In 1580 Elizabeth I banned new building in a three-mile wide belt around London in an attempt to stop the spread of the plague, creating perhaps the first recorded instance of Green Belt in England.
Green Belt and Braces: green girdles
The Green Belt is one of CPRE’s great achievements and we want to see more Green Belts established and more greening of the Green Belt, with more public access, recreation, wildlife, woodland, and food production. Green Belts provide a recreational lung for urban inhabitants; limit urban sprawl and protect the countryside; and assist urban regeneration by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land. Writer, geographer, and CPRE Vice President Nicholas Crane discusses the role and nature of the Green Belt with Cedric Hoptroff, Secretary of the London Green Belt Council.
Best known for his work as a presenter on Coast and for his BBC series Map Man, Great British Journeys, Britannia and Town, Nicholas Crane is a writer and geographer with a passion for maps and exploration. In 1992-3 he walked alone for eighteen months along the 10,000-kilometre mountain watershed of Europe, describing this epic adventure in his award-winning book Clear Waters Rising. His next book, Two Degrees West, was an account of his walk down Britain’s central meridian, and was published to great acclaim in 1999. Then came Mercator, a biography of the Renaissance mapmaker, published in 2002 and described by The Sunday Times as marking ‘the peak of Crane’s achievement’. Nicholas’ most recent books are Great British Journeys (2007), which follows the exploratory footsteps of eight intrepid writers, and Coast: Our Island Story, published in 2010.
Listen: Nicholas Crane speech
Cedric Hoptroff was a Principal Examiner in the UK Patent Office (now the UK Intellectual Property Office) where he worked on patent policy issues. He retired in 1995.
He has represented the Leighton Buzzard Society on the London Green Belt Council for over 20 years. He was Chairman of the Council from 2007 to 2009 and is currently its Secretary.
Listen: Cedric Hoptroff speech
Coming up in the series
CREATED COUNTRYSIDE: unnatural nature
21 November 2012
Professor Anthony O'Hear, author of the essay The Myth of Nature and Howard Davies, Chief Executive of the National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, talk about managed landscapes, and close the series.