Green Belt (UK)

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For other uses of Greenbelt and Green belt, see Green belt (disambiguation).

In UK town planning, the Green Belt is a concept for controlling metropolitan growth, first introduced around London by minister of housing Duncan Sandys via Circular 42/55.

The idea is a ring of countryside where urbanisation will be resisted for the foreseeable future, maintaining an area where agriculture, forestry and outdoor leisure can be expected to prevail. The fundamental aim of Green Belt policy is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open, and consequently the most important attribute of Green Belts is their openness.

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[edit] Green Belt policy

The Government sets out its policies and principles towards the green belts defined by local authorities in England and Wales in Planning Policy Guidance Note 2: Green Belts [1]. Local Councils are strongly urged to follow PPG2's detailed advice when considering whether to permit additional development in the Green Belt, or to assent to new uses being made of existing premises. In the Green Belt there is a general presumption against inappropriate development, unless very special circumstances can be demonstrated to show that the benefits of the development will outweigh the harm caused to the Green Belt. PPG2 also sets out a number of examples of what would constitute appropriate or inappropriate development in the Green Belt.

According to PPG2, there are five stated purposes of including land within the Green Belt:

  • To check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas
  • To prevent neighbouring towns from merging into one another
  • To assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment
  • To preserve the setting and special character of historic towns
  • To assist in urban regeneration, by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land.

Once an area of land has been defined as Green Belt, opportunities and benefits include:

  • Providing opportunities for access to the open countryside for the urban population
  • Providing opportunities for outdoor sport and outdoor recreation near urban areas
  • The retention of attractive landscapes and the enhancement of landscapes, near to where people live
  • Improvement of damaged and derelict land around towns
  • The securing of nature conservation interests
  • The retention of land in agricultural, forestry and related uses.

[edit] Green Belt areas in England

By 2003, fourteen distinct Green Belts collectively safeguarded about 13 percent of England. In order of decreasing size these are as follows:

Area (km²)
5,133 London (The Metropolitan Green Belt)
2,578 North West (Merseyside and Greater Manchester)
2,556 South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire
2,315 West Midlands
825 South west Hampshire and South east Dorset (Bournemouth/Poole, New Forest)
688 Avon (Bristol and Bath)
663 Tyne and Wear
618 Nottingham and Derby
441 Stoke-on-Trent
350 Oxford
267 Cambridge
262 York
70 Gloucester and Cheltenham
0.7 Burton upon Trent and Swadlincote
16,766 Total

[edit] History

The notion dated from Herbert Morrison's 1934 leadership of the London County Council and was included in an advisory Greater London Plan prepared by Patrick Abercrombie in 1944. However, it was some 14 years before the elected local authorities responsible for the area recommended had all defined the area on scaled maps with some precision.

The introduction of green belts was the culmination of over 50 years of environmentalist pressure with roots in the Garden city movement and widespread academic interest in combating urban sprawl and ribbon development, as well as pressure from campaign groups such as the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).

As the outward growth of London was seen to be firmly repressed, residents owning properties further from the built-up area also campaigned for this policy of urban restraint, partly to safeguard their own investments but often invoking an idealised scenic/rustic argument which laid the blame for most social ills upon urban influences. In mid-1971, for example, the government decided to extend the Metropolitan Green Belt northwards to include almost all of Hertfordshire. The Metropolitan Green Belt now covers parts of 68 different Districts or Boroughs.

The concept of "Green Belt" has evolved in recent years to encompass "Greenspace" and "Greenstructure", taking into account urban greenspace, an important aspect of sustainable development in the 21st. century.

In 2005, the European Commission's COST Action C11 (European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research) undertook in-depth city case studies into cities across 15 European countries. Sheffield was one such case study city for the UK. Conclusions were published in "Case studies in Greenstructure Planning".

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

Green Belt (UK)

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