Green Belt myths: CPRE's guide to what you need to know
Recent reports focus on weakening Green Belt protection to allow greater freedom for large house builders. However, the arguments within these reports are based on a highly selective reading of the relevant evidence, and give little consideration to the wide range of benefits provided by Green Belt policy. They urgently need to be challenged.
Green Belt policy was established in 1955 primarily to stop urban sprawl. There are now 14 separate areas of Green Belt that cover 13% of England; mostly open land and countryside around the largest or most historic towns and cities. CPRE has campaigned for Green Belts since our formation in 1926. We remain a strong supporter of Green Belt policy, which aims to provide a permanently protectedbelt of open land through tight controls over certain forms of development.
Our Natural Environment
In north Kent and south Essex there is a very limited amount of land designated as Green Belt, which is one of the reasons it is so cherished.
The green belt is a policy for controlling urban growth. The idea is for a ring of countryside where urbanisation will be resisted for the foreseeable future, maintaining an area where agriculture, forestry and outdoor leisure can be expected to prevail. The fundamental aim of green belt policy is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open, and consequently the most important attribute of green belts is their openness.
The Metropolitan Green Belt around London was first proposed by the Greater London Regional Planning Committee in 1935. The Town and Country Planning Act 1947 then allowed local authorities to include green belt proposals in their development plans. In 1955, Minister of Housing Duncan Sandys encouraged local authorities around the country to consider protecting land around their towns and cities by the formal designation of clearly defined green belts. Wikipedia
The proposed Lower Thames Crossing will cut a swath through what little there remains of the green belt in Kent and Essex. It is clear that the proposals are no longer a congestion relief project as originally envisaged; it is all about economic development and growth similar to the ribbon development that generated great concern in the United Kingdom during the 1920s and the 1930s as well as in numerous other countries. Wikipedia.
Area Context - The Metropolitan Green Belt
NEW!! CPRE Kent have published an interactive map of threats to the Metropolitan Green Belt.
It is well documented that air quality can affect human health. Therefore it is important to measure current levels and attempt to reduce public exposure to air pollution, where required. It is important to measure air pollution at a local level for the following reasons:
- To establish whether the air quality limit values, target values and objectives set by European Union Directives and the UK’s own Air Quality Strategy are met in the area.
- To provide information to the public, on air quality in their area.
- So that air quality can be taken into account when making decisions on planning applications, for new developments or roads.
- To fulfil Local Authorities’ obligations under Part IV of theEnvironment Act 1995, regarding Local Air Quality Management.
- To find out whether changes intended to improve air quality are having an effect.
Historic England has a map of all listed building in the UK. Click the map below to access their website.
A map of most British listed buildings can be found at http://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/map#.V4oxubgrJaS