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Green Belt: Property Development

Volume 501: debated on Wednesday 2 December 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps the Government are taking to ensure that the green belt is not adversely affected by housing development. (302082)

The Government are committed to the protection of green belt and its crucial characteristics of openness and permanence. Under our policy in PPG2 (Planning Policy Guidance Note 2, Green Belts), house building in green belt other than limited infill in villages or affordable housing for local needs allowed for in development plan policies is ‘inappropriate development’. Any such proposal would be subject to the tests set out in PPG2.

Government encouragement to give priority to “brownfield” development is also playing its part. In 2008, 80 per cent. of dwellings (including conversions) were built on brownfield land. Also, homes were built at an average of 44 per hectare. This all helps to reduce the pressure on both greenfield and green belt land.

Green belt area at 31 March 2009 was estimated to be 1,638,840 hectares, around 13 per cent. of the land area of England. This represents a net increase of 3,170 hectares on the 31 December 2007 estimate of 1,635,370 hectares.