CPRE shocked by new homes plan

The comms team at the Campaign to Protect Rural England was caught on the back foot this week when housing rocketed to the top of the political agenda.

Rural land: ripe for building?
Rural land: ripe for building?

On Tuesday, communities secretary Hazel Blears shocked campaigners by saying: ‘I think we are going to have a tussle, because some people are concerned about environmental issues. But I think the priority has to be to build these homes.’

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Gordon Brown unveiled plans for a housing bill.

The CPRE press office is operating with a skeleton staff of two after the departure of comms director Nick Schoon in May. Its head of campaigns Ben Stafford said he was given ‘no prior warning’ of the announcements.

Meanwhile, the WWF press machine questioned the sincerity of Brown’s green credentials. Head of press David Cowdry said: ‘The two key environmental issues are the Marine Act and the Climate Bill. If Brown is serious about the environment, he needs to ­address both of these as a matter of urgency.’

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