeping towns and villages alive and people in touch with each other.


The latest survey found the number of local and regional food suppliers in the area had risen from 300 to 370 with a wider range of local products being sold. The overall number of shops had stayed constant at 81 - bucking the national trend of decline - and the local market towns had retained their butchers, bakers, fish shops and fresh vegetable outlets. Numbers of farm shops and farmers' markets had grown.

 It has happened in Suffolk: it can happen elsewhere.  To achieve this CPRE and Plunkett are calling for change including:

 ·                    strategies and policies at national level to recognise the public benefits of local food networks and to reflect their interests;

·                    each local authority to have stronger planning policies and a retail strategy in place to protect the local business community and stipulate local sourcing;

·                    firm action from the Competition Commission to stem the supermarket spread into convenience stores and prevent further distortion of the food retail market;

·                    supermarket chains to stock more local foods and promote them, and to give more flexibility to their outlets to use local supply systems;

·                    support from Government and supermarkets for much clearer food labelling so shoppers know where their food is from and can make informed choices.


The East Suffolk experience of a thriving local food network should inspire action across the country. On current trends, the supermarket onslaught is set to wipe out most independent shops and the local food economies they support.  But it doesn't have to be like this. 

 Tom Oliver, CPRE's Head of Rural Policy said:

'If we want the opportunity to choose, we have to plan and take action consistent with what we want.  This report is backed by eight years of real evidence.  It is a striking success story for local foods.   It shows that there is a viable alternative to being spoon-fed by the supermarkets.

'There is a real choice facing local, regional and national Government: to support a future for local food suppliers, independent stores, their communities and landscapes.  If we want, they can thrive alongside national and global businesses.  Or we can do nothing and watch them die.'



1.  Copies of The Real Choice: How local foods can survive the supermarket onslaught by Caroline Cranbrook and CPRE are available to the press from the press office (020 7981 2880) as hard copies or pdf files, and to the public from CPRE Publications (020 7981 2866 or publications@cpre.org.uk) price Ł5.00.  Copies will also be available to download from our website - www.cpre.org.uk - from Monday 26 June.

2.  CPRE, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, is a charity which promotes the beauty, and diversity of rural England. We advocate positive solutions for the long-term future of the countryside. Founded in 1926, we have 60,000 supporters and a branch in every county. President: Sir Max Hastings. Patron: Her Majesty The Queen.


3.  The Plunkett Foundation (www.plunkett.co.uk) improves the livelihoods of people in rural areas through co-operative and social enterprise.  It works both nationally and internationally with partners from the public and private sectors to promote and implement enterprise-based self-help approaches to rural problems.  The Village Retail Services Association (ViRSA) is an activity of the Plunkett Foundation which promotes and supports the development of community-owned shops as a sustainable solution to the maintenance of essential services in rural communities.  ViRSA and CPRE are working together to establish shopwatch, an early warning system which alerts the two organisations to villages which are threatened with the loss of their last village shop.


4.  The Cranbrook family have lived and farmed in East Suffolk since 1912.  Caroline has a life-long interest in the countryside, its people and also the food it produces.  Following her first food web survey in 1997 she has campaigned on a variety of rural issues, particularly the local food chain and the importance of maintaining an economically viable livestock industry linked to local abattoirs.  She is a keen gardener and with the help of her family collects rare vegetable varieties, mainly from Eastern Europe. Caroline was awarded an OBE for services to the red meat industry in the East of England in the Queen's birthday honours 2006.

5.  Six leading chefs, commentators and celebrities have endorsed The Real Choice: How local foods can survive the supermarket onslaught:


Richard Benson, author of The Farm

'This is an urgently important document that will confirm a factual basis for many people's suspicions and fears about large-scale food retailing.  Supermarkets trade on myths about free markets and increased choice, but in fact they benefit from state subsidies, and often in the long-term lead to a reduction of local food outlets.  This report shows that their dominance can be effectively and sensibly challenged in order to benefit whole communities, and make them more sustainable.'


Raymond Blanc, Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons

'I completely support this initiative and always have. Our growers have been undermined by the large retailers who dictate so much our food chain.  In my role as a chef, I try to actively promote and work with farmers within our close community, I find that we both feel enriched as a result of this.  I feel we should put pressure on the supermarkets to welcome and allocate space on their shelves for our local producers - if it is possible in Italy then why not in England?'

 Jimmy Doherty, TV's Jimmy's Farm

'Local food economies are of the utmost importance to the sustainability of rural communities.  They bring great benefits to the countryside both in terms of safeguarding rural jobs, sustaining local retailers, providing outlets for local produce and conserving the British countryside.  The growth in supermarkets threatens the existence of independent retailers thus killing the heart of the local towns and villages, eliminating enterprise and reducing consumer choice.  If we are to ensure the survival of our rural communities and regional food heritage, there is an urgent need to build positive relationships between our local food networks and the global food chain.  Caroline Cranbrook has shown, through this report, some of the ways that this may be achieved thus offering a beacon of hope for the future of farming, for rural businesses, local jobs and for the conservation of the countryside as a whole.'

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, River Cottage

'You can't beat the quality of fresh, seasonal, local produce. In a perfect world, it would be at the heart of every household's shopping and cooking habit. This report is encouraging news for all those who would like to see the network of dedicated small producers in this country grow and prosper. It should serve as an excellent and encouraging model for local food communities all over Britain.'

Prue Leith, restaurateur

'This report is a further boost for the good food movement, which I approve of because I think shopping, buying, cooking and eating should be pleasurable. And somehow doing all that while supporting local producers is very pleasurable indeed. '

 Gordon Ramsay, chef

'Local food matters because it's fresh, it's seasonal, it's distinctive and it tastes great. The producers care about the quality of their food, and it matters to them if we don't. The people in CPRE's report are producing and selling great local food and are surviving against the odds. We need more like them and they need our support to succeed.'


6.  CPRE is grateful to the Suffolk Preservation Society for their support in producing this report.




Tom Oliver (Head of Rural Policy)

020 7981 2800 (switchboard)

020 7981 2838 (direct)

07818 450802 (mobile)

Caroline Cranbrook

01728 663543 (home)


Gill Withers (ViRSA Manager)

01993 810730 (work)

Graeme Willis (Rural Policy Campaigner)

020 7981 2800 (switchboard)

020 7981 2841 (direct)

01206 825206 (home)

07739 332797 (mobile)

Nick Schoon (Director - Communications)

020 7981 2800 (switchboard)

020 7981 2816 (direct)

020 8290 6822 (home)

07739 332796 (mobile)


 May 2006


Countryside campaigners CPRE [1] and the National Trust have joined forces to raise a petition demanding that the East of England Plan [2] is ‘greened'.  After a mammoth public examination the Plan, aimed at shaping growth and development in the fast-changing East of England over the next two decades, is nearing completion. CPRE and the Trust fear it poses major threats to the region’s environment and heritage.

CPRE has placed a full-page advertisement in the National Trust’s magazine, read by millions of Trust members [3]. This warns of the threats posed by the draft East of England plan – and Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott’s potential changes to it. The advertisement asks people to ‘stand up and be counted’ by giving their names quickly and easily. [4]

CPRE’s East of England Chairman, Lawrence Wragg said: ‘Now is the time for everyone who cares for the countryside – both individuals and organisations - to make their voices heard.

‘Of course we accept there has to be change, but at the same time we must protect precious things which underpin our quality of life, our environment and heritage. We must act now to save the region’s beautiful open landscapes, woodlands, wildlife, natural resources and historic towns and villages.’

Note for Editors:
People can support our efforts by signing the petition on our website (www.cpre.org.uk) or emailing campaigns@cpre.org.uk.

Keith Turner, Area Manager for the National Trust, said:   ‘With one of the UK’s fastest growing economies, the East of England faces major changes. We need the Plan to guide this process, balance economic growth with protection for our environment and heritage, and offer investment in the future.

As it stands, the Plan risks unsustainable amounts of development which will have long-term impacts on internationally important green spaces such as Hatfield Forest, owned by the National Trust. Don’t let it happen - support our campaign to make sure the region gets the plan it needs.’  The draft Plan, drawn up by the East of England Regional Assembly with input from the Government, contains proposals for growth on an enormous scale, including 478,000 new homes by 2021, industrial and business development and 67 road schemes. Alan Richardson, the inspector who chaired the Plan’s examination in public, is now writing a report for the Deputy Prime Minister.

Mr Prescott can then propose changes to the Plan – which he will publish some time in the autumn. There then follows a final 12-week period of public consultation, when CPRE will be making a last push to ‘green’ the Plan.  CPRE’s plea for support features the Trust’s Hatfield Forest in Hertfordshire, threatened by Stansted Airport expansion.

CPRE and the National Trust want the plan to:

March 2006



Today’s Government forecasts of the growth in numbers of households over the next two decades represent a massive environmental challenge, countryside campaigners CPRE [1] warn today.

If these projections [2] were translated into new homes built, that would represent more than 16 square miles of countryside disappearing under new housing estates each year. [3]

And with them would come a huge increase in climate changing greenhouse gas emissions, in road traffic and pollution and in consumption of finite natural resources such as water and minerals. [4]

CPRE’s Policy Director Neil Sinden said today: ‘We do need more homes to cope with a growing population.

‘But we cannot use these projections as instructions for the number of new homes that have to be built in England over the next 20 years. [5] We must take into account the environmental impacts of housebuilding, and think about this issue in the same way as we think about the growth in aviation and road traffic.

‘In one of the world’s most built-up, densely-populated developed nations, environmental protection must be part of the equation.’

CPRE points out that the projections are based on a continuation of past trends which influence household formation. Small changes in economic and social factors can make a large difference. Population growth is one critical factor, but so is the trend towards ever smaller average household sizes as people make choices – or find themselves compelled – to spend more and more of their lives living alone.

 ‘As a nation, we might want to start asking questions about whether the fall in average household sizes is socially as well as environmentally sustainable,’ said Neil Sinden.

The planning system has a critical role to play in securing sustainable development. As we plan the number and location of new homes over the next 20 years, CPRE’s top priorities will be:

·      Focussing as much development as possible on derelict or under-used urban sites, thereby encouraging regeneration and protecting the countryside.

·     Resisting land-wasting low housing densities for new homes, instead favouring medium densities at which sufficient family homes with gardens can be built, along with the smaller homes required by the rapidly growing number of one person households

 ·     Trying to ensure new housing contributes to more even growth across England’s regions, making better use of derelict sites and buildings in the northern regions, rather than focussing ever more new housing on the ‘hot house’ areas of the South and East.

·      Questioning the figures, calling for them to be tested and updated, and demanding that priority is given to meeting the needs of those who suffer the worst housing problems. This means building more subsidised housing for rent or part-ownership by people on lower incomes.

 ·        Making better use of the existing housing stock, reducing the number of empty and under-occupied homes, and converting other types of buildings into homes where appropriate.


1. CPRE, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, is a charity which promotes the beauty, and diversity of rural England. We advocate positive solutions for the long-term future of the countryside. Founded in 1926, we have 60,000 supporters and a branch in every county. President: Sir Max Hastings. Patron: Her Majesty The Queen.


2. See ODPM Statistical Release 2006/0042 published 14 March 2006.


3. This estimate assumes 40 per cent of 209,000 new homes a year are built on greenfield sites (the Government’s target is for 60 per cent of new homes to be built on previously developed ‘brownfield’ sites) and that these homes are built at an overall density of 20 dwellings per hectare. This density figure assumes that homes continue to be built at today’s density levels, but takes into account the infrastructure that goes with large numbers of new homes – roads, schools, green spaces, health centres etc.


4. According to Government estimates, the building of the average new home is responsible for emissions of greenhouse gases equivalent to 35 tonnes of carbon dioxide, production of 11.25 tonnes of solid waste and consumption of 60 tonnes of mineral aggregates. Once built and occupied, the average house will be responsible for 1.25 tonnes of solid wastes and 4.05 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. It will also consume 180 tonnes of water and produce a roughly equivalent quantity of sewage effluent. These figures are based on a typical 90 square metre new home meeting current Building Regulations and occupied by three people.


5. Launching previous household projections, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott said: 'The projections are not forecasts, estimates or predictions. They are based entirely on what might be expected to occur if previous trends continue and are heavily dependent on the assumptions involved. Such trends can and do change...'  The Rt. Hon. John Prescott MP on the 1999 household projections, Hansard, 29 March 1999, column 471.

*The Campaign to Protect Rural England exists to promote the beauty, tranquillity and diversity of rural England by encouraging the sustainable use of land and other natural resources in town and country.

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