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Director’s Bulletin Autumn 2020

By Sophie Spencer
29th September 2020

Big changes to the planning system ahead?

The Government have set out their ambitions for reforming the planning system, and these are the biggest changes that have been proposed since planning as we know it was set up in 1947. Unfortunately these new plans could pose a huge risk to the countryside and the communities living and working within it.

Of course we need a planning system that is fit for purpose and CPRE has campaigned for many years for positive changes to the planning system. Although a number of the Planning White Paper’s key broad objectives do closely mirror what CPRE has for years been arguing for, the actual proposals all to often look likely to achieve the opposite effect, placing our countryside in even greater danger.

We are working constructively with Ministers and MPs to set out why we believe the proposals put forward will not achieve the aims that the Government say they want. Last week all 41 of CPRE’s local groups had the opportunity to meet senior politician, Secretary of State Robert Jenrick, to discuss concerns about planning reforms, and what they might mean for the countryside. I’m pictured here asking a question at the meeting.

We’ve also written to all our local MPs to let them know our concerns. You can see our letter plus a briefing on the Planning White Paper. We also have a national petition asking the Government not to deregulate planning. Nearly 38,000 people have signed so far, so please add your name to show your support.Sign our petition to call on government to drop these plans and invest in a planning system that:

  • Puts people and communities first
  • Provides access to countryside for all
  • Delivers affordable homes for those in need
  • Enables the building of zero-carbon homes as soon as possible
  • Empowers councils and gives local people a voice

Sign our petition

Bristol Airport appeal submitted

Bristol Airport has submitted its appeal against North Somerset Council’s decision to refuse its planning application to increase capacity from 10 million to 12 million passengers per year. It’s arguing that refusal was contrary to the recommendation of the council’s own planning officers.

We’re working to support the Parish Council Airport’s Association on this issue, and our New Economics Foundation Report of last year still holds true, despite the Coronavirus pandemic, that the basic economic case for the expansion is unsound, and that growth should not be allowed for climate emergency reasons.

The decision will be made by an independent planning inspector or, if the appeal is recovered, by the Government.

The ‘Stop Bristol Airport’ community campaign group has a crowd funder to to raise funds  to challenge the airport’s appeal. There are now only days to go to donate, and you can contribute using the green button below.

Donate to ‘Stop Bristol Airport’ community campaign

walking in somerset

A big thank you to everyone who sent donations to our recent appeal letter

We recently wrote to all CPRE Avon and Bristol members explaining the shortfall that Covid-19 have left in our finances this year. Many of you have responded so generously, and we will be thanking everyone personally for their help. Your kind donations have made a huge difference at this difficult time.

We’re looking to reframe some of our planned events, into online activities, that can be accessed by CPRE supporters and carried out in their own time. At the same time we’ll be looking afresh at new fundraising and partnership opportunities to get our finances back on track. For more information or any ideas or contacts, please email me at

Let's take a new path

Join the Regeneration

As we face a further six months of difficulties because of the Covid-19 pandemic, we find we value our countryside and green spaces more than ever. You may have seen the short CPRE ‘regeneration’ film distributed on social media highlighting the benefits of nature and the countryside, and asking people to ‘Join the Regeneration’.

You will be pleased to know that as the national campaign built around the film draws to its end, here in the South West we will be mounting our own follow-up campaign focussing more specifically on our own areas and experiences. Look out for it from mid-October or, if you can’t wait until then, you can watch it (only 1 minute long) by clicking the button below.
Watch our short Regeneration film

SoS virtual discussion with Sophie Spencer
Quernmore landscape