The British countryside is under threat. Unnecessary development – new roads, airports, waste facilities and urban sprawl – is eroding open spaces, blurring the line between where suburbia ends and country begins.
An area the size of Southampton is lost to development each year, and habitat destruction is driving once common animals such as otters and owls onto threatened species lists.
Disappearing woods and fields take with them values that people of all generations hold dear – a sense of tranquillity, escape, and closeness to nature.
As yet, national policy has given inadequate protection to the local environment.
So an increasing number of communities are taking the task upon themselves.
This is not a case of NIMBY-ism. Schemes to reduce dependency on car travel, to improve urban design and manage waste sustainably offer tried and tested alternatives that can keep green space intact.
All over Britain, groups of concerned citizens are challenging plans for irresponsible development, stimulating debate over the type of landscape we want our children and grandchildren to grow up in, and the quality of life we seek for ourselves today.
The Manuka Club was set up to support these local heroes and to secure a living and healthy countryside for the enjoyment of everyone.