Brownfield land should be used for building before any green fields
As a nation we need homes, and the most sustainable place for building is on brownfield land. We have enough for more than 1million homes. Higher densities in towns work well, minimising pollution overall. Typical urban densities in the UK are lower than in attractive cities such as Paris or Barcelona; we have room to build all the homes we need in our cities and keep the Greenbelt (and the rural land beyond the Greenbelt too).
Housing numbers must reflect real local need not developers’ wishes
Developers manipulate the planning system for profit. They use affordable housing as a justification for building on green fields – but as soon as permission is obtained, it is deemed not viable. Developers hold extensive land banks (many years supply). This needs reform.
Existing legal protection for the Green Belt and the AONB should stand
Greenbelt started with the 1947 Town & Country Planning Act. It checks unrestricted sprawl, stops neighbouring towns merging, safeguards countryside from encroachment, preserves historic town settings, and stimulates urban regeneration. It has been successful in all these aims. We have seen regeneration in our inner cities, preventing the “Edge Cities” seen in the US with suburban blight and urban decay. Air quality in our cities would worsen with more sprawl.
Green fields matter - they are not just building land
The National Farmers' Union says that Britain is losing the opportunity to feed itself: Britain’s food supply meets only 50% of our needs. We live in a temperate zone. Food production in breadbasket nations will be threatened by climate change, political instability and a growing world population. Our local Greenbelt is necessary productive farmland surrounded by hedgerows and woods. How can we ask subsistence farmers in the third world to protect the rainforest, while we destroy our own woods and farmland?
The Metropolitan Green Belt is for the benefit of all
The Metropolitan Greenbelt is a statutory Greenbelt around London. It includes designated parts of Greater London and the surrounding counties of Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent and Surrey. Once an area of land has been defined as green belt, the stated opportunities and benefits include:
- Providing opportunities for access to the open countryside for the urban population
- Providing opportunities for outdoor sport and outdoor recreation near urban areas
- The retention of attractive landscapes and the enhancement of landscapes, near to where people live
- Improvement of damaged and derelict land around towns
- The securing of nature conservation interests
- The retention of land in agricultural, forestry and related uses