1980s – 2000s
1980s and the Halvergate Marshes Campaign
The 1980’s brought fresh campaigning to protect two of Norfolk’s most beautiful areas. The Broads Bill was welcomed in 1987, although it highlighted the difference between those managing the ecology of the area and those with vested tourist interests. The branch was involved in consultation throughout the development of the Bill. Halvergate Marshes was also under threat and the Branch campaigned intensively with Friends Of the Earth and other groups to prevent drainage of the wetlands for large-scale ploughing. The eventual conservation scheme that was launched by the Agricultural Ministry encouraged farmers to maintain traditional cattle grazing on the marshes and protect and area with special scientific and wildlife interest. The campaign was seen as a turning point in the relationship between farming and conservation and the scheme pioneering scheme became a model for the rest of Europe.
In the early 1990s, CPRE National Office suggested that branches should form ‘campaign groups’ to publicise and address contentious issues across their county. In 1992 the Branch formed a Transport Group to deal with perhaps the county’s most serious problem and later a Housing Group was kept busy in discussing the need for affordable housing for Norfolk. The Branch increased its membership to over 1000 members and our volunteers monitored planning applications in every district of the county, making statements and appeals where necessary.
After the turn of the millennium, the branch changed its name from the Norfolk Society back to its original name CPRE Norfolk. An office was established in the city at Norwich’s Environment Centre, The Greenhouse, leading to improved interest in the branch’s work and a new stream of volunteers. In 2004, the branch organised Norfolk’s first conference for planning professionals on light pollution and hosted the launch of the Government’s Select Committee Report into light pollution. In 2006, the branch was involved for many months in giving evidence to the Examination-in-Public of the new East of England Regional Plan. And in 2007, following a successful campaign to promote sustainable buildings in Norfolk, CPRE Norfolk launched the UK’s first ‘open eco-homes’ event, opening up some of Norfolk’s most energy-efficient buildings for tours with architects, builders and homeowners. The 75th Anniversary of CPRE Norfolk was celebrated in 2008.