Flooding one year on – are we better prepared now?

As Kent approaches the anniversary of the devastating floods of Christmas 2013, CPRE Kent is asking will we fare better this winter?

We are planning a major conference to look at the lessons learned from the December 2013 floods which left hundreds of people evacuated from their homes and thousands without power.

Flooding: Fears, Facts and the Future, organised in partnership with Kent County Council, will be held at County Hall, Maidstone on 6th February 2015.

“We feel it is vital to look at what has happened since those disastrous floods and what prevention work is planned and then to assess whether this will be enough to prevent the terrible damage to homes and land in the future,” said CPRE Kent Vice President Richard Knox-Johnston. Continue reading


Christmas Cheer

The annual Christmas party for our volunteers was treated to a rendition of CPRE Kent President Graham Clarke’s latest poem.

Graham Clarke and CPRE members

Graham Clarke and CPRE members

Marshian Invasion

The anxious folk from nearby Lydd
Said “It can’t happen.” But it did
Invaders that the marsh folk feared
Quite suddenly had all appeared
So now among the marshland farms
They flail their three white swirling arms
Said Bill Shepherd to his dog
“They’re ‘ere to blow away the fog”
“Don’t talk daft Bill,” said his mate
“They’re ‘ere to ‘elp ‘lectrificate”
A good stiff breeze, that makes em whir
A sort of turbine ‘arvester
To ‘ave ‘em seems to me a pity
To light up someone else’s city.

©Graham Clarke 2014

Merry Christmas to all from CPRE Kent

Merry Christmas to all from CPRE Kent

 

 

 

 


Flooding conference announced

CPRE Kent has announced that it is to hold a major conference on the lessons learned from the 2013 floods, how effective the flood prevention measures are this winter and if anything more needs to be done, including innovative solutions.

The conference, jointly organised with Kent County Council, will be held in Maidstone on February 6th 2015 next year. Keynote speakers include the Rt Hon Damian Green MP, Leader of Kent County Council Paul Carter CBE and Chairman of Yalding Parish Council Geraldine Brown. The Environment Agency and Climate Change Council will be represented and the conference will be chaired by CPRE Kent Vice President Richard Knox-Johnston.

Following the Government’s announcement last week (December 3rd) of £2.3 billion for flood defence schemes, Richard Knox-Johnston said: “We welcome the recognition that flooding is an issue which must be addressed and will closely monitor how effective the flood defence schemes are. We question whether this will be enough as we understand it is not new money and maintenance is as important as capital projects.

Photo - BBC South East

Photo – BBC South East

“We understand why the Government has areas of high population as a priority, but the protection of farmland should be recognised too because the economy depends on our agriculture.

“We must also highlight the danger of building on floodplains and ensure that proper planning controls are in place to minimise the risk to householders.

“We are organising this conference to examine the lessons learned, in particular after the terrible floods of last winter, and look towards future actions and initiatives.”

9th December 2014


Fracking debate

CPRE Kent has taken part in two debates on fracking in the last fortnight. Vice-President Richard Knox-Johnston and Chairman of the Environment Group Graham Warren attended the

Graham Warren and debate chairman Trevor Sturgess

Graham Warren and debate chairman Trevor Sturgess

 

debate at Christ Church University on November 19th which attracted great media interest.

And Graham Warren was on the key speaker against fracking at a debate hosted at Hadlow College and organised by the Rural Business Group. CPRE Kent Director Hilary Newport also attended.

To read Graham Warren’s detailed report on Shale
Gas and Oil Exploration and Development in the
Weald and East Kent click here. To read more of
CPRE Kent’s views on fracking click here.

December 2nd 2014.


2014 AGM

More than 80 members attended CPRE Kent’s AGM at Lenham Village Hall on Friday (21 November). Prior to the meeting, there was a highly entertaining playlet on 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, written by President Graham Clarke and performed by Graham together with Vice Presidents Sir Robert Worcester and Amanda Cottrell.

Graham Clarke and his Magna Carta masks

Graham Clarke and his Magna Carta masks

The premiere of a new playlet on the signing of the Magna Carta

The premiere of a new playlet on the signing of the Magna Carta

 

 

 

 

 

 

During the formal AGM members heard about the campaigns over the last year and priorities for the year ahead. Elections to the board were held and the annual accounts approved.

AGM members audience cropped

The keynote speaker was the National Chairman of CPRE Su Sayer who spoke of her lifelong love of the countryside and the challenges ahead in protecting it. Continue reading


Fracking debate tonight

CPRE Kent members will be attending the Fracking debate at Canterbury Christ Church University tonight November 19th).

Vice President Richard Knox-Johnston and Environment Group Chair Graham Warren will take part. Gerwyn Williams, chairman of Coastal Oil and Gas, and Nick Riley, a geologist and director of the consultancy Carboniferous Ltd, will speak in favour of fracking with five against.


Annual General Meeting – this Friday

21 November 2014, lunch 12.30pm, AGM 2.00pm, Lenham Community Centre, Groom Way, Lenham ME17 2QT.

Following the AGM business the Keynote Speaker will be Su Sayer (National Chair of CPRE)
followed by a panel discussion on development in Kent villages.

To view the agenda click here

The full accounts, the annual report and further information on nominees are available on request from the Branch Office.

To view a calendar of outings planned for 2015 click here.

Your Built Heritage

CPRE Kent is encouraging everyone in the county to take more notice of the quality and history of the buildings where they live. More than 30 people representing heritage and amenity associations from across Kent attended a workshop today (Thursday 13 November) to find out about getting involved in drawing up Local Lists.

KHB workshop VE 007KHB Workshop VE (7) (3)

 

There are more listed buildings in Kent than in any other county, but there are many thousands more which are worth protecting from demolition or unsympathetic conversion.  At best, they might enjoy the protection of a conservation area, but most do not and their value may not even be recognised by the community.

Sittingbourne mill_1918Blue Boys Postcard mid c20

Continue reading


Gatwick Protest Meeting

CPRE Kent joined colleagues from CPRE Sussex and CPRE Surrey at the Gatwick Protest Meeting on 22nd November. It is estimated that around 1,000 people attended in total, including all the campaign groups, six MPs, one MEP and many local councillors.

Photo from Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign

Photo from Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign

We should be focusing on making the best use of the runway capacity we’ve got, and more environment-friendly transport strategies, not carving up the south east for more runways. We believe we should maximise the use of cross-Channel routes to France and ensure that flights are not crossing to the near continent half empty.

The Government should set Air Passenger Duty on planes, rather than individuals, as an incentive to airlines to only operate those services that are full. Better allocation of runway slots would provide all the additional passenger capacity needed and avoid untold damage to the countryside, including further loss of the little tranquility that remains in the South East of England.

Airport Expansion consultation opens

We will be campaigning to protect the tranquillity of West Kent by calling for changes in flight paths and saying NO to a second runway at Gatwick.

We are calling for the permanent withdrawal of the P-RNAV route which has caused intolerable levels of noise due to the concentration of the flight paths over parts of West Kent. We must stop the loss of tranquillity in this area.

London_Gatwick_Airport_(6555355805)wikki

And we say the second runway at Gatwick is not needed. We should focusing on making the best use of the runway capacity there, and more environment-friendly transport strategies, not carving up the south east for more runways. We believe we should maximise the use of cross-Channel routes to France and ensure that flights are not crossing to the near continent half empty.

We are pleased that Kent County Council said today (November 24th) that it is now opposed to a second runway at Gatwick and is also campaigning against the intolerable noise levels affecting some of Kent’s residents. Read more on our Gatwick campaign here.

24 Nov 2014


Civic Voice Convention

CPRE Kent took part in the Civic Voice Convention in Canterbury last weekend (24-25 October 2014).

Canterbury District Chairman Barrie Gore meets Gryff Rhys-Jones

Canterbury District Chairman Barrie Gore meets Gryff Rhys-Jones

The event was opened by Gryff Rhys-Jones, who visited the CPRE Kent stand and met members.

CPRE Kent Chairman Christine Drury said: “We were delighted to meet like-minded delegates from all over the country who share our passion for place and communities and would like to thank the Canterbury Society and Civic Voice for organising this brilliant occasion. It was also an opportunity to talk about the challenges to the context and setting of Canterbury that would arise if the emerging local plan is not improved.”

 

Have your say on Paramount Park

CPRE Kent is people to take part in the London Paramount consultations that run from 5th November until the 15th November at locations in Dartford, Greenhithe, Gravesend, Grays, Maidstone, Northfleet, and Swanscombe.

We broadly support the project for a major entertainment resort on the Swanscombe Peninsula, but want measures put in place to ensure it does not damage the local community.

For more details  click here.