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Star Count attracts thousands as problem of light pollution shines bright

Star Count attracts thousands as problem of light pollution shines bright

Friday, August 9, 2019 A record 2,300 people took part in this year’s Star Count. The count, held over the first three weeks of February, revealed that just 2% of participants experienced the wonders of a truly dark sky full of stars, due to the impact of light pollution caused by street lighting and other […] Read more >

Felling licences are simple and free to obtain, so why are so many trees being axed illegally?

Felling licences are simple and free to obtain, so why are so many trees being axed illegally?

For this story we are indebted to our friends at the Forestry Commission, who have reported an increase in the number of cases of illegal tree-felling across East Anglia The area of woodland felled without a felling licence increased from 9.48 hectares in 2013-14 to 20.55 hectares in 2017-18. All reports of unlicensed felling are […] Read more >

Essex CPRE: this year’s AGM is being held in October near Braintree

Essex CPRE: this year’s AGM is being held in October near Braintree

This year’s Annual General Meeting of CPRE Essex will be held at Cressing Temple Barns, Braintree, on Saturday, October 5. The guest speaker will be Simon Amstutz, manager of the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, while the Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Essex, Vincent Thompson, will also be attending. Tea will provided by Wilkins tea […] Read more >

Need someone to talk to? Then there’s a helpline just for you

Need someone to talk to? Then there’s a helpline just for you

Earlier this year, our chairman David Knight celebrated the relaunch of the Uttlesford Farmers’ Café, a place that gave those who live and work in the countryside the opportunity to meet and talk with other people (see here). As he said at the time: “There are a worrying number of people in the agricultural world […] Read more >

Care about the countryside? Then tell the next PM

Care about the countryside? Then tell the next PM

As you know, CPRE is strictly non-political. So, without any comment on the Conservative Party leadership contest, we simply present here your opportunity to tell the next Tory leader, and indeed Prime Minister, what matters most to you. The survey has been put together by the Conservative Party, which urges respondents to “tell us what […] Read more >

Climate change rally in London: your chance to join thousands of others in getting the message to our MPs

Climate change rally in London: your chance to join thousands of others in getting the message to our MPs

Some 10,000 people are expected at Westminster this week (Wednesday, June 26) to call for urgent action on climate change. Do you want to join them? The rally has been organised by Greener UK and The Climate Coalition, which says: “The government has taken a step forward by setting the long-term target of ending our […] Read more >

Here’s your chance to contribute to a green strategy for Essex

Here’s your chance to contribute to a green strategy for Essex

Essex, as most of are aware, is earmarked for extensive urban growth in the coming years, but all is not necessarily lost for our natural environment. The county council has produced a draft Green Essex Strategy to highlight the importance of establishing green infrastructure and spaces to accompany development over the next 20 years. And, […] Read more >

Elections prove our countryside matters to people, says Green Belt council

Elections prove our countryside matters to people, says Green Belt council

The extraordinary change in the composition of Uttlesford District Council resulting from May’s local elections was charted here, but there were of course eye-catching returns from much of the South East after the polls had closed. Such was the widespread shift in allegiance that the London Green Belt Council was moved to comment: “One of […] Read more >

For she’s a jolly good Fellow!

For she’s a jolly good Fellow!

Congratulations to Tricia Moxey, CPRE Essex vice-chairman, who has been awarded a British Naturalists’ Association Fellowship. Tricia was honoured at the association’s conference on Saturday, May 11, an event that saw a rich and varied range of talks. Tricia said: “The speakers were outstanding in explaining their particular areas of research. “Professor Sarah Wanless spoke […] Read more >

£1 billion: how local charities could benefit from the deposit return system

£1 billion: how local charities could benefit from the deposit return system

One in five people using a UK-wide deposit return system would donate the deposits they had paid on drinks cans and bottles to charity all the time, producing potential annual donations of more than £1 billion to good causes. The results came from a survey carried out by ICM Unlimited and published by CPRE on […] Read more >

Aviation and its impact on the environment: your chance to attend a free talk

Aviation and its impact on the environment: your chance to attend a free talk

With the issue of expansion at Stansted Airport still very much alive, you might be interested in a free talk on aviation being held just round the M25 in Surrey. The Impact of Aviation Growth on Local Communities and Climate Change is being given by Tim Johnson, director of the Aviation Environment Federation (AEF), in […] Read more >

Overwhelmed by the scale of development in Essex? Here we help you understand quite what is going on

Overwhelmed by the scale of development in Essex? Here we help you understand quite what is going on

Many of us are aware that the natural beauty of our glorious county of Essex is threatened like never before. We experience it through the constant grind of cement-mixers and bulldozers, but sometimes the bureaucratic process is not so clear. Here CPRE Essex planning expert Michael Hand casts some light on what is driving the […] Read more >

Setting up the planning system to fail

Setting up the planning system to fail

Richard Bate, planning professional and long-time CPRE supporter, delivers a withering analysis of government housing policy How often have you heard it said that if only the planning authorities would release more land for housing, then the builders would build more houses and prices would come down? This is the fundamental belief across the government […] Read more >

Love Essex and its countryside? You can prove it by voting on Thursday

Love Essex and its countryside? You can prove it by voting on Thursday

All of Essex’s local boroughs and districts, as well as Chelmsford city and Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock councils, will be holding elections on Thursday (May 2). Local authorities control many of the decisions that we care passionately about at CPRE Essex. We depend on their decisions to keep our towns and villages vibrant, to ensure there […] Read more >

The word is out! You can help our children re-engage with nature

The word is out! You can help our children re-engage with nature

Few people would argue that, as a society, we are in danger of losing contact with our natural world. A combination of work pressure and myriad leisure options means the joys of wildlife and environment are lost to many. Perhaps the saddest aspect of this is the growing disconnect between children and nature. In a […] Read more >

A million new homes, two development corporations… and a very special friend to make it all happen

A million new homes, two development corporations… and a very special friend to make it all happen

Back in September, we wrote: “If you thought development pressure on Essex could not get any worse, there is some sobering reading from the Thames Estuary Growth Commission. “This advisory body to the government is urging ‘joint spatial plans’ to be created in both Essex and Kent to support the building of more than a […] Read more >

Tom Fyans: The benefits of going brownfield

Tom Fyans: The benefits of going brownfield

The benefits of brownfield development were extolled by Tom Fyans, deputy chief executive of CPRE, during a flying visit to Ashford in Kent. Tom was giving the speech ‘Why town centre regeneration matters for CPRE, the countryside charity’ before the AGM of CPRE Kent’s Ashford committee on Wednesday last week (March 6). Sporting a swish […] Read more >

A short hop over the bridge and you can be listening to CPRE deputy chief exec Tom Fyans

A short hop over the bridge and you can be listening to CPRE deputy chief exec Tom Fyans

Fancy making the short journey over to the Garden of England next week to hear Tom Fyans, CPRE deputy chief executive? Of course you do! Tom will be speaking at an open meeting in Ashford, Kent, and everyone is welcome. Tom, who is also national director of campaigns and policy, is giving his talk ‘Why […] Read more >

Green Belt under the cosh…and it’s particularly bad news for one Essex district

Green Belt under the cosh…and it’s particularly bad news for one Essex district

The onslaught of development on the Metropolitan Green Belt is increasing – and an Essex district faces taking the biggest hit of all. Data collected by eight CPRE branches in and around the capital show that 56 of 66 local authorities are targeting Green Belt land for residential development. And the local authority planning the […] Read more >

Eyes to the skies, the Star Count starts tomorrow

Eyes to the skies, the Star Count starts tomorrow

This year’s Star Count (see here) goes live tomorrow (Saturday, February 2). Organised by CPRE, it gives you the chance to become ‘citizen scientists’ by taking part in a cosmic census helping to map our dark skies. The nationwide Star Count, supported by the British Astronomical Association, runs for the first three weeks of February […] Read more >

Count the stars and see how lucky we are (or otherwise)

Count the stars and see how lucky we are (or otherwise)

Sometimes television or film shows us night skies that are quite simply jaw-dropping. They portray millions of stars, together forming a spectacle that in places turns an otherwise black sky white. Others might be more fortunate enough to take holidays in places that allow them to be dazzled directly in person. One thing is certain, […] Read more >

Draft Environment Bill contains ‘significant unanswered questions’

Draft Environment Bill contains ‘significant unanswered questions’

“The draft Environment (Principles and Governance) Bill sets out how we will maintain environmental standards as we leave the EU and build on the vision of the 25 Year Environment Plan.” These underwhelming words from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs announcing last month’s (December 2018) publication of draft clauses for the first […] Read more >

Advice day will focus on rural crime

Advice day will focus on rural crime

It has been described as one of the countryside’s biggest growth industries, but rural crime is no laughing matter for those afflicted by it. The issue is being brought into focus at an advice day being held this month near Braintree at which you can get crime-prevention advice and information from Essex Police and exhibitors. […] Read more >

Involved with your Neighbourhood Plan? Then we have some good news

Involved with your Neighbourhood Plan? Then we have some good news

They don’t always get the attention they should, but Neighbourhood Plans represent one way in which people can get involved in the planning process for their local area. Although you needn’t be a planning expert, the prospect of tackling such an important issue might at first seem a little daunting, so two training sessions have […] Read more >

Missed the AGM? Then you missed something special…

Missed the AGM? Then you missed something special…

The busy world of CPRE Essex was brought into focus at the weekend during the county branch’s AGM. Marks Tey village hall was the setting on Saturday afternoon (October 6) as the necessary details of the previous year’s business were gone through in the professional manner we have come to expect from the group. Vice-chairman […] Read more >

Two top speakers will grace CPRE Essex’s AGM

Two top speakers will grace CPRE Essex’s AGM

Just a little reminder: the Essex branch of CPRE is holding its AGM this weekend – and there are two very special speakers to inform and entertain you after the formal business has been completed. Sam Harding, director of CPRE’s national litter programme, will be giving a talk entitled, perhaps unsurprisingly, Litter Picking Programme. Then […] Read more >

The sorry tale of one of our favourite animals… what future for the hedgehog?

The sorry tale of one of our favourite animals… what future for the hedgehog?

When was the last time you saw a hedgehog? Such a question usually draws the response, with either an air of resignation or a smirk as though the whole thing’s a bit of joke: “One that isn’t squashed on the road, you mean?” However, even that doesn’t ring true any more and we could just […] Read more >

Book soon for the CPRE Essex AGM!

Book soon for the CPRE Essex AGM!

The Essex branch of CPRE is in great shape and wants to share with members recent successes and its plans for the future. Hence you are all invited to next month’s AGM. It is being held at Marks Tey village hall on Saturday, October 6 (2.45pm for 3pm). A busy afternoon will comprise the formal […] Read more >

If you thought the Green Belt was safe, you might want to think again

If you thought the Green Belt was safe, you might want to think again

Anyone who believed Green Belt designation might mean land was safe from development would appear to be sadly misguided if CPRE analysis is anything to go by. This organisation’s figures reveal that almost half a million new homes are targeted for land to be released from the Green Belt – and very few of those […] Read more >

Government’s new planning rule book: ‘it’s a developers’ charter’

Government’s new planning rule book: ‘it’s a developers’ charter’

CPRE has slammed the government’s revised planning rulebook, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), as a “speculative developers’ charter”. In a damning early critique, the organisation says the government has not fulfilled its promise to “build attractive and better-designed homes in areas where they are needed”. Indeed, the document, published on Tuesday, July 24, continues […] Read more >

As Essex prepares for a vast increase in population, new protocol aims to streamline planning

As Essex prepares for a vast increase in population, new protocol aims to streamline planning

Essex has a new planning protocol. The document, put together by local authorities and developers in the county, is intended to create “a more efficient and effective application process”, while it should also help resource planning departments”. The development of the Essex Planning Protocol was driven by “a significant predicted growth in the Greater Essex […] Read more >

CPRE Essex: we have a new chairman

CPRE Essex: we have a new chairman

Essex has a new chairman – and he is ready and raring to go as we step up our efforts to keep the county the very special place it still is. It will not be easy. The pressures of development are arguably greater than ever before. The clamour to build houses to help fire the […] Read more >

Meet David Knight, the new man at the helm

Meet David Knight, the new man at the helm

Taking on the chairmanship of CPRE Essex is no light task, but in David Knight we believe we have just the man for the job. Of course there is no one better placed to tell you a little about himself than David, so over to the new chairman: “I have lived in Essex all my […] Read more >

We can use brownfield sites for a million homes… and save our countryside

We can use brownfield sites for a million homes… and save our countryside

It might seem obvious to many of us, but if we focus attention on building on brownfield (previously developed) land rather than greenfield sites, we will be both making better use of derelict urban and post-industrial land and safeguarding our countryside from development. However, not everyone would appear to agree and CPRE’s contention that we […] Read more >

Stansted: north Essex escapes the worst but threat of expansion still hovers

Stansted: north Essex escapes the worst but threat of expansion still hovers

The announcement in June that the government was backing a third runway at Heathrow Airport made front-page news – and campaigners against Stansted expansion were of course relieved that the Essex airport didn’t feature in a story that has something of a never-ending feel to it. Stansted had already failed to make the final round […] Read more >

What are we to make of the 25 Year Environment Plan?

What are we to make of the 25 Year Environment Plan?

The publication earlier this year of the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan met – as perhaps is the case with most things emanating from our political leaders – a mixed response. It was difficult to argue against the principles it embraced and most commentators have broadly welcomed the plan, although it has been criticised for […] Read more >