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Green belt safeguarding should allow for local authority review

The Government has published a written statement with steps on how to streamline the planning system, support economic growth and assist locally-led decision-making.

The statement says that “the Government continues to attach great importance to safeguarding the green belt”, adding that it “will be seeking to introduce a new evidenced-based planning and recovery policy for the Green Belt early in the next Parliament to strengthen protection against unauthorised development”.

While we don’t disagree with the Government on protecting the Green Belt, we do believe local authorities should be encouraged to review their Green Belt and consider how the land within it can be most effectively used and what the options are for re-designating a small fraction for new homes.

We set out the arguments around re-designation in a recent report The Green Belt: A Place for Londoners?  We argue that the starting point for any Green Belt review in London should be to only consider areas that:

  • are close to existing or future transport nodes;
  • are of poor environmental or civic value;
  • could better serve London’s needs by supporting sustainable, high-quality, well-designed residential development that incorporates truly accessible green space

The study also contains a new analysis of what land uses make up the Green Belt inside London’s boundary.

Contact: Jonathan Seager, jseager@londonfirst.co.uk

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