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Volume 475: debated on Monday 12 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the Prime Minister’s Statement of 11 July 2007, Official Report, columns 1449-51, on the draft legislative programme, what the Government’s policy on Green Belt (a) designation and (b) protection is. (205431)

The Government’s policy on the designation and protection of green belt is set out in Planning Policy Guidance Note 2: “Green Belts”.

Proposals for new green belt should be considered through regional spatial strategies in the first instance. Local planning authorities proposing to establish a new green belt should demonstrate why normal planning and development control policies would not be adequate and whether any major changes in circumstances have made the adoption of this exceptional measure necessary. It should also show what the consequences of the proposal would be for sustainable development.

There is a general presumption against inappropriate development in the green belt. Such development should not be approved, except in very special circumstances.

As the Prime Minister made clear in his statement of 11 July 2007, we will continue robustly to protect the land designated as green belt.