FORMER poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion visited Stroud on Thursday.

Sir Andrew stopped by the town ahead of the Campaign to Protect Rural England’s AGM for the Gloucestershire branch – for which he is the current national president.

During his visit to the Cotswold Canal Trust visitor centre at Wallbridge Lock, Sir Andrew discussed the importance of protecting Gloucestershire’s green fields against developers.

“There are a million and a half brownfield sites available, but developers are still insisting in submitting applications to build on our green fields,” he added.

"It is an issue that the CPRE are deeply concerned about."

Sir Andrew also discussed the controversial Government policy to allow shale gas schemes such as fracking.

Gloucestershire has been identified as an area under consideration for fracking – a process which involves drilling deep underground and pumping water and chemicals at high pressure to create fractures in the rock which release the gas.

"It seems to me that there are places across the country where fracking can be done however there are also places where it should not be done," added Sir Andrew.

"Personally I think more time and money needs to be spent investigating tidal power as a renewable energy."

CPRE Gloucestershire chairman Charlie Watson said he was delighted that Sir Andrew agreed to be guest speaker at this year’s AGM. 

“Sir Andrew is inspiring and highly knowledgeable, with strong opinions on the preservation of our countryside. His speeches always offer plenty of food for thought and debate.”

CPRE Gloucestershire's AGM took place at Berkley Castle on Thursday afternoon.