Local Group Name - Campaign to Protect Rural England

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Responding to today's announcement that the consultation on the environmental impact of HS2 will end as early as 24 January 2014, Ralph Smyth, barrister and Senior Transport Campaigner for the Campaign to Protect Rural England, says:

'The Government has chosen the minimum length of time allowed [1] for its consultation on the biggest ever environmental impact assessment in UK history. A 56 day formal consultation period for 50,000 pages of documents means you would need to read 1,000 pages a day just to know what is proposed. To add insult to injury this period includes the Christmas and New Year holidays, when Parliament has 23 days off.

Growth agenda is fuelling damaging development across National Parks and other precious landscapes

That was the response of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) to the announcement today that Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has applied for judicial review of the Airports Commission's refusal to revisit its airport expansion criteria. In September the Commission had to relieve one of its members of his duties after it was revealed he was still being paid by the Manchester Airport Group (MAG) when he took up his role. MAG are the owners of Stansted airport and have submitted a proposal for three extra runways that would devastate large areas of countryside and would damage tranquillity further still.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) today warned that Government proposals to allow farmers to turn buildings into houses are badly thought through: they will lead to a rash of housing development in the countryside but without the safeguards provided by the planning system.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) is urging people to write to their local MP today about a draft new Government website on planning guidance [1]. If the website is not improved it will frustrate the building of thousands of affordable homes, and lead to local councils being repeatedly overruled about where, and what type of, new housing is built in their area.

Figures published today by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) show that over 150,000 houses, along with over 1,000 hectares of mines, offices and warehousing, are planned for Green Belt sites. This is an increase of 84% in a year and comes despite Government assurances that its planning reforms would ‘maintain protection of the Green Belt’. A new CPRE briefing and accompanying map provides more details of the developments proposed on Green Belt land across England [1].

Surrey countryside campaigners have won their legal action against Mole Valley District Council over the decision to permit the building of a luxury golf and leisure complex at historic Cherkley Court near Leatherhead.

Nick Herbert, MP for Arundel and South Downs, has highlighted increasing concerns in rural England about the impact fracking may have on our matchless countryside. [1]

Following the announcement of a new £500 million allowance for reducing the visual impact of pylons and transmission lines in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty throughout England and Wales, the public now has an opportunity to give its views on where the allowance should be spent.

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