Closed petition Ban developments on Green belt and Greenfield sites across the country

Loss of green belt & greenfield sites for housing negatively affects the environment, releasing carbon from the land & losing that land's ability to capture new carbon. Wildlife and plant life already under stress, are displaced & loss of green spaces has a negative effect on communities.

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Houses proposed to be built have a great effect upon our environment. Contribute to pollution and in turn affect our planet. House development should take place on brown sites. The greenfield land, farm land, trees and wild flowers need protection now to encourage our planet to heal. All permissions for planned development of green belt or greenfield land should be revoked, and no further permissions granted.

This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months

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Government responded

This response was given on 1 March 2022

This Government is committed to maintaining existing Green Belt protections, enhancing Green Belt land quality, and promoting use of brownfield for new developments to reduce greenfield pressures.

Read the response in full

The Government currently offers strong protections for the Green Belt from development in national policy. The National Planning Policy Framework states that a Green Belt boundary may be altered only in exceptional circumstances. Any proposal is subject to consultation with local people followed by rigorous and independent examination of the area’s Local Plan by a planning inspector. If a local authority cannot avoid the loss of Green Belt, it is expected to offset the loss of that land by environmental and access improvements to land remaining Green Belt. Furthermore, national planning policy states that most new developments in the Green Belt should be refused planning permission unless in very special circumstances, rightly determined by the local authority. As a result, the Government is not considering this proposal at this time.

As set out in the landmark Levelling Up White Paper, we are committed to enhancing the quality of land designated in the Green Belt. This means increasing public access to Green Belt, while simultaneously delivering nature recovery, in line with Environment Act commitments. This will provide improved access for those communities that currently lack good quality green space.

Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities

This is a revised response. The Petitions Committee requested a response which more directly addressed the request of the petition. You can find the original response towards the bottom of the petition page (https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/600577)

Other parliamentary business

MPs report on the future of the planning system in England

Last June, the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee published a report that looked at the future of the planning system, including Green Belt land.

Read the full report: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm5802/cmselect/cmcomloc/38/3802.htm

The Committee's report looks specifically at the current function and purpose of green belt, whether it should be reviewed and the level of public support there is for green belt.

The Committee concluded that green spaces that lie within Green Belt areas should be protected, and recommended that the Government review the purpose of the Green Belt, including whether it continues to serve that purpose, how the public understand it, what should be criteria for inclusion, and what additional protections might be appropriate.

Read Chapter 11 of the report, on the Green Belt: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm5802/cmselect/cmcomloc/38/3814.htm#_idTextAnchor163

What is the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee?

The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee scrutinised the work of the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government and its associated public bodies. It was a cross-party committee and is independent of the Government. This Committee is now called the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee, and scrutinises the new Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

Find out more on their website: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/17/levelling-up-housing-and-communities-committee/

You can get updates on their work by following the Committee on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/CommonsLUHC

This is a ‘select committee’. Find out how Select Committees work:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_2RDuDs44c

You can also sign up to the UK Parliament newsletter for the latest information on how to get involved and make a difference: https://learning.parliament.uk/en/your-uk-parliament-newsletter-sign-up-form/

Original Government response

This Government is committed to Green Belt protection, we have strong protection for other greenfield land and furthermore are promoting the efficient use of brownfield for new development

This Government is committed to protecting and enhancing the Green Belt, in line with our manifesto. Our strong protections for the Green Belt remain firmly in place. The National Planning Policy Framework states that a Green Belt boundary may be altered only in exceptional circumstances through the local plan process. A local authority should consider releasing land from Green Belt only if it can fully evidence that it has explored all other reasonable options for meeting its development needs. The authority should be able to show that it has been using brownfield land as much as possible, optimising the density of development, and discussing with neighbouring authorities whether they could accommodate some of the development required.

The Framework recognises that green infrastructure and accessible green space are beneficial to our health and well-being. Protections exist for differing types of green infrastructure. Where appropriate, communities can also use their Local or Neighbourhood Plans to designate areas as ‘Local Green Space’ to protect it from inappropriate development.

In addition, the National Planning Policy Framework expects local authorities to protect and enhance valued landscapes, soils and sites of biodiversity value, including trees and woodland. This involves recognising the character and beauty of the countryside. Poorer quality farmland should also be preferred if significant development on agricultural land is essential.

The Framework makes clear that planning policies and decisions should minimise the impacts on biodiversity and provide net gains. The Environment Act that will protect and enhance our environment for future generations has now passed into UK law. Through the Act, we will clean up the country’s air, restore natural habitats, increase biodiversity, reduce waste and make better use of our resources.

These changes will be driven by new legally binding environmental targets, and enforced by a new, independent Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) which will hold government and public bodies to account on their environmental obligations.

Finally, this Government is committed to making the most of brownfield land. The Framework strongly encourages regeneration and re-use of brownfield, especially for housing, to help levelling up and relieve some of the pressure to consider greenfield land. However, brownfield sites vary greatly; it is for local authorities, in consultation with local people, to decide if land is suitable to redevelop. Every local authority is now required by law to publish a register of local brownfield land suitable for housing.

To support the take-up of brownfield, Government has set up the £4.35 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund; the £4.95 billion Home Building Fund; the £400 million Brownfield Housing Fund; and the £75 million Brownfield Land Release Fund. At Autumn Budget the Chancellor announced a further £300 million of locally-led grant funding for Mayoral Combined Authorities and local authorities to unlock smaller brownfield sites for housing. There is tax relief on work to decontaminate land, and we have reformed permitted development rules so that yet more homes can be created on brownfield.

Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities

This response was given on 10 January 2022. The Petitions Committee then requested a revised response, that more directly addressed the request of the petition.