Latest News

Urban green space report misses trick  

March 19, 2024

We have welcomed the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee’s letter to the Defra secretary, Stephen Barclay, with its findings on its inquiry into urban green spaces.  The committee concluded that ‘these vital parts of communities are under serious threat’ and in need of urgent action to reverse their national decline, despite their immense environmental…

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Coffey kowtows to landowners and destroys public-path consensus

October 25, 2023

We are dismayed that the environment secretary, Thérèse Coffey, has destroyed the 2010 consensus for the future of public paths. This consensus was forged by a stakeholder working group (SWG) set up to advise government. It is composed of experienced members reflecting the interests of users, local authorities, and landowners. Dr Coffey has cherry-picked from…

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Substandard plans for Chailey substations spark Defra refusal

August 8, 2023

We are delighted that an inspector has refused permission for a utility company to place new electricity substations on conspicuous sites on the Chailey Commons in East Sussex. UK Power Networks (UKPN) had applied to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for consent to place two substations on the commons—one…

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Lost in the detail?

March 10, 2023

Our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook, criticises the Westminster government for its lack of action on public access. At the end of February we still awaited action on access in the environmental land management scheme (ELMS). Defra officials are now seeking our views, but it doesn’t feel like the outcome will amount to much. In December,…

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Public money for what?

January 27, 2023

We are deeply dismayed by the Prospectus, published on 26 January by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), which sets out the various actions for which farmers and land managers will be paid under the Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS). Defra claims that there is something there for everyone, but sadly, this…

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