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The campaign to protect Britain's countryside


Dame Fiona Reynolds, head of the National Trust, has led the campaign against the politicians and the developers. Image: Geoff Pugh

Last summer, she took the unprecedented step of writing to every National Trust member asking them to join a highly political campaign against the Government’s proposed changes to planning regulations, which were meant to encourage growth – but which she thought read “like a property developer’s charter”.

Happily, the National Trust is "an organisation with four million members spread across England, Wales and Northern Ireland - 10 times more than all the political parties put together".

The Trust, says Dame Fiona, "is about access to beauty, access to nature, access to history". That is why the organisation fought the government's planning proposals, which were arrogant and out of touch with the real needs of the people of Britain.

As a result of the campaign by the National Trust and The Telegraph, the Government published a rewritten National Planning Policy Framework on Tuesday.

As you know, the devil is in the details. We like very determined women who can keep their hands on all the details.

Now Dame Fiona will now be urging her four million members to get involved with planning decisions where they live, to make sure the countryside - lands and rivers, woodlands and meadows and downs, small birds and shy deer, footpaths and views - really is protected.

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