COTON RESERVE APPLAUDED IN UK GREEN BELT REPORT
Natural England survey puts village countryside reserve on the map
A new report from Natural England - the government's independent advisor on the natural environment – has named Coton Countryside Reserve in Cambridge as an example of how Green Belt land in and around busy urban centres should be protected and used.
Managed by local charity Cambridge Past, Present & Future (CambridgePPF), Coton Countryside Reserve is one of fourteen sites in the country identified in Green Belts: a Greener Future – the first major survey to evaluate the environmental state of Green Belt Land in the UK.
Produced jointly by Natural England and the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE), the report highlights the need for Green Belt land to be managed positively to enhance the natural environment and the lives of people in and around major conurbations. It recommends that Green Belt areas in the UK, like Coton Countryside Reserve should be:
- Recognised and protected: Rather than being regarded as a planning designation, Green Belt land should be actively managed to deliver attractive landscapes, wildlife rich habitats, places for recreation, healthy soils, fresh water, woodland and improved air quality.
- Invested in and improved: Green Belt land should be protected as an open rural area but also actively used as a recreational resource and a production source for local food, fuel and fibre.
- Better connected and networked: Pockets of Green Belt should be linked to other urban green spaces and the wider countryside to form ecological and green recreation networks that can help tackle the challenges of climate change and population health.
"We are delighted that Natural England has selected Coton Countryside Reserve as an example of Green Belt best practice. CambridgePPF was instrumental in the creation of the Green Belt in the 1960s, which was one of the most important planning steps ever taken locally and its influence – particularly on the urban fringes – continues to this day."
"Cambridge faces extreme challenges with up to 50% growth forecast by 2031. Recognising the need for expansion, we believe the city should evolve in a sustainable way that retains and makes most sympathetic use of the green spaces available. We campaign vigorously on this and do not believe it is necessary in the foreseeable future to release more Green Belt land to accommodate housing growth. Instead, we must continue to find exciting ways of better managing the local landscape so local communities can enjoy it for years to come. We have been doing this successfully at Wandlebury since the 1950s and are in the first phase of improving the landscape at Coton along similar lines. We are delighted that Coton is being highlighted as a good practice example in the joint report from Natural England and CPRE. Hopefully it will highlight to a wider audience the vital importance of Coton and the Green Belt to the future of Cambridge and the need for ongoing support and funding. In the meantime, we will continue to champion the tremendous value and benefits of the Green Belt to local people."
From 28th January 2010, copies of Green Belts: a Greener Future will be available to download from http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/about_us/news/2010/280110.aspx and www.CPRE.org.uk
For the full CambridgePPF press release - please click here.