English countryside disappearing
From the 1960s to now, the peaceful, green English countryside has been disappearing due to relentless urbanisation – highways and population growth have eroded the tranquility. In the early 1960s, the motorways had barely started to encroach and 26% of the countryside was classed as disturbed. By the 1990s, 41% of the English countryside was suffering from urban blight. By 2007, 50% has disappeared due to urban intrusion. South-east England is the worst affected with a 70% loss of undisturbed countryside. So by the end of the 21st Century, countryside free from major disturbance could all be swallowed up in most regions of England.
This is all according to new maps just published by Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE). Once tranquil areas are now subject to noise, street lights, spoiled views, power lines, airports and highways. More than 12,350 square miles of countryside have been affected since the 1960s. And since 1990, each year is witness to a further 320 square miles disappearing. As the CEO of CPRE says: “Countryside which is undisturbed by noise and development is vital for our quality of life and well-being. These maps show what the future may hold if we don’t sufficiently value our wonderful rural landscapes. As the shadow of intrusion stretches further and wider, the peace and quiet we need is harder to find.“
CPRE has just released the intrusion maps and they bring together data spanning the 1960s, 1990s and 2007. You can see the maps from the 1960s and 2007 below – click on them for fuller detail.
You can download the full report – Developing an Intrusion Map of England – here. What a sorry state of affairs.
Photo credit: CPRE