Local Elections – does your candidate support the countryside?

Polling station steve-houghton-burnett-Ak63QkdaGsU-unsplash

18th April 2023

Credit: Steve Houghton-Burnett on Unsplash

This May, we are asking candidates in Local Elections to consider 4 key topics.

  • Brownfield First

CPRE’s 2022 State of brownfield report shows that the amount of previously developed land continues to grow across England. Currently there’s enough space for over 1.2 million homes to be built across 23,000 sites covering more than 27,000 hectares of brownfield land.

Will your candidates commit to supporting a genuine brownfield first policy?

  • Rooftop Renewables

Opposition to industrial-sized solar farms in the countryside is growing, yet there is huge untapped potential for rooftop solar across the country, with 250,000 hectares of south facing commercial roof space alone, and a further 20,000 hectares of car parks. Making the best use of this rooftop space would dramatically reduce the pressure for controversial greenfield solar farms such as the 10km2 Botley West proposal.

Will your candidates commit to support a renewables strategy that prioritises rooftops, surface car parks and brownfield sites?

  • Green Belt

The Oxford Green Belt is irreplaceable – once it is lost to development, it is gone forever.  It plays a vital planning role, preserving the historic character and setting of Oxford City as well the surrounding countryside and villages. It also provides benefits for health, biodiversity and nature, climate mitigation and food production.

Will your candidates commit to supporting development on the Green Belt only in genuinely exceptional circumstances, where the development is widely accepted as in the public interest and when it could only achieve its purpose if it were located on Green Belt land?

  • Hedgerows

Hedgerows are power houses for nature, but we have lost almost 50% of them since World War 2.  The Climate Change Committee has called for a 40% increase in the extent of hedgerows by 2050 to help tackle the climate emergency.

Will your candidates commit to supporting Local Plan and nature recovery policies that will help deliver a 40% increase in Oxfordshire’s hedgerows?