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Green Belt

Volume 504: debated on Tuesday 26 January 2010

All regional strategies, except that for the north-east, contain some targeted proposals for review of green belt boundaries in their respective regions. The purpose of the regional strategy is to consider where development should take place in the most sustainable way possible. Reviews of green belt are undertaken by local authorities, and the decision on whether to make changes is theirs. We remain absolutely committed to maintaining the area of green belt at its 2007 level, and to saying that changes to parts of the green belt should take place only in exceptional circumstances.

Following Guildford borough council’s judicial review of the south-east plan, what plans does the Minister have to remove the designation in that plan to build on the green belt in Guildford, in the light of the Prime Minister’s promise to protect the green belt? He has let the country down and he has let Guildford down.

I reject the latter point completely. The fact is that there are an extra 34,000 hectares of green belt land in this country because of this Government. I accept that the application of the sustainability appraisal process in relation to Guildford was flawed, and negotiations are going on between the Government and the litigants, so it would not be appropriate for me to comment on the matter any further.