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I would like to alert your readers to the continuing threat to local countryside from the proposed reforms to our planning system, currently being finalised by the Government.

It is astounding that, in such a densely populated country, most people are still within easy reach of glorious and productive countryside.

I believe one of the principal causes of that happy fact, has been that the planning system has enabled necessary economic growth while protecting and enhancing the countryside – perhaps your greatest national treasure.

But if the new planning rules go unamended they will mark a significant relaxation of protection for the so-called ‘ordinary’ countryside, the countryside next door which may have no special designation, like a National Park, but is so important to so many people.

CPRE wants the countryside to support thriving communities, provide a haven for wildlife, and produce healthy local food - with the help of genuinely sustainable planning. This depends upon the quality of life the countryside gives us all - through its beauty, tranquillity, local distinctiveness and open space – which should be valued as much as material goods and economic growth.

On behalf of CPRE, I would like to urge readers to join us in standing up for the countryside by writing to their MPs to let them know that they want the planning system to protect their local countryside, not just specially designated areas.

Bill Bryson

President

Campaign to Protect Rural England