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Confusion over Green Belt perpetuates housing crisis

The CLA, which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses, has said the Government’s continued practice of associating the Green Belt with environmentally protected designations is misleading the public and preventing critically needed houses from being built.

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The CLA, which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses, has said the Government’s continued practice of associating the Green Belt with environmentally protected designations is misleading the public and preventing critically needed houses from being built.

The organisation said the Government is consistently failing to distinguish between the Green Belt which may, or may not have environmental importance, and environmental designations such as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) and National Parks.

CLA President Henry Robinson said: “The Green Belt is a planning policy first and foremost, put in place to prevent urban sprawl and coalescence, providing recreational open spaces near towns and cities. However, not all of this designated green space is environmentally important or even being successfully managed to provide useable outdoor space.

“In such exceptional cases, it is vital that development on some areas of the Green Belt is considered socritically needed homes can be provided. The Government must correctly distinguish between environmental designations such as AONB or SSSIs and the Green Belt, so the public is absolutely clear about this emotive subject.

“Continually including the Green Belt when listing environmental designations, as the Department for Communities and Local Government has done in its recent guidance on protecting the Green Belt, is extremely misleading. It hinders any chance of a reasonable debate surrounding planning and the provision of housing and will only serve to perpetuate the housing crisis.”

 

 

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