Campaigners are calling on the people of Sussex to sign a charter calling on the authorities to protect the countryside.

The Sussex branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE Sussex) have today launched their Sussex Countryside Charter calling on MPs and councillors to ensure better protection for the countryside.

Now the charity is calling on the residents of Sussex to make their voices heard, by signing the Charter which aims to give the public a voice in countryside development.

Fracking David Johnson, CPRE Sussex chairman, said: “We are saying loud and clear that whatever the government’s original intentions, the reformed planning system is not working.

“Local people are being disregarded, open countryside is being developed while suitable brownfield land is left unused and too few affordable homes are being built.”

With an increase in the number of applications for oil and gas exploration, both through conventional wells and potentially through fracking, CPRE Sussex believes that short-term goals are driving the current national planning system.

Mr Johnson also said the rush for gas risks harming the character and tranquillity of villages.

With a drilling application facing the people of Kirdford and Wisborough Green, long-term resident and member of Keep Kirdford and Wisborough Green group Sue Jameson said: “We want to leave a legacy of peace and tranquillity for our grandchildren, not one that is fraught with potential for long-term pollution and degradation of our glorious Sussex landscape.”

Richard Hill, CPRE Sussex spokesperson for Chichester area has called the site totally unusable. The Charter sets out six key commitments that CPRE Sussex believes is essential to protect the countryside. It includes affordable housing and the condemnation of the proposed extra runway at Gatwick.