Latest News

Taking people out of planning

August 10, 2020

With many other environmental charities, we have condemned the government’s proposals to speed up the planning process and reduce democratic involvement. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has published a consultation, Planning for the Future, with closing date of 29 October 2020. This proposes a total rewrite of the rules first set out…

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New charter for Wales’s open spaces

August 3, 2020

Today we call for a better deal for open spaces in Wales.  We have published a charter and have written to Julie James, the Minister for Housing and Local Government, and all of Wales’s planning authorities. We want the government to introduce a national plan and standards for open spaces and to revise and update…

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New charter for open spaces

August 3, 2020

Today we call for a better deal for open spaces.  We have published a charter and have written to Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, and to all of England’s planning authorities. We call on government to introduce a national plan and standards for open spaces, and to place…

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Our take on the environment secretary’s speech

July 28, 2020

Last week the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, George Eustice, made an end-of-term speech.  It did not inspire confidence. A few bits of new money were promised.  For instance, he announced £4m for a two-year pilot to bring ‘green prescribing’ to four urban and rural areas that have been hit the…

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A toothless watchdog?

July 28, 2020

Our case officer Nicola Hodgson is keeping a close watch on the Environment Bill.  This was introduced to parliament on 30 January 2020 with second reading on 26 February.  The public-bill committee’s scrutiny was cut short by the covid-19 crisis, and the committee was expected to report to parliament by the end of June, but…

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Extend deadlines to rescue common land and village greens

July 6, 2020

We have urged the government to extend deadlines to enable the public to safeguard common land and town and village greens. This would be in line with the extension of deadlines to allow development to proceed, under the Business and Planning Bill 2019-21. The society has written to the environment minister, Lord Gardiner. We are…

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Archive progress

June 16, 2020

The Special Collections team at the University of Reading and the Museum of English Rural Life (the MERL) has been working with the society to care for, and to open, our archive to the public and to potential researchers. The completed cataloguing work, and the collected oral histories of key staff members, will reveal our…

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Kent parish council dedicates a green

May 5, 2020

We have commended our member East Malling and Larkfield Parish Council in Kent for dedicating land as a village green.  Kent County Council approved the registration in February.   The one-acre land is known as Whimbrel Village Green and is an area of open space within a housing estate (the streets of which are named…

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How do we protect open spaces closer to home?

April 28, 2020

The think tank, ‘Centre for Cities’, which focuses on improving the economies of the UK’s largest cities and towns, published an article at the start of our lock down period, ‘How easy is it for people to stay at home during the coronavirus pandemic?‘  It concluded that the provision of public open space, such as…

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The rise and fall of village greens

March 5, 2020

The Supreme Court has dealt a bitter blow to communities wanting to protect their open spaces. As a result of a judgment last December concerning two green spaces, in Lancashire and Surrey, it has become much more difficult to protect land and assert rights of recreation on it. Our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook, follows the…

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