Thousands join Star Count 2020 to show the value of dark skies

In February, more than 2,400 people across the country took part in a star-counting survey run by CPRE, the countryside charity. By counting the number of stars visible in the constellation of Orion, it helps build up a picture of the nation’s views of the night sky.
CPRE believes that a star-filled night sky is one of the most magical sights of the countryside. And throughout the coronavirus lockdown, gazing up at the stars will have brought comfort to many. Yet light pollution can spread from towns and cities into the countryside, denying many people the chance to experience the wonder and tranquillity of seeing a sky full of stars.
The results of this citizen science survey, carried out annually, suggest that across the UK 61 per cent of people are in areas with severe light pollution, counting fewer than 10 stars. This is a rise of 4 per cent from last year, when 57 per cent of people taking part were in these areas.
Crispin Truman, CPRE chief executive, said: “Gazing up at the heavens can inspire and help lift our spirits, especially when many of us are forced to do so from within our homes at the moment. It is a shame that few of us can see the starry skies in all their glory, without the intrusion of light pollution.”
There was some good news at the other end of the scale, with 3 per cent of people counting more than 30 stars within Orion, meaning they were in areas with truly dark skies. That’s a rise from 2 per cent in 2019.
Families who took part and were able to see plenty of stars on the night of their count reported how much they loved the experience. In addition, 99 per cent of star-counters asked said they believed that every child should be able to experience the wonder of a star-filled night sky.
Bob Mizon from the British Astronomical Association’s Commission for Dark Skies (CfDS) said: “It’s wonderful to hear about families having fun doing the Star Count. Children should be able to see the Milky Way, their own galaxy, by looking up at the sky, not looking online!”
CPRE and CfDS believe that councils have the power to give people better views of the night sky. And, when asked, 82 per cent of star-counters responding to a survey said their local council should do more to tackle light pollution.
Mr Truman added: “We’d like to see councils adopting better policies in local plans to tackle light pollution and protect and enhance our darkest skies, where people can still experience the wonder of a star-filled night sky.
“There are straightforward steps councils can take, in consultation with local people, that don’t just reduce light pollution but save energy and money, too.’

  • See the map with the results of CPRE’s Star Count 2020 here

Friday, May 29, 2020

Love Thanet’s remaining countryside? Please join us at Eco Expo in Margate if you do

The development onslaught on Thanet has surely never been greater. Its natural environment already trashed and degraded to a scarcely credible degree, you might be tempted to simply throw your hands in the air and give up as the diggers move on to yet another site.
However, please don’t! You are not alone – other people do care about the isle and are trying to do help salvage something good from the wreckage.
Some of those people will be at an event called Eco Expo being held in Margate this month – and CPRE Kent will be among them, hosting a stall at which you can learn more about what we do.
The “ecological afternoon” includes Karen Jones from the University of Kent speaking on The Urban Green Idea, Dr Clive Nuttman addressing Biodiversity – Global to Local and Dr Hannah Scott talking on Verges – Nothing to be Wasted.
It promises to be an uplifting event – please join us.

  • Eco Expo is being held at the Margate School (old Woolworth building), 33 High Street, Margate CT9 1EA, on Saturday, March 28, from 2pm

Be a star… get out and count the stars

CPRE’s Star Count… a highlight of the year for many

This week, CPRE, the countryside charity, is inviting everyone to join in with Star Count 2020, a fun and easy way to enjoy the wonders of the universe.
By simply counting the number of stars they can see in the Orion constellation up until Friday, February 28, those taking part will help map the best and worst places to see the awesome sight of a star-filled night sky.
Throughout history, people have gazed up at the magical starry night sky in wonder and used the cosmos to navigate. Looking at the stars we get a feeling of tranquillity rarely experienced in today’s frantic lives.
Seeing dark skies full of stars is something we associate with the countryside, and part of reconnecting with the natural world. However, places to view these spellbinding sights are becoming harder to find, even in the countryside.
Last year’s Star Count results showed that light pollution, often caused by the glow and glare from street and outdoor household and sports lighting, is making beautiful starry skies a rare sight for many of us.
Just 2 per cent of people who took part in Star Count 2019 told us they were viewing a truly dark sky.
Emma Marrington, CPRE’s starry skies expert, said: “A starry night sky is one of the most magical sights the countryside can offer, connecting people to such an important part of our natural heritage. But many people don’t get to experience this beauty due to light pollution. We want to get people out counting the stars and helping to save them now and for future generations to enjoy!”
As well as preventing us from seeing the stars and wonders of our Milky Way galaxy, the Northern Lights and meteors (shooting stars), light pollution has serious impacts. It disrupts the natural behaviour of wildlife and can be harmful for our health. It’s also a waste of energy at a time when many people are trying to live more sustainably.
Using the results from the annual Star Count, CPRE will lobby the government and local authorities to tackle light pollution and also highlight which ‘dark sky’ areas need to be protected and enhanced by strong policies.
CPRE’s Star Count is supported by the British Astronomical Association’s Commission for Dark Skies (CfDS).
Expert astronomer Bob Mizon from the CfDS said: “As well as being a wonderful opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy the night sky, Star Count is starting to give us some really useful information. We’re hoping many more people will join in this year and give us the best map ever.”
To take part, star counters are asked to choose a clear night this week.
Without using a telescope of binoculars, people can then count the stars within the rectangle shape formed by Orion, except the four stars on the outer corners, then submit their results at cpre.org.uk/starcount

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

An unforgettable day in London

 

The CPRE Kent party’s in full swing at the Lady Ottoline pub in Bloomsbury

All aboard! The journey on the underground railway at the Postal Museum was a highlight for all

A party of 25 people who know a good time when they see one enjoyed CPRE Kent’s trip to London last week.
The excursion (on Friday, June 1) was organised for members, friends and supporters and entailed visits to the Charles Dickens Museum in Holborn and the Postal Museum in Farringdon, where an undoubted highlight was a journey on the old underground postal railway.
If all that wasn’t enough, a splendid lunch was taken at the delightful Lady Ottoline pub in Bloomsbury.
Such was the impression made that two people on the trip signed up to join CPRE Kent as members – there’s a recommendation if ever there was one.
Our next event is Christmas dinner at The George in Molash on Friday, December 7. Put the date in your diary now!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

The AGM is this week! Please join us…

This year’s AGM is being held on Friday (this week – November 17!) at the usual venue of Lenham Community Centre.

This time we are holding the meeting in the morning, starting at 10.30am and ending after lunch, which will be served at 12.30. 

Please let us know if you would like to appoint a proxy if you are unable to vote, or if you would like to join us for lunch after the meeting (the charge for lunch is £12 per person, cheques payable to CPRE Kent, please, to be received no later than Wednesday, November 8).

The agenda, location details and forms for lunch and proxy votes, together with the minutes of last year’s AGM, are available at the links below:

2017 Final Draft Accounts
AGM 2017 agenda
AGM 2017 location map_proxy vote_lunch
Minutes AGM 2016

We hope to see you there!

Updated Tuesday, November 14, 2017

AGM 2017

Our AGM will be held on Friday 17th November 2017, at the usual venue of Lenham Community Centre. This time we will hold the AGM in the morning, starting at 10:30, and close the meeting after lunch which will be served at 12:30. Please let us know if you would like to appoint a proxy if you are unable to vote, or if you would like to join us for lunch after the AGM (the charge for lunch is £12 per person, cheques payable to CPRE Kent, please, to be received no later than 8th November). The agenda, location details and forms for lunch and proxy votes, together with the minutes of last year’s AGM, are available at the links below:

2016-final-dated-accounts AGM 2017 agenda AGM 2017 location map_proxy vote_lunch Minutes AGM 2016

We hope to see you there!


AGM 2016

Seventy members attended our 2016 AGM on Friday. As well as the election of officers and approval of the annual report and accounts, they heard from president Graham Clarke about the wealth of wonderful building materials in Kent, followed by his poem about St Eanswythe. To read the poem click here.

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The keynote speaker was Sue Chalkley, Chief executive of Hastoe Housing Association, who talked of the challenges of getting affordable homes built. You can view her presentation below:

sue-chalkley-hastoe-agm-2016-presentation

Sue Chalkley, Hastoe

Sue Chalkley, Hastoe

 

She showed many examples of high quality developments.

affordable-homes-2-hastoe affordable-homes-3-hastoe affordable-homes-4-hastoe affordable-homes-5-hastoe affordable-homes-6-hastoe

To read the minutes click here.

November 21st 2016.


2016 AGM – Friday 18th November

The 2016 AGM of CPRE Kent will be held at 2pm on Friday 18th November at Lenham Village Hall.

Flax field by Vicky Ellis

Flax field by Vicky Ellis

At the meeting the Honorary Officers and members of the Board will be elected, accounts considered and membership and volunteering opportunities discussed.

Sue Chalkley

Sue Chalkley

Helen Whately

Helen Whately

Following the AGM business the Keynote Speakers will be Sue Chalkley OBE FCIH, Chief Executive of Hastoe Housing Association, and Helen Whately MP who will talk about “Delivering Rural Affordable Housing”.

 

 

 

 

 

The AGM will be preceded by a ploughman’s lunch at 12:30 (£12 per person). Between 12:30 and 2pm there will be an exhibition of CPRE Kent’s campaigning work, as well as interesting books and gifts for sale.

To view the agenda click here.

To view the invitation and book the ploughman’s lunch click here.

To read the minutes of the 2015 AGM click here.

For nominations see the letter here and form here.

The director’s report and financial statements to 31 March 2016 are available here.
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October 11th 2016.

Dover AGM next weekend

The Dover district committee of CPRE Kent holds its annual general meeting next Saturday (8th October) at 2pm at The Royal Hotel in Deal.

The speaker will be Kent branch chairman Christine Drury who will outline the work of CPRE nationally and at county and district level and take questions.

Dover lane by Graham V photo

Dover lane by Graham V photo

Members and anyone interested in CPRE is welcome to attend. Tea and coffee will be served at the end.

CPRE Kent is keep to attract new members throughout the county. Don’t forget members are entitled to two-for-one or half price entry to many gardens and attractions across England and receive both Kent Voice and Countryside Voice twice a year.

For more information contact Derek  Wanstall, Tel: 01304 363610 email: d.wanstall22@btinternet.co

 


Celebrating 90 years of protecting the countryside

Our garden party at to celebrate CPRE’s 90th anniversary was a wonderful occasion. We had a fitting 90 guests and enjoyed the lovely setting of Hever castle. It was also an opportunity to raise our concerns about airport expansion as well as mark 90 years of campaigning to protect our amazing countryside.

A very special couple joined the celebrations – long time CPRE members Peter and Jean Davies who both turned 90 this year, along with the Queen of course. Peter cut the specially made CPRE cake.

All photos by CPRE Senior Planner Paul Buckley – thank you to everyone who made the event such a success.

Peter Davies, aged 90, cutting the CPRE 90th anniversary cake

Peter Davies, aged 90, cutting the CPRE 90th anniversary cake

Peter and Jean Davies, former Kent members, celebrated 90th birthdays on 26/3/1926 and 15/3/1926 respectively

Peter and Jean Davies, former Kent members, celebrated 90th birthdays on 26/3/1926 and 15/3/1926 respectively

 

 

Among the 90 guests were the chairmen of CPRE Kent, Sussex and Surrey, aviation campaigners, many committee chairmen and members of CPRE Kent, our president Craham Clarke and vice presidents Amanda Cottrell DL and Richard Knox-Johnston.

 

Julia Robinson from Wakehurst; Sally Pavey, CPRE Sussex; Brendan Sewill, Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign; Duncan Leslie, Chief Executive of Hever Castle; Martin Barraud, Gatwick Obviously Not

Julia Robinson from Wakehurst; Sally Pavey, CPRE Sussex; Brendan Sewill, Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign; Duncan Leslie, Chief Executive of Hever Castle; Martin Barraud, Gatwick Obviously Not

Wendy and Graham Clarke with Sarah Sturt from Kent Life

Wendy and Graham Clarke with Sarah Sturt from Kent Life

CPRE Chief Executive Shaun Spiers and CPRE Kent vice president Richard Knox-Johnston

CPRE Chief Executive Shaun Spiers and CPRE Kent vice president Richard Knox-Johnston

Director Hilary Newport, Wendy and president Graham Clarke, vice president Amanda Cottrell DL, chairman Christine Drury

Director Hilary Newport, Wendy and president Graham Clarke, vice president Amanda Cottrell DL, chairman Christine Drury

IMG_3916 resize

 

 

 

CPRE Kent Director Hilary Newport; Ashford Chair Hilary Moorby; Maidstone Chair Gary Thomas; Kate Britten and Sevenoaks Chair Nigel Britten

CPRE Kent Director Hilary Newport; Ashford Chair Hilary Moorby; Maidstone Chair Gary Thomas; Kate Britten and Sevenoaks Chair Nigel Britten

 


Looking forward to celebrating 90 years of CPRE at our garden party

Wonderful celebration planned to celebrate our 90 years

Monday 5th September, 4-6pm, Hever Castle, £30 per ticket

Ninety years of protecting the countryside, the wonderful landscapes we love and our passion to preserve this scenery and rural heritage for future generations – that’s surely something to celebrate!

So we are looking forward to our special garden party to mark the 90th anniversary of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, an especially appropriate milestone coming in the 90th birthday year of CPRE’s Patron, Her Majesty the Queen.

Photo, Peter Smith

Photo, Peter Smith

Hever Castle in West Kent will provide the perfect setting of a picturesque and historic English castle and gardens. Hever epitomises what CPRE is about: celebrating amazing landscapes and heritage and the importance of campaigning to protect the countryside. The party will not only celebrate our 90 years of campaigning, but will highlight current threats, in particular the effect of aviation noise on tranquillity which has such a big impact on Hever and parts of Kent, Surrey and Sussex.

Photo, Pete Seaward

Tickets are now sold out but we will be posting photos of the celebration and reporting it in our autumn edition of Kent Voice.

Payments can still be made via the button here (scroll down to the ‘merchandise payments’ button) if you have booked a ticket but still need to pay.

We look forward to seeing many of you there – monday 5th 4-6pm, entry to the grounds from 3pm.

CPRE_90_rgb

August 30th 2016.


Great weekend at Kent County Show

We had a great weekend meeting supporters and new people at the Kent County Show. We discussed our latest campaigns with HRH the Duke of Kent and were joined on our stand by our new vice president Helen Whately MP.

Thank you to all our volunteers who helped out. We recruited 18 new members which is great news for the charity.

HRH Duke of Kent visits our stand

HRH Duke of Kent visits our stand

 

Hilary Newport, Helen Whately MP, Richard Knox Johnston and Christine Drury

Hilary Newport, Helen Whately MP, Richard Knox Johnston and Christine Drury

Kent Show 2016 017 Kent Show 2016 003

 

 

 

 

 

 


Help CPRE Kent in volunteers’ week June 1-12 – it’s fun!

Tessa Woodward photo May 2014     By Tessa Woodward, CPRE Kent Membership Volunteer

CPRE Kent does fantastic work in our county to protect the countryside as well as campaign against aircraft noise, light pollution, environmental and transport concerns. We also promote tranquillity and a thriving rural sector with affordable housing and support for farming.

With more members and more volunteers we could do much more! So we are launching a volunteer and member drive. Will you help us?

Lots of people volunteer
After reading a piece in a magazine called ‘Country Living’ a while back, about people volunteering as helpers for riding for the disabled, as mountain rescuers, conservationists, and staff at bird observatories, I was reminded of how very many people volunteer with charities. Charitable associations as varied as hospices, prisons, brownie and cub-scout troupes depend on the goodwill, time and energy of volunteers. And many of us have benefited at some time or other in our turn from a helping hand offered by a neighbour or work colleague when children have needed picking up or lawns mown at fraught times!

Why volunteer?
So, why do people give of their time and energy for no pay? Partly out of an instinct for community no doubt, but also because we learn things, get the chance to do something interesting, enjoy the company, and find it meaningful! In one survey I saw it was even suggested that people who volunteered actually felt healthier and more cheerful as a result of volunteering!

Blossom VIC      Blue Bell Vic (3)

Photos by Vicky Ellis

So, how do you start?
How do people become volunteers? Nine times out of ten people say it is “Because I was asked!” In other words it is not really ‘volunteering’ but rather ‘being invited to volunteer’. Please now consider yourself invited!

What do volunteers need?
Based on my own experience, I’d say important ingredients are: feeling good about a cause or an issue, being clear about what the task is, having a bit of time to contribute to it, having a skill or being prepared to learn a skill, having what a friend of mine calls team mindedness, that is, the willingness to work as a member of a team and, finally, a sense of responsibility about what we have promised to do.

Kent Show 002 kent show 2015

Our stand at the Kent County Show 2015

What can make the experience rewarding from the volunteer’s point of view?
A sense of achievement, a bit of acknowledgement or recognition in the form of, say, a ’thank you’ from a team leader, the reward of belonging to a good team where you have a bit of fun, humour and celebration sometimes, personal and professional development gained from meeting new people and ideas and improving skills and a sense of meaning and purpose as you contribute your energy to protecting the English countryside. We promise to do our bit to make sure that our side of all this happens!

So how can I get started?
If you are interested in what you have read thus far and, like us, are passionate about the English countryside, why not get in touch with us? We are looking for volunteers who have a little time or lots of time!

 

Charing Flowerbed3VIC Tortoiseshell

Photos by Vicky Ellis

Examples of volunteer opportunities/things we need help with
Events
help by coming along and staffing a CPRE stall at a local event such as the Kent Show, vintage     fairs, village fetes,  farmers’ markets
help our office to organise an event such as a garden party, an awards event or a photographic   competition
organise a litter pick in your area, take photos and send them in
start a community herb/wild flower garden, take photos and tell us all about it!
become our events co-ordinator
Membership
become a CPRE Kent member
buy gift CPRE memberships for friends and family for Christmas, birthdays, and thank you               presents
help in the Charing office to follow up on contacts made at local events
Writing and communications
write a blog post for us on an aspect of the Kent countryside
do an email interview on ‘Why I became a CPRE member’, ‘Why I volunteer for CPRE’ or ‘Why I     have decided to leave a legacy to CPRE’
contact your local newsletter or parish magazine and ask if we can write an article about CPRE,     free, for its pages
Outreach
drop off issues of our periodical ‘Kent Voice’ and CPRE leaflets around your village/area
contact your Parish Council about it becoming an institutional member of CPRE
go into your local school and run one of our ‘Across the Generations’ projects for CPRE
send us the name of possible corporate sponsors you know
send us the name of any celebrity you know and would be willing to approach on our behalf
help us to join in with other conservation charities such as The Kent Wildlife Trust, or The                 Woodland Trust in their tree planting project
become our Outreach Volunteer
Donations
offer a prize for a CPRE raffle, quiz or awards ceremony
offer a donation once or regularly
tell us if you have special skills in e.g. photography, video editing, responding to planning                 applications, writing grant applications, competition judging
help protect the English countryside in future by offering us a legacy

Interested in these or other ideas? If so, come and join us! It’s fun!.
CPRE Kent is waiting to welcome you!
Contact Vicky Ellis on 01233 714540 or vicky.ellis@cprekent.org.uk

 

Aircraft noise – important debate

Campaign group Gatwick Obviously Not has been lobbying Gatwick to fully implement the findings of the Arrivals Review .

This set out 23 practical steps to improve noise, the key recommendations are:

  • To reduce the number of aircraft holding over land
  • To improve use of continuous descent arrivals which would generate significantly less noise, and increase the sequencing and spacing of arrivals
  • To accelerate the modification of the Airbus A320 family of aircraft to reduce the whining noise they make during the approach phase of flight
  • To establish an independently chaired noise management board to oversee joint strategies to deal with noise around the airport
  • To develop a comprehensive online complaint management system

Now four MPs have written to National Air traffic services and the Civil aviation Authority to ensure these are implemented in full. See the letter here: http://www.gatwickobviouslynot.org/

Photo by Chris Sampson

Photo by Chris Sampson

Plus Tom Tugendhat MP has secured a Debate in Westminster Hall (in the Palace of Westminster) tomorrow (Wednesday 20th April) at 9.30am on ‘The effect of aircraft noise on local communities’:

http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/offices/commons/speakers-office/wadjourns/

This is all good news for communities in Kent who have been blighted by aircraft noise and Gatwick should work fully with NATC and the CAA to ensure everything is done to alleviate this.

Gatwick is running a community engagement plan – find out how you can get involved here:

http://www.gatwickairport.com/business-community/aircraft-noise/airspace-overview/arrivals-review/

April 19th 2016