Greener, better and faster! Our countryside holds the key…
As the government chooses how best to support the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, a new campaign from CPRE calls for the countryside to be at the forefront of climate action so that rural communities do not bear the brunt of the climate emergency.
Greener, better, faster: countryside solutions to the climate emergency and for a green recovery sets out how the countryside can be at the centre of the transformation to a net-zero society, to make sure we tackle the climate emergency in a way that benefits people living and working in rural communities.
CPRE believes that the countryside is key to tackling the climate emergency and provides many of the solutions to addressing climate breakdown. ‘Greener, better, faster’ recommends:
- Farming: Introduce an action plan for the land use sector to rapidly re-wet and restore peatland, expand woodland and agro-forestry, drive uptake of agro-ecological practices to boost soil health and drive down emissions from inefficient use of synthetic nutrients.
- Hedgerows: Invest in the restoration and planting of England’s hedgerows, to achieve at least a 40% increase in their length by 2050.
- Planning and building: Radically tighten up building regulations to ensure that new buildings meet zero carbon standards. Existing buildings should also meet zero carbon standards in terms of heat and space.
- Energy: Invest in a new generation of renewables, including solar, wind and hydro that are strategically planned at the national, sub-regional and local levels. This should be done in a way that benefits the rural economy, forming a cornerstone of local enterprise and jobs; is supported by or owned by local communities; brings net benefits to wildlife; and minimises impacts on landscape, tranquillity and cultural heritage.
- Transport: Divert the £27 billion planned road spend to a ring-fenced rural transport fund to support low carbon public transport services for rural communities that need to be better connected.
Crispin Truman, chief executive of CPRE said:
‘Whatever breathing space we had to tackle the climate emergency has already been used up. That means properly investing in rural public transport, delivering renewables sensitively and investing in nature-based solutions like peatland restoration and hedgerows.’