Green Belt has a new voice in Parliament

Great news for the Green Belt (picture by Susan Pittman)

The London Green Belt, part of which lies in Kent, has a new champion.

Yesterday’s (October 31) launch of an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the London Metropolitan Green Belt saw members at the inaugural meeting agree to develop policy thinking and a plan to influence the debate on housing and planning policy.

The objective is to “protect the capital’s precious Green Belt and achieve sustainable development”, a statement from the London Green Belt Council (LGBC) said.

Crispin Blunt MP (Conservative) was elected as the group’s chairman, with Lord Rogers (Labour) serving as co-chairman.

Tom Brake (Liberal Democrat) and Gareth Thomas (Labour) became vice-chairmen, while Oliver Dowden (Conservative) will act as treasurer. The secretariat will be provided by the LGBC.

Richard Knox-Johnston, chairman of the London Green Belt Council and vice-chairman of CPRE Kent, said: “The establishment of the APPG is an important move in the protection of London’s Green Belt.

“There is far too much unhelpful propaganda being used to force encroachment into this important national resource, which provides health and well-being to the people of London and surrounding communities.”

Group chairman Mr Blunt added: “I am delighted we have formed the APPG for London’s Green Belt.

“With the number of Green Belt sites around London under threat from development more than doubling over the past year, we urgently need to review our approach to housing policy across the region.

“The group will inform the debate and develop recommendations for Green Belt-friendly planning policy.”

Co-chairman Lord Rogers, meanwhile, highlighted some of the issues the group will need to tackle: “There is an abundance of brownfield land which can and should be developed.

“Land-banking is threatening both the provision of affordable homes for key workers and the protection of the Green Belt. I hope the group will contribute to radical and innovative thinking in this area.”

Last month we highlighted how threats to the London Green Belt had doubled in a year: Read our story here.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

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