Help defend the countryside from over-inflated housing targets

A CPRE appeal in response to the Housing White Paper

We’ve achieved an enormous amount in shifting government thinking on housebuilding in the countryside. 

Just a few months ago, we feared that the Housing White Paper, which sets out the Government’s blueprint for getting more houses built, would herald a fresh assault on the countryside and the Green Belt.

But our campaigning has paid off – the Government has listened and the White Paper uses many of our ideas and proposes many of our policies, including: 

  • Support for more brownfield development 
  • No liberalisation of the planning system 
  • Addressing failures of the housing market 
  • Maintaining existing Green Belt protection

In spite of this important victory, we still have serious concerns, more so now our expert campaigners have scrutinised the detail. And with a general election just around the corner and housing policy a key battleground, we have a lot more important campaigning to do in tandem with our work on the White Paper. We expect the Government will continue to work on the White Paper in the background while the election heats up at the fore, and we must not let them get distracted.

CPRE’s top priority relating to the White Paper is to make the Ministers listen on the biggest danger that remains to our countryside: over-inflated housing targets. The current system for calculating housing targets is failing to deliver the homes we need or to safeguard the countryside.

At present, market-led demand and economic aspiration is driving housing targets, forcing councils to allocate sites for development far in excess of what the construction industry is willing or able to build. As a result, developers are able to cherry-pick the easier, most profitable sites, often in open countryside, while brownfield sites go to waste.

As part of the White Paper, Ministers will soon announce a consultation on a new method councils must use when calculating housing targets. This presents us with an opportunity to persuade the Government to overhaul the current system in favour of targets based on genuine local need, accurate population projections, and the numbers developers can realistically deliver.

If the Government is to live up to its promise of more new homes, while protecting the Green Belt and the wider countryside, then they must once again listen to us. Changing the minds of Ministers isn’t easy, but the Housing White Paper has shown that we can do it. However, the credible research and persuasive and effective campaigning necessary does not come cheap, and we only have small window in which to make a truly irresistible case once again.

Please, if you can, help us finish the job by making a donation today.

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Your donation will help CPRE to:

  • commission heavyweight research into national household projections to ensure housing targets are based on genuine need
  • marshal evidence to show that releasing greenfield land does not result in a net increase in housebuilding
  • collate and analyse data from CPRE’s national network of county branches to expose the impact on the ground of inflated housing targets 
  • rally support in Parliament and in the media for a housing targets methodology that leads to the best possible outcome for the countryside, while meeting the nation’s housing need

Thank you for your support.


Your details

  • £15 could help CPRE gather local insights and analysis from our nationwide branch network on the impact of over-inflated housing targets on their countryside
  • £25 could help CPRE campaigners prepare briefings to persuade MPs to address our concerns with over-inflated housing targets
  • £50 could help fund the publication of research and irrefutable evidence to support our key arguments for housing targets based on genuine need, not economic aspiration

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