• Alice Roberts, Head of Green Space Campaigns

Government will claim that their Housing White Paper does not reduce Green Belt protection but Londo

Alice Roberts of London CPRE [1] said: “Our recent research ‘Safe Under Us’ [2] exposed a raft of government housing and planning policies which were already forcing councils to release Green Belt. Councils have been told to set hugely inflated housing targets, to allocate land for the full target and are then told they cannot say Green Belt is a constraint on land supply. They face hefty sanctions if they don’t do as they’re told.”

“The Housing White Paper looks set to force councils’ arms even further, with ‘new centralised standards’ [4] to force higher targets for councils deemed to be lacking an ‘adequate plan …to meet projected growth’.

“It is extraordinary that the government is getting away with saying it is protecting the Green Belt. This is disingenuous at best and misleading at worst. It has weakened the protection already and is failing to call-in Green Belt developments, saying these are local decisions, while at the same time forcing the arms of councils.

“Saying it is not reducing the protection on Green Belt is just smoke and mirrors. If it is serious about protecting Green Belt government must call in developments and say no to them. It has the power to do so.

“Government also continues to say that land supply is the problem but developers already have rafts of land to choose from, much of which already has planning permission. Land supply is categorically not the issue here. We do not need to release Green Belt.”

“Even more irksome, government continues to state without irony that increasing housing supply will solve affordability issues and halt over-crowding, despite all evidence pointing to it doing nothing of the sort. High house prices are a result of low interest rates and high incomes. Increasing supply won’t bring house prices down.”

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