The Daily Telegraph

Green belt land offered for housing up by a fifth


GREEN belt land being offered up for developmen­t by London and the Home Counties councils has increased in area by a fifth since last year, a report has found.

Research by the London Green Belt Council and the Campaign to Protect Rural England found that councils are planning to allow building on more than 19,400 hectares of green belt land.

If all those plans for areas around London and in the Home Counties go ahead, about 75 square miles of protected countrysid­e would lose green belt status, a 21 per cent rise since last year, analysis shared with The Daily Telegraph found.

Councils are relying on “out of date” figures from 2014 for population growth to justify plans to build thousands more homes on green belt land around the capital, the groups claimed.

The three Home Counties areas with the largest number of developmen­t threats to the green belt are Hertfordsh­ire, Essex and Surrey, making up two thirds of the total, the data show.

Both Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss have pledged to protect the green belt from further developmen­t if made prime minister, and the groups urged them to keep their word. In 2019 Ms Truss said the Conservati­ves should build “a million homes on the London green belt” but has said during the campaign that this is no longer her view.

A government spokesman said: “Councils decide their own housing requiremen­ts, not central government, and protecting green spaces should be of utmost priority.”

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