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Threats to London's Green Belt now mapped

Green belt land north of Houghton Regis Green belt land north of Houghton Regis CPRE Bedfordshire

A partnership of green belt campaigners has just released a map exposing the extent of threat to London’s green belt. It shows nearly 200 sites under threat from development and proposals for building over 110,000 houses on protected green belt land.

Bedfordshire’s Green Belt is on the northern most edge of the London Metropolitan Green Belt.

CPRE Bedfordshire is one of eight CPRE branches in the partnership (alongside Bucks, Berks, Herts, Essex, Kent, Surrey and London) plus the London Green Belt Council made up of around 70 groups. 

Catherine Maguire, green belt Campaigner, said: “The government’s pre-election commitment to protect our green belt is not being adhered to. David Cameron said that the Green Belt would ‘safe with us.’ But it is manifestly not safe.

“London’s Green Belt has saved our countryside. It is hugely valuable – more so now than ever, with more and more pressure being piled on the South East. If it had not been for the London Green Belt preventing urban sprawl, London could have followed the example of Los Angeles, and now spread from Brighton to Cambridge, with millions of people car-dependent and horrendous traffic and pollution problems.

“The planning system has been weakened to the extent that even the ‘strongest protection’ afforded to green belt land is being ignored on a widespread basis. Even though the government has clarified that housing needs cannot ‘trump’ green belt, it has also piled pressure on councils to release land for new homes and does not take action when protected green belt land is released. This is flagrantly hypocritical.

“What’s even more maddening is that there is categorically no need to release green belt for development: the Further Alterations to the London Plan states that brownfield ‘opportunity areas’ in the capital alone could provide 300,000 new homes.

“The developer lobby has been very successful in promulgating the myth that we must release green belt if we want new homes. This is unsurprising given that houses in the green belt might make a tidy profit for developers being in such nice locations. But they are expensive – not the affordable ones we need.

“If anything we now need to strengthen, not weaken, green belt land protections: we need to focus on building new homes in the right places, not in the green belt, not in the wider countryside, not in AONBs - Areas of Outstanding National Beauty, but on appropriate sites in already built up areas. “

Click here to go to the map.

 

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