We should stop seeing the green belt as sacrosanct

David Churchill CYMK (002) 3

Misunderstanding of the purpose of the green belt is leading to too many applications being determined at appeal, writes David Churchill

The Green Belt Protection Bill, a private members’ bill which aims to restrict councils’ ability to release green belt land for development, is currently working its way through parliament. The bill also proposes that if such land is used for development purposes, alternative land is designated as green belt in its place.

Originally introducing the bill to the House of Commons in 2019, its sponsor Sir Christopher Chope said, ‘When we sing about our green and pleasant land, many of us reflect on how much less green and more ugly it would be but for our green belt.’ Worryingly, this comment exemplifies an almost universal misunderstanding of the green belt: one which has stymied much-needed development for decades.

At the root of this problem is a misunderstanding, among residents but also some politicians too, about what the green belt was intended to be and now is.

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