The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) is one of the world’s longest running environmental groups, marshalling the conservation movement in England since 1926. This book celebrates the achievements of the CPRE and associated groups in bequeathing to the present generation a countryside that is still a repository of beauty and tranquillity, despite 300 years of sustained development and population growth.
22 Ideas That Saved the English Countryside re-asserts the vision and durability of the CPRE’s key arguments and those of historic partners including The National Trust, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Ramblers’ Association. public.
This book contains contributions from leading thinkers, campaigners and high-profile supporters, including Julia Bradbury, Tony Robinson, John le Carré, Andrew Motion and Simon Jenkins, as well as archive images and beautiful colour photography of present day landscapes, which show what has been saved, what has been protected for ever, and, on occasion, what has been lost – often the most poignant images of all.
The ideas include:
Controlling Ribbon Development
One of CPRE's earliest campaigns was to curtail urban sprawl alongside arterial roads. Through the coordination of public and political support, the Restriction of Ribbon Development Act of 1935 protected views of the countryside from the encroachments of suburbia.
Wordsworth’s 1810 description of the Lakes as a ‘sort of national property’ culminated in CPRE’s long campaign for National Parks, which in turn was inspired by the world’s first National Parks like Yellowstone in 1874.
The Green and Pleasant Land
According to historian David Cannadine, 'the English countryside was . . . the very embodiment of decency, Englishness, national character and national identity'. This theme has been expressed by authors from Shakespeare and Spencer through to Kenneth Grahame and George Orwell. As more of us live in cities, the English obsession with escaping to the countryside has grown.
Every home built on a previously developed 'brownfield' site saves a piece of green field. The efficient renovation of derelict buildings and and land offer a new opportunity to create new urban housing to be set against unspoiled countryside. The creation of new public spaces and pedestrianised zones since the 1960s have made cities more pleasant places to live.