Latest News

Time for a new manifesto for public access

April 24, 2023

‘It is time for a new manifesto for public access in town and country,’ said Kate Ashbrook, our general secretary. Kate was giving the keynote speech at the event to mark the 91st anniversary of the mass trespass on Kinder Scout on 24 April 1932.  The celebrations were held at Hayfield village hall, Derbyshire, at…

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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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Kingsmead Field, Kent 1

Government’s lost chance to achieve levelling up

February 27, 2023

We have lamented the government’s failure to equalise the provision of green spaces for all.  Responding to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ consultation on the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), the society sets out its priorities for government in a five-point plan. The society wants to see: 1       an improvement in the process…

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Government promise on green space and water: how will it happen?

February 1, 2023

The government, in its Environmental Improvement Plan (EIP) published on 31 January, has pledged that ‘the public will benefit from a new commitment to access green space or water within a 15-minute walk from their home, such as woodlands, wetlands, parks and rivers’. We welcome the words but are concerned about the lack of detail,…

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Environmental Improvement Plan 2023

February 1, 2023

The Government’s long-awaited Environmental Improvement Plan (EIP) for England was published on 31 January.  It claims to set out a five-year delivery plan to restore nature and improve the environmental quality of the air, waters, and land. It includes a new commitment that everyone should live within 15 minutes’ walk of a green or blue…

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Pavements are for pedestrians

January 31, 2023

We are working with Living Streets and the Ramblers to persuade the House of Lords to adopt our amendments to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill (LURB) to keep pavements free for the public. During the pandemic, the Business and Planning Act 2020 was introduced temporarily to streamline the procedure for allowing eating, drinking, and…

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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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OEP assessment: government falling short

January 26, 2023

The Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) has published its assessment of government progress on the 25-year environment plan, concluding that this progress has fallen short of expectations. There have been some improvements in air quality in recent years and people’s engagement with nature is also up markedly. Although welcome these are likely to in part…

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National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) consultation: our hopes and fears

January 6, 2023

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities (DLUHC) issued a consultation on 22 December seeking views on how to develop national planning policy in England, to support the government’s wider objectives. The proposals include amendments to the NPPF, the preparation of National Development Management Plans (NDMPs), policy to support levelling up, and how national…

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Autumn crisis

October 26, 2022

Our general secretary Kate Ashbrook reflects on the current attack on the environment. ‘… now it is time unequivocally to act’ wrote Louis MacNeice in Autumn Journal in 1938.  And so it is in this autumn, when government has suddenly made a full-frontal onslaught on the environment, nature, and our enjoyment of them. First there…

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