Are you interested in helping protect the farming and countryside heritage in the Fens?

Michael Monk, outgoing chairman of the CPRE

Michael Monk, outgoing chairman of the CPRE - Credit: Archant

The Fens is under threat because of an emphasis on opportunities for growth in our area, according to the out-going chairman of the county’s Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).

Michael Monk, who has been regional chairman for six years, says his successor will face a huge challenge to preserve our countryside and farming heritage.

Mr Monk said: “We have had to deal with enormous pressures on the Cambridgeshire countryside. This has come from all types of development as a result of the Government’s emphasis on opportunities for economic growth in our area.

“Our concern has been that this has sometimes been at the expense of the environment.

“We are looking at plans for over 100,000 additional homes in our area.

“With that comes the demand for more roads and other infrastructure, all of which eats up our finite and productive farmland.”

He says this pressure has come at a time when the Government embarked on a series of revisions to the planning system.

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“These revisions are designed to simplify or make it easier to get planning permission in order to build more homes regardless of objections from local people or concerns about the environmental damage.

“Whilst we accept the need for more homes, especially affordable ones, development has to be of the right scale and location, which is why we support the principle of re-using brownfield sites as a priority.”

CPRE is looking for a new volunteer to lead the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Branch.

“Our new chairman will find that facing these challenges on behalf of our countryside is very rewarding,” he said.

“I also know that he or she will have great help from our band of dedicated volunteers and professional support from our national office staff.” The CPRE was founded 90 years ago to address concerns about the unplanned explosion of suburban and ribbon development.

• If you are interested in becoming chairman of the CPRE contact Michael Monk 01480 456634, 07761 372224 or