Regulations requiring local authorities to develop and publish brownfield land registers will come into force on Easter Sunday (16 April), giving us the opportunity to develop an accurate picture of the amount and whereabouts of brownfield land. As is traditional at this time of year, they offer new hope – for an increasingly reliable picture of the country’s brownfield capacity and, in my case, less time spent trying to work out the data independently!
CPRE is very interested in land and how it is used. In many of our publications, we make the point that it should be considered more, be debated more and used more wisely.
It’s fair to say that we were relieved when the Housing White Paper was released with no sign of the Government explicitly weakening Green Belt protection. After weeks of rumours and ominous briefings by ‘Government sources’, it had seemed almost certain that the Government was going to abandon its manifesto pledge to ‘maintain protection of the Green Belt and other nationally designated landscapes.’ But our relief quickly turned to concern as it became clear that the Paper as a whole could serve to fundamentally weaken the status of Green Belt.
Land is a vital resource – all our activity is literally built on it. We depend on it for the food we eat, the water we drink, the energy we make, to build our houses, offices and roads, and our recreation - for mental and physical refreshment. Yet we seem to take it for granted.