Our countryside: a manifesto for the next government

The choices made by the next government will have big consequences for our countryside – from buses to farming, new homes to net zero.

The General Election is a crucial time when we must demand that the countryside we all love is at the top of the political agenda.

At CPRE, the countryside charity Hampshire, we believe that everyone has the right to enjoy a countryside that promotes a healthier economy and a happier community.

Together, we can send a message to Westminster for a bold set of reforms to make this ambition a reality. Vote with the countryside in mind on Thursday 12 December.

In our manifesto for the next government, we’ve identified four key areas in which action needs to be taken to help the countryside thrive. We want to see the next government:

  1. Tackle the climate emergency, implementing measures to reach net-zero emissions by 2045 at the very latest;
  2. Improve access to green spaces for everyone, particularly for children and those from disadvantaged communities who do not currently have access;
  3. Support a well-resourced planning system that empowers communities and promotes development that responds to their needs; and
  4. Ensure the specific challenges faced by rural communities are addressed through meaningful investment in the rural economy.

The general election gives us all a great chance to talk to candidates as they canvas for votes and attend hustings. Why not ask how they will work to promote, enhance and protect our countryside?

  • A love of the countryside starts early – will you press the government to ensure every schoolchild spends a night under the stars in their local National Park or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty?
  • There can be no further delay in dramatically reducing carbon emissions – how will you work to cut emissions and promote natural climate solutions?
  • The planning system is one of local democracy’s most powerful and effective tools – will you support polices that enhance and protect the countryside next door, such as a ‘brownfield first’ policy?
  • Our countryside is full of vibrant communities that deserve every opportunity to thrive – how will your party invest in public transport and genuinely affordable homes to make this a reality?

Look out for more as we get closer to election day!

Walking in the New Forest National Park
Annie Spratt/Unsplash
Children climbing in the New Forest