Local Group Name - Campaign to Protect Rural England

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Director's Bulletin January 2020

Monday, 13 January 2020 15:33

Happy New Year to all our supporters

It's been a busy time, but we hope we've got some events and campaigns to interest you this year. Our biggest project will be our Starry Skies initiative, running from February to July 2020. We're getting close to announcing dates, so watch this space for updates. We'll be running at least one event (with a mix of interactive star gazing, plus and informal talk/information) in each of the four 'Avon' areas, so there should be something close to you. We will also be continuing all our work to influence planning and transport policy, to improve outcomes for this area and our local countryside. We look forward to seeing many of you over the next six months. In the meantime, here are some highlights from last year, and what to look out for in 2020.

Starry Skies Project

We recently launched our local Starry Skies initiative, providing opportunities for local groups, families, and young people – especially from urban areas - to engage with the night sky through a series of stargazing sessions across the Bath and wider Avon area. Running between February and July 2020, these will consist of a combination of talks, workshops, space-themed activities and star gazing sessions, with each event being tailored to the location and its audience. At the same time, they will be highlighting the effect of light pollution on our view of the night sky, as well as its impact on the countryside, wildlife and human health.

This project builds on the charity’s annual national Star Count Campaign which maps the country’s darkest skies and identifies areas impacted by significant light pollution. It also compliments the recent recommendation published by the Government for ‘a night under the stars in a national landscape for every child’.

We want use this project to raise awareness of CPRE's work locally, as well as to enable local people to experience the wonder of our Starry Skies - both existing devotees and those who have yet to benefit from this natural phenomenon. Levels of light pollution are increasing in many areas, and we want to highlight the negative effect this has on everyone, including on our health, wildlife, as well as our view of the stars and the night sky

We're grateful to CPRE's national charity for the funding to undertake this initiative in the local area. We will be sending out dates and locations via this newsletter, so encourage anyone who might be interested to sign up, or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

Local Campaign

Volunteers in each of our District Groups are continuously monitoring, responding to and advising on local planning applications, helping local residents who may feel some applications are unsuitable or wrongly located.

We've also had a couple of bigger campaigns running, namely influencing the West of England Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) and Joint Transport Plan (JTP); and objecting the the proposed expansion of Bristol Airport.

There is no official update on either situation as yet, but you probably saw the report that we commissioned from the New Economics Foundation (NEF), which questioned the considerable economic benefits claimed by the airport, as well as the impact on national carbon targets. We were somewhat pleased that Bristol Airport published a rebuttal to the NEF report. It showed that the report has been taken seriously and, although it disagreed with some of the conclusions, did not provide further convincing evidence.

National Planning Inspectors effectively throwing out the draft Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) last summer was also an extraordinary moment, and we were gratified to read their comments, many of which chimed with the questions and objections we had been raising over many years of commenting on JSP consultations. At present the future of spatial planning is uncertain in this area. This will inevitably place renewed importance on the development of local plans in each of our District areas, where we have much to offer.

Looking forward in 2020

Call for new trustees

We're looking to recruit new trustees to help take our charity forward in the new decade. If you're passionate about the countryside, and keen to be involved in helping this local CPRE branch, then please contact Sophie Spencer for an informal chat at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

We welcome expressions of interest from everyone. If you have useful skills but not much time available we'd still love to hear from you. There will be an informal application process.

New name for CPRE Avonside?

We're looking at a change of name, to better reflect the area we cover. Many people do not know what 'Avonside' stands for, and it doesn't necessarily reflect the breadth of our area, which stretches north to South Gloucestershire, south and west to North Somerset, and east to Bath and North East Somerset, with Bristol in the middle. People from outside of the area frequently have no idea where we're located, until you mention Bristol.

We're interested in your views. Let us know your preferred choice or any other suggestions by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.:

1. CPRE Avon and Bristol
2. CPRE Avon
3. CPRE West of England

We hope to see you in 2020!

 

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