With the 2019 local council elections just a matter of weeks away, CPRE Surrey is calling on all candidates standing for elected office to endorse the charity’s “Manifesto for Surrey”.
Andy Smith, CPRE Surrey Branch Director, explains that the group is “calling on candidates of all political parties and groups to pledge to defend the environment and heritage of our county”. The Manifesto sets out 10 main goals:
- Protect all of our precious countryside and open spaces, our Green Belt and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty from inappropriate development, urban sprawl and noise pollution, so that our county remains attractive and tranquil for future generations;
- Preserve the special character of Surrey’s towns and villages, our conservation areas and historic buildings, and safeguard their historic setting from intrusive development;
- Meet local housing needs in our towns and villages by ensuring the provision of well-designed, appropriately-sized, high-quality homes that local people can afford – including social housing for rent – and by encouraging sustainable high-density developments on brownfield, urban sites.
- Enable everyone, including our younger generation, to enjoy our environment and reconnect with nature in safe, accessible, local countryside, with well-maintained walking and cycling routes in every Surrey district;
- Promote public health and well-being by properly maintaining parks and open spaces so that all communities have opportunities for outdoor recreation in their own neighbourhoods;
- Improve environmental quality through the introduction of Clean Air Zones to reduce nitrogen dioxide and particulate air pollution, by promoting car-free housing developments, and striving to meet and exceed current targets for waste reduction and recycling;
- Ensure dark night skies – an essential part of our rural landscape and vital for our wildlife – through measures to reduce light pollution and ‘night blight’;
- Promote nature conservation, wildlife protection and increasing biodiversity through policies that encourage sustainable farming and land-use, and by fully recognising the crucial importance of the natural environment to our entire way of life;
- Support sustainable local food production by encouraging farm shops and farmers’ markets and by supporting community allotments, and maintain the vitality and prosperity of our town and village centres, local shops and services;
- Reduce traffic congestion by promoting sustainable transport, cycling and walking, and boost investment in local bus services.
“These are essential policies for the protection of Surrey’s countryside, towns and villages”, says Mr Smith, “and we call on all election candidates to endorse this Manifesto. We are also urging voters to challenge candidates on these points. The future of our environment and quality of life is at stake, and at this critical time, as they seek our votes in the forthcoming elections, we need candidates to affirm their support for a clean, green county.”