Archive for August, 2013

Break the bag habit: the case for a charge on reusable bags

Here is my column from the latest issue of The Countryman.

For years CPRE has urged the Government to adopt a small measure that will have a big impact on litter, a 5p charge on single-use carrier bags.  It is not the biggest environmental issue, but it is an easy one.  In 2012 over six billion bags were given out in the UK – six billion!  Plastic bags take around 1,000 years to degrade; they are an eyesore in town and country; and they harm animals – the RSPCA receives 7,000 calls a year to deal with litter-related incidents, many of them involving plastic bags. Continue reading ‘Break the bag habit: the case for a charge on reusable bags’

HS2: a response

Time to change the subject, I hope.  I am going to post my article from this month’s Countryman, but before I do so I thought I should respond briefly to some of the comments on HS2.

I would like to thank everyone for their postings.  I will have another go at explaining that CPRE’s concern is increasing rail capacity, not shortening inter-city journey times, but I will not labour the points I have already made about HS2 and carbon, or how CPRE has never seen ‘protection’ as necessitating opposition to any development in the countryside.  Nor will I respond to all the comments on the blog.  There are certainly reasons to oppose HS2, and not only if you live on the route, and some good points have been made.

But there have also been a few irritating ones, and I’ll start with those. Continue reading ‘HS2: a response’

HS2: the case for spending more

CPRE is not a cheerleader for HS2, but nor do we oppose it.  We have focussed our efforts on campaigning for the best possible high speed line, one that causes as little damage to the landscape as possible; has exemplary design, both of the day-to-day (railings, lighting, noise barriers etc.) and the large viaducts that will be necessary; and maximises benefits for the rail network as a whole, particularly rural railways.

Issuing detailed maps of the route, as we have today, is consistent with this approach. Continue reading ‘HS2: the case for spending more’

Save Pudding Wood!

Here is column in the current issue of the Countryman.  

I read two rather different books last week.  Or, to be more accurate, I read one myself, the other was read to me by my five year old daughter, Esther.

My own choice was NW by Zadie Smith, a great London novel with only a couple of fleeting references to the countryside.  Jamaican-born Marcia “had been to the ‘countryside’ and did not consider it a safe environment, preferring London, where at least you knew what you were up against.”  That was before the murder of Stephen Lawrence.  Marcia’s daughter is Natalie: “A city animal, she did not have the name for anything natural.”

One character, however, does connect.  Continue reading ‘Save Pudding Wood!’