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A vision for the countryside

PUBLISHED: 10:05 22 May 2008 | UPDATED: 15:11 20 February 2013

For many of us, the countryside, its rolling hills, lanes, woodland, hedgerows and villages. Looking ahead to its centenary in 2026, the Campaign to Protect Rural England is predicting a rosy future for the countryside, but are the rest of us quit...

Looking ahead to its centenary in 2026, the Campaign to Protect Rural England is predicting a rosy future for the countryside, but are the rest of us quite so optimistic? Emma Caulton found out...

For many of us, the countryside, its rolling hills, lanes, woodland, hedgerows and villages, is an intrinsic part of our identity, our heritage, our traditions, our leisure time, our quality of life, and our food and welfare - a green lung in an increasingly congested environment. But just what is its future?

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has launched a discussion forum about the future of our countryside. It's looking ahead to 2026, the year of the CPRE's centenary, and has identified five key areas for discussion: food and farming; life in our cities, towns and villages; planning; lifestyle and leisure; climate change and countryside. Now you can join the debate. Do you share CPRE's vision of the future?



CPRE predicts: Farmers will be valued for the work they do in maintaining the countryside, woods, meadows and habitats for wildlife. Climate change, population growth and environmental taxes will be key drivers in making this happen. And they'll play their part in supplying our energy needs diversifying into bio-energy crops, growing rapeseed oil and fast-growing trees for wood burning.

Vinnie McCann of Waltham Place, a pioneering organic and educational estate, near Maidenhead, comments: "I have to be honest, the current vision of the CPRE for the future of farming is naive and idealistic, I think the CPRE needs to stop hoping for the best and start acting for the best!

"One of the unforeseen influences on the agricultural industry, which is beginning to make itself felt, is the overall cost of running operations, fuel and energy and the cost of chemical-based fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides, all of which are oil-based.

The inevitability of peak oil (after which oil as a resource will be in decline), will have a resounding effect on how we utilise our countryside. Productive, naturally fertile land will become the corner stone of local communities. Our ability to adapt to the changing seasonal calendar...


Read the full article in June's issue of Berkshire Life - Out Now

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