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Green Belt

Volume 175: debated on Wednesday 27 June 1990

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4.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many acres of green belt have been lost to urban development in the last seven years; and if he will make a statement.

The total area of approved green belt has more than doubled over the past 11 years; any loss to urban development will have been minute by comparison.

Although I am grateful for the Government's rigour in conserving the green belt, can my hon. Friend assure me that the Department will be equally rigorous in preventing development in conservation areas in the inner cities? For instance, two thirds of Kensington qualifies as a conservation area. Will my hon. Friend provide for inner London the same oases of calm as the green belt provides for suburban areas?

The Government wholly support the concept of conservation areas. Their designation is a matter for local authorities, and whether designations should be more widespread is a subject of a current consultation paper on demolitions, responses to which were due this Monday.

Will the Minister have a word with his Scottish colleagues and make it clear that Mr. Wallace Mercer, that great entrepreneur, should not be given permission to seize part of Edinburgh's green belt for his super-duper stadium? We should remember that Mr. Mercer is interested only in the fast buck and not in the Hearts or Hibs supporters who have got a squalid deal all the way through this sorry tale which is repeatedly mentioned in the Scottish press.

As the hon. Gentleman says, that is not a matter for me. I shall certainly make sure that my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland hears what the hon. Gentleman says.