Lancashire - Campaign to Protect Rural England

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Space to breathe

Monday, 14 October 2019 14:51

CPRE's research into the state of our Green Belts highlights unprecedented threats to Green Belt land at a time when land that can act as a green lung around the edge of our cities has never been more important. 

Providing space to unwind, engage with nature - and also grow our food - the Green Belt is the countryside next door for 30 million people in some of our largest and most historic cities. The urgent need to help us address the climate emergency and give people more opportunity to engage with nature means that our Green Belts have never been more important.

Yet this space is under threat like never before: from the impacts of climate breakdown to development in the countryside. CPRE, the countryside charity has published regular reports detailing development proposals on the Green Belt since 2012. This report highlights the unprecedented proposals for building housing in the Green Belt, squandering this valuable asset at a time where it is needed for our own health and wellbeing, and to address the climate emergency, more than ever before.

According to this report, only 1 in 10 homes built on land released from the Green Belt over the past decade are ‘affordable’. The reports says that harmful development on the Green Belt, often in the guise of providing ‘affordable’ homes, is squandering this valuable asset at a time when it is needed for our own health and well-being, and to address the climate change crisis.

Key findings of Space to Breathe, A State of the Green Belt Report show that: 

  • In the past decade, only 1 in 10 new homes built on land released from the Green Belt are considered ‘affordable’, showing that building on the Green Belt is not the solution to the affordable housing crisis’;
  • This trend looks set to continue in the future as our research shows that there are proposals for a further 266,000 homes on undeveloped Green Belt land in advanced local plans, and only a third of these are likely to be classified as ‘affordable’ according to local policies; and
  • Development on the Green Belt is inefficient and land hungry, with the average density of homes within the Green Belt just 14 dwellings per hectare, compared to an average of 31 outside these designated green areas

CPRE’s recommendations include:

  • Better and existing solutions to fix the housing crisis such as building on brownfield sites;
  • Enhancement of the Green Belt so it is valued as much by local authorities, government and developers, as it is by local communities; and
  • Stronger evidence-based tests for planning proposals.
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