Going, going, gone? England’s disappearing landscapes!

The CPRE have highlighted the effect of new developments on the landscape. 

Evidence from CPRE branches across England demonstrates that there is a growing threat to our most important landscapes from inappropriate development.
The case studies in our report are a snapshot of the most significant current threats to National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. We have also highlighted the dangers faced by landscapes that lack national protection but are, nevertheless, deeply valued by local communities. Government policies mean that National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), which should have the highest level of protection in planning, are increasingly threatened by damaging developments. The development proposals fall broadly within four categories: energy; housing; transport and tourism.

Cases highlighted in our report include the recent permission for 521 houses in the Kent Downs AONB and the cumulative visual impact of wind farms surrounding the Lake District National Park. Threats to locally valued landscapes include a proposed new 20km dual carriageway in open countryside in Norfolk, and a theme park in Swinley Forest, Berkshire.

CPRE are calling on the Government to:

  • strengthen national planning policy by giving greater weight to the protection of nationally designated and locally valued landscapes;
  • recognise the contribution that National Parks and AONBs make to our economy and review cuts to their funding in advance of the imminent Spending Review;
  • produce guidance for the Planning Inspectorate on implementing the major development test in National Parks and AONBs;
  • ensure that requests for applications to be ‘called in’ by the Department for Communities and Local Government are dealt with in line with the major development test in the National Planning Policy Framework;
  • exempt National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty from the proposed  changes to permitted development rights concerning the conversion of farm buildings; and
  • review the draft planning policy guidance to ensure that best use can be made of the new Local Green Space designation.
  • CPRE is also calling for an urgent Parliamentary Select Committee Inquiry to review how major development is dealt with in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in order to protect and enhance their beauty for future generations.

Find out more
Report, map and case studies


Although we have concerns about unsustainable development we do not consider that the ‘protect the best’ approach which focuses attention on National Parks and AONBs is appropriate.   We need to consider all areas as important – whether its a piece of rough land in an urban area, an ordinary field or a stretch of moorland.

We cannot live in a world where most land is deemed ‘unimportant’!


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