England’s celebrated landscapes are under increasing threat from mass housing developments

Please help us hold the Government to account urgently

England’s 34 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) make up some of the nation’s finest and most important landscapes, with the same ‘protected’ status as our National Parks. Yet shocking new CPRE research reveals that these special places are under increasing threat from inappropriate housing development. 

In the five years since the Government introduced major reforms to national planning policy: 

  • Applications to build houses in AONBs have shot up 105% 
  • The number of houses proposed within applications has gone up 162% 
  • 15,500 houses have been approved in AONBs – an 82% increase 
  • Applications for further 12,741 houses are in the pipeline 
  • There’s been at least a fivefold increase in the amount of land lost to development within AONBs 

It’s wrong our most beautiful places are being sacrificed this way

  • It’s wrong because AONBs would not be under threat if the Government was ensuring its own planning policies were working. 
  • It’s wrong because the Government is breaking its own election manifesto promise to protect AONBs. 
  • It’s wrong because the types of houses likely being built in AONBs will do little to help solve the affordable housing crisis. 
  • It’s wrong because building houses in our AONBs is avoidable: our research has shown there is enough brownfield land in England to build up to 1.4 million new homes. 

Please support our appeal and stand up for England’s irreplaceable AONBs

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We 100% support building the right houses in the right places

We’re not saying our AONBs should be preserved in aspic. Where there’s genuine need for more affordable rural housing, and it’s well planned and supported by local people, we are right behind it – even in AONBs.  

What we must stop is the irresponsible, needless loss of land within our AONBs 

The Government’s push for housebuilding at all costs has created a climate where all development is considered good development. Their systematic weakening of the planning system is overriding protections AONBs would normally have. Now, emboldened developers are seeking to build more houses in places they shouldn’t be allowed to, while the Government turns a blind eye.  

The historic rolling hills, small patchwork fields and abundant woods of the High Weald AONB (pictured) make up one of the best surviving medieval landscapes in Europe. Yet last year, Mid Sussex District Council rubber-stamped the building of 600 houses at Pease Pottage, wholly within the AONB, despite sound objections from multiple parties, including CPRE Sussex and even the local Borough Council. 

This is just one example of where the Government has the power to step in – but in this case, they did not. 

Please support our appeal and stand up for England’s irreplaceable AONBs 

Your gift will help CPRE defend England’s treasured AONBs. With your support, we will: 

  1. Raise the alarm about the serious threats to our AONBs in the media, brief politicians from all parties, and call for the Government and local authorities to take action now. 
  2. Demand stronger protections for AONBs and lobby for necessary changes to be made to national planning policy.
  3. Push for a step-change in the Government’s approach to getting the right houses built in the right places. 
  4. Help our local branches continue to fight inappropriate development plans within our AONBs. 

Thank you for your support



Your details

  • £15 could help CPRE’s campaigners gain national media coverage to raise the alarm about the growing threat to our AONBs
  • £25 could help CPRE’s researchers prepare evidence-based briefings to lobby the Government for stronger and more effective protection for AONBs
  • £50 could help local CPRE campaigners challenge inappropriate development plans that threaten to put our AONB land at needless risk

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