No Cameron Did Not Say he Will Protect the Green Belt

Despite Telegraph headlines he went out of his way to circumnavigate saying ‘I will protect the Green Belt’.

“When it comes to our Green Belt, I have been clear.

Clear is a upamism for evasive on planning policy – Bennett Hypocracy.

“The line remains scored in the sand – that land is precious. I am a country man. I love our countryside.

A line in the sand that can be crossed.  Loving teh countryside does not mean protecting it.

“For years Labour’s failed regional strategies cast a shadow over our fields and forests threatening to carve them up and cover them in ugliness.

As if the NPPF hasnt failed and cast villages with ugliness.

“We’ve taken a totally different approach and protecting the Green Belt is paramount.

Green Belt policy in the NPPF is unchanged as ministers have said on many occasions.

“Our priority is building on brownfield – and we’ve made it easier to do so.

“The aim is that by 2020, 90 per cent of suitable brownfield sites will have planning permission for housing.

The London housing zones LDO proposal, the pilot for the scheme, has already been given up by the Mayor of London as impractical. It will make no difference.

“Building more homes and protecting our countryside can go hand in hand in fact development on the green belt is at its lowest rate since modern records began 25 years ago.

Because housebuilding is at its lowest rate since the 1920s, and 40% below 2007 levels.

“And for me it comes down to this. I want my children – and their children – to be able to play on a day out in the North Downs near London.

Over half of which is outside the Green Belt and protected as AONB anyway.  Its not under threat, a bait and switch.

“I want them to be able to walk, as they can now, from Liverpool to Leeds through green belt protected land.

You could still do that and build over 90% of England and do this – how is this relevant?

“I want to know that in the green belt that exists around our cities, nearly one-fifth of England’s ancient woodland stands tall and proud, as it has done for centuries.

So?  4/5ths is outside the Green Belt and weakly protected.

“Put simply: the Green Belt is protected with us. And it is not just green belt that concerns people but green fields. I agree.”

The same language always used by Cameron, remember ‘NHS is safe with us’ a form of wording designed to conceal cuts, reorganisation and in the event failed policy (in that case an A&E crisis wholly unnecessary).

He doesnt say I will protect the Green Belt in the future.  he always uses present tense to allow him wriggle room to do the opposite after an election. His pledges are as consistent as his capitalization of Green Belt. NOte he says nothing about protection of the ordinary countryside, that is where teh palnning section ends.  Typical Cameron, empathy without action.

In the event the conservative housing manifesto it only says local people will protect the Green Belt, getting Central Government off the hook on the Green Belt.  For the first time ever a major national party will enter a general election without a clear commitment or policy as to what it will do as a national policy regarding the Green Belt.

You may argue that Green Belt policy has become a sacred cow, but you neither slaughter or protect a sacred cow by being wolly and evasive.

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