As we always predicted. Not yet on their website.
Tens of thousands of additional homes are being planned for the protected Green Belt than before the Government relaxed planning protections three years ago, new research shows.
A study by the Campaign to Protect Rural England showed that more new homes are planned for Green Belt land than when the National Planning Policy Framework was introduced in March 2012.
The CPRE’s 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 CPRE’s last count in August 2013.
The Green Belt is the ribbon of land around towns and cities which came in 1955 to prevent urban sprawl. It has under increased pressure because of demand for new homes.
The most under threat area of Green Belt land was found to be the Home Counties around London where the number of new homes planned on Green Belt land has nearly trebled since August 2013.
In its analysis of nine English regions, however, the CPRE paper shows that three city or county regions – London, Oxfordshire and Nottinghamshire – as well as the wider South West region are facing an increasingly large number of houses on Green Belt land.
It also shows that planning inspectors have signed off major releases of Green Belt in areas such as Leeds and Newcastle/Gateshead where there is ample brownfield land available.
Paul Miner, a spokesman for the campaign, said it was important that ministers worked “to strengthen Green Belt protection, not weaken it”.
He said: “Ministers have quite rightly resisted the siren calls of some organisations to relax controls over development in the Green Belt. Yet, our new research shows that large scale development is already planned – despite existing protections, the availability of brownfield land and community objections.
“We need to strengthen Green Belt protection, not weaken it. Whoever forms the next Government must look to improve Green Belt protection and focus development behind the one million homes we could build on brownfield land – for the benefit of both town and country.”
The report found that nearly 87,000 new homes were planned for the Green Belt in the “Metropolitan” counties around London, with a further 41,000 in Yorkshire and more than 35,000 in the west Midlands.
There were a further 16,000 homes planned for the Green Belt in the South West, 14,000 in Nottinghamshire and nearly 12,000 in the north west of England.
The Government’s decision to relax planning restrictions in 2012 and introduce a bias in favour of “sustainable deveopment” was bitterly fought by countryside campaigners and readers of The Telegraph.
The CPRE’s findings challenge claims by Mr Cameron that he as Prime Minister he had protected the “precious” Green Belt, insisting a line has been “scored in the sand”.
In a speech three weeks ago he said: “I want my children – and their children – to be able to play on a day out in the North Downs near London.
“I want them to be able to walk, as they can now, from Liverpool to Leeds through green belt protected land.
“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.”