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The trouble with the green belt is that it makes people see red

Despite a looming deadline for all councils to write an up-to-date local plan by early next year — or face having it done for them — two in three have not yet adopted one. Green-belt councils such as St Albans, in the 14 rings around English cities where building is restricted to curb sprawl, are further behind: 70% of them lack one, according to exclusive data from planners at Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners.


So what is the government’s stance? Will it propose the rumoured swaps of ugly green belt for new protected land in its long-awaited housing white paper, now delayed until January?