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The Dorset branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) is calling for local parliamentary election candidates to be quizzed about what they will do to support a ‘thriving countryside and communities’.

Dorset CPRE says it wants to see a beautiful countryside that is accessible to all, where the voices of residents are heard in local decision-making, and the needs of communities are met. ‘We believe the proposed National Park in Dorset would help achieve these objectives,’ it said in a statement.

It continued: ‘The beauty of the Dorset countryside is highly valued, a local treasure and a shared resource for all, irrespective of ownership, ability or background. The countryside has been shown to provide a wide range of social, environmental and health benefits.’

CPRE’s manifesto has a range of recommendations that it says should be adopted by all who ‘want to see our countryside thriving’. These include tackling the climate emergency through more energy efficient homes, creating a people-led planning system and ensuring rural communities can flourish by investing in public transport and social housing.

It added: ‘We are writing to all Dorset election candidates asking them to support policies in the following areas:

‘Tackling the climate emergency – the next government must commit to ambitious measures through implementing changes to farming practices, the balance of our energy supply and by promoting energy efficiency in homes.
Best use of land – Respecting the quality and character of all of Dorset’s countryside and communities by promoting appropriate development where this is needed, including making use of brownfield land, safeguarding greenbelts, protecting ancient woodland, and prioritising sustainable transport.

‘Thriving rural communities – Championing and upholding the voice of local people through the planning system; proactively responding to local housing needs including for genuinely affordable homes for social rent; supporting local economies and supply chains, including farmers and Dorset food and drink producers; eradicate littering, encouraging everyone to enjoy the countryside for its health and wellbeing benefits.

‘A National Park for Dorset – Securing Dorset’s long-overdue National Park as a close partner and delivery arm for the Dorset Council and our communities, bringing additional resources to invest in our outstanding environment and cultural heritage and helping communities, businesses, farmers and land managers to thrive.’

The CPRE’s General Election manifesto is at www.dorset-cpre.org.uk.

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