Campaign to Protect Rural England Standing up for your countryside

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Green Belts under threat

'Darwin's' Green Belt provides an escape for Londoners 'Darwin's' Green Belt provides an escape for Londoners Photo: © Bromley Council

We are campaigning for a strong Government commitment to uphold existing policy and carry out an urgent review of the latest threats to the Green Belt.

Housing crisis: Should we build on the green belt?

In this video, Shaun Spiers joins broadcaster Ian Collins and Sam Bowman of the Adam Smith institute to debate whether or not we should build on the green belt, due to the housing crisis in Britain:

Green belt in the National Planning Policy Framework

Although the Government's National Planning Policy Framework appeared to maintain protection for Green Belts, they are increasingly coming under threat as a result of pro-development and economic growth policies in the document.

References were made to the need for 'significant weight' to be placed on the need to support 'economic growth', together with suggestions that planning controls like Green Belts are an 'impediment' to such growth. Local authorities are also coming under pressure from Government Planning Inspectors to allow building in the Green Belt to meet new targets for supplying land for housing. 

Our research shows that more houses are planned for Green Belt land than when the National Planning Policy Framework was implemented.

Our report, Green Belt under siege: the NPPF three years on, finds that over 219,000 houses are planned for England’s Green Belt, 60,000 more than in August 2013 when CPRE last made a count.

CPRE and our network of local branches are campaigning to protect our existing Green Belts and even create new ones. We are challenging the misguided idea that building on the Green Belt will solve the housing shortage and create economic growth:

  • CPRE research shows there are enough derelict (brownfield) sites available and suitable for building 1,494,070 new homes - and the supply of these sites is steadily increasing.
  • We have housing plots waiting to be built on. According to their own annual reviews, England’s major house builders are sitting on huge areas of land with planning permission which could provide over 280,000 new homes.
  • The Government has admitted that the number of long-term empty houses is a scandal which if addressed, could provide homes for over 300,000 familes.
  • Strong protection for Green Belts helps the economy by promoting urban regeneration and keeping housing and business close to services and transport links.
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