Sussex has never needed you more!
A letter to you – from CPRE Sussex Director Kia Trainor
I am writing to seek your help in our fight to protect acres of natural environment now under threat in Sussex.
Your local CPRE has been able to step up time and time again to campaign for and support the countryside, but we urgently need your help to continue our work. If you are able to help, please make a donation now – big or small – every penny counts https://www.cpresussex.org.uk/make-a-donation
As I’m sure you are aware, this autumn the Government proposed yet more changes to the planning system and this time they are monumental.
These changes have been described by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson as “Radical reform unlike anything we have seen since the Second World War.”
Unfortunately, this ‘radical reform’ includes some policies which would be catastrophic for the Sussex countryside and its wildlife. For example, under the proposals, Sussex would be forced to develop up to 450 hectares of countryside every year.
Our Chair, Trustees, Staff and Volunteers have already:
- analysed the proposals to identify and understand the implications for Sussex
- prepared press releases and statements to raise awareness of causes of concern such as the new ‘algorithm’ for assessing local housing need
- provided advice and support to local councils, communities and networks, including technical advice
- written a joint letter to all Sussex MPs with the Sussex Wildlife Trust to highlight concerns and attended follow up emails or engaged in correspondence
- encouraged all MPs to attend parliamentary debates and some MPs including Huw Merriman, Mims Davies and Sally-Ann Hart have met with the Secretary of State to discuss concerns
- used social media to promote the national CPRE petition and MPs letter action
- supported the national CPRE response to the consultations.
CPRE Sussex develops new projects
We know that nature is under threat more than ever before and as a charity we have started several new projects to help local groups plant trees and hedges, encourage rewilding and act as ‘citizen scientists’ in protecting dark skies and wildlife. All these projects will enhance and protect the countryside. They also create opportunities for communities and families to be active which is great for their people’s health and wellbeing.
However, none of these activities can make up for the huge loss of habitats and biodiversity which will happen if we don’t challenge these bigger policy changes and make sure we get a planning system that works for local people and for nature.
We are a small charity which means we can react quickly. Importantly, we do not receive funding from donors who could limit our voice to challenge, we can say the things other organisations cannot. Most of our work is carried out by an amazing team of volunteers, but this is all co-ordinated by the office. We have a small team of committed staff who go beyond their job description and beyond their paid hours to help the charity respond to major challenges such as these. But, we have old IT systems which are creaking at the seams.
Coronavirus has shown us that we need to digitise and modernise if we are to continue to do vital work locally and nationally at all levels to shape policy and projects to get a better outcome for the countryside. We want to invest in better online systems. These will help us to train more volunteers; write more emails and letters to challenge government, local councils and developers; attend and host more virtual meetings to strengthen partnerships; and to reach more people.
How you can help
We are a small but effective charity. If you are able to help us today with a donation, of any size, it will make a great difference to our work to protect the Sussex countryside now and for future generations. We are looking at all sources of income but donations are a really important source of funding for us.
If you are able to help us, please donate on-line at: https://www.cpresussex.org.uk/make-a-donation
You can also support us by ‘Giving Membership as a Gift’, buying our wonderful Sussex Christmas cards and signing up to Easyfundraising for your online Christmas shopping. See how in More Ways You Can Help.
Thank you for taking the time to read this urgent appeal. I do hope you can support us.