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Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Campaign to Protect Rural England

We respond to the Greater Cambridge Local Plan consultation

Tuesday, 25 February 2020 11:23

South of Abington South of Abington John Sutton

“Climate change, climate change, climate change” should be the priority for Cambridgeshire as planners start to consult over future development in the south of the county.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) say the low-lying county will be one of the worst affected by climate change. They insist farmland must be protected for future food supply and the Green Belt around Cambridge must be protected.

In evidence submitted to the public consultation exercise for the Greater Cambridge Local Plan they say the Cambridge Green Belt was the first outside London. “It is also the smallest,” said CPRE Chairman, Alan James. “It is of historic value in its own right and provides the unique setting for the City, its academic character and its inheritance”.

CPRE say the Extinction Rebellion protesters have a point even if their approach may not be the wisest or the best.

“We need to help them as it’s their future we’re talking about,” said Mr James. “Climate change isn’t way off. We have already passed a 1°C temperature rise and it won’t take long to get to two. This process is not a straight line, it is exponential.

“We must be less irresponsible about re-using existing buildings and infrastructure. Every tonne of carbon dioxide not emitted is a win-win for all of us”.

The campaigners say Cambridgeshire hosts a significant proportion of this country’s best and most versatile farm land. They fear that by the end of this century climate change will have caused significant loss of the Fens which currently grow 24% of the UK’s food supply. CPRE believe it is crucial the remaining best and most versatile farmland is not built on but preserved for food supply. 

CPRE also say the Local Plan, which looks at a development framework until 2040 may be being prepared with undue haste. They say the plan period should be taken out to 2050 to allow a later start date. This would give more time to consider it carefully when much better information is available about the effects of climate change and already planned developments.

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