Are you against building on green belt land areas?

Posted: 08/10/2015

As many sections of land become exposed to the rising pressures from the ever multiplying housing developments, a survey has been conducted on the 60th anniversary of policy to protect the countryside.

The term ‘Green Belt’ refers to an open area of land that is kept and maintained within a reserve and these Green Belt areas are more than often found around larger city areas. These areas (green belt) are particularly favoured for their open forestry and natural beauty.

Protected land is currently facing ever rising pressures from housing developments and according to a survey that has been conducted, around two thirds of all individuals think that this type of land should not have anything built on them.

The poll which had been conducted on the 60th anniversary, displayed that 64% of people believe that any remaining green belt land across many parts of England should be reserved and not built on whilst around 17% disagreed with this.

Another poll known as the Ipsos Mori Poll involving 845 people regarding the Campaign to Protect Rural England also revealed that the support shown for this topic was strong and ranges across a number of groups. These groups included private renters, people with young families, council tenants and others across different brackets of income.

Within semi-rural areas, ongoing support for maintaining green belt areas is extremely high at 83% and these areas as such are most likely to be affected. Following the great support for rural areas, towns and cities also found that they had a substantial support rate with a figure of 62%.

Alongside the ongoing debate above, the government has also been frequently asserting their utmost support for preserving green belt protections. CPRE has since expressed that around 226,000 new homes/developments had been proposed within green belt land by July. This figure is up from 219,500 homes during March and last but not least around 81,000 homes around three years ago. Meanwhile, the number of houses which are being granted planning permission proceeded to jump within the past year. 

Although the government are showing great support, many campaigners are calling on them to specify the exact, limited circumstances of which green belt boundaries can be altered through local plans. Campaigners also want the government to call in/direct local authorities to refuse - damaging developments that are within the boundaries of protected land that cannot be identified in plans that already exist.

Public funding has also been a topic of conversation, funding from organisations such as conservation agency Natural England as well as local enterprise partnerships. If this takes place this will increase both the quality and access to any green belt land areas.

Shaun Spiers, a CPRE chief executive said: “We know that the green belt is loved by the general public and supported by politicians of all parties. Yet despite this, it is under greater threat than it has been in its 60-year history. Over 200,000 new houses are already planned for green belt land and a growing number of think tanks, developers and business groups are gunning for the green belt, arguing with very little evidence that we need to build on it in order to tackle the country’s housing crisis.

The green belt is a fantastic British success story of which we should all be proud. It has both protected countryside and aided the regeneration of towns and cities across England.

It is good for people’s wellbeing and quality of life, good for nature and wildlife, and it provides us with much of the food that we eat. Of course the country needs more homes, but we can get them without trashing the green belt”.  

According to the CPRE, focuses should be set upon brownfield land sites that may be suitable for development Instead of green belt land being centre of topic and with this statement they estimate that at least a million or so homes could be developed on this particular type of land.

As part of the anniversary, campaigners are calling on the government to match its rhetoric with immediate action in order to protect the greenbelt areas. The organisation,  Campaign to Protect Rural England are inviting members of the public to submit both stories and photos which will be loaded onto a digital wall to show how current greenbelt land is used not only this, but to emphasise the values of these pieces of land.

Brandon Lewis, a housing minister said; “We have placed local plans at the heart of our planning system, giving local people a far greater say over the future development of their area. The figures released by CPRE are from potential developments that have not yet been agreed by their local communities, have not gone through the rigour of the planning system and are not planning permissions. We have put strong protections in place for the green belt, which mean that apart from land reclassified as National Park, there were 34,000 more hectares (84,000 acres) in the green belt in 2013-14 than in 1997”.

Nicole Cran, Pali Ltd

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