Rural body poaches policy head

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has raided the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds for its new head of campaigns.

The countryside campaigners have hired Ben Stafford, former senior parliamentary officer at the RSPB.

He starts in the new role next week (Monday 16 April), in replace of Estelle Taylor who has left to become comms director at pressure group Transport 2000.

Stafford, who has been with the RSPB since 1999, will become part of the CPRE's policy department, reporting to director of policy Neil Sinden. Campaigns he is expected to oversee this year include work to influence the government's proposals for planning reform following the Barker Review into housing supply.

Zoe Parks, CPRE director of development, said: ‘Our policy and campaigns work in 2007 will focus on promoting our new tranquillity maps, promoting sustainable farming and local foods, pressing for the recognition of the importance of landscape to environmental quality and maintaining a "brownfield first" approach to housing supply.'

Stafford will, in effect, be the main point of contact with Parliament and fix meetings with MPs. The team is also responsible for producing the CPRE's quarterly newsletter, Fieldwork, a monthly campaign email -and improving the effectiveness of the CPRE's office staff and field volunteers.

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