3O – Green belt conservation

Supporting article O: An urgent report to conserve green belts


Michael Donnelly, PlanningResource, 28 January 2010
Green Belt: under pressure
More should be done to maintain and improve existing Green Belt land, according to a report released today.

The report, Green Belts: a Greener Future by Natural England and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), is the first major survey of the environmental state of Green Belt land and the benefits it provides for people and wildlife.

The study highlights the need for “positive land management” to ensure that “this extraordinary resource delivers wider benefits for the natural environment and for the millions of people who live in and around the Green Belt.”

It suggests a number of actions to help achieve this:

– Recognise and protect the Green Belt: Better and more co-ordinated land management would help the Green Belt to deliver vital environmental services – from attractive landscapes, wildlife rich habitats, places for recreation, healthy soils, fresh water, woodland and improved air quality.

– Invest in and improve the Green Belt: Recreational resources, production of local food, fuel and fibre, environmentally sensitive land management and renewable energy production can all be increased, while protecting the Green Belt’s open, rural character.

– Connect and network the Green Belt: Linking the land designated as Green Belt to areas designated for their environmental importance, to urban green spaces and to the wider countryside can help form ecological networks and green recreation networks – helping to tackle the challenges of a changing climate and improving our health.

Helen Phillips, chief executive, Natural England said: “By containing urban sprawl, the Green Belt has been a great success story of post-war planning. We need to look at ways in which it can expand on its success to date and play a full role in supporting England’s wider network of protected areas and open spaces.

“The Green Belt is an important environmental resource that, managed effectively, can help tackle climate change, support wildlife and provide health and leisure opportunities for millions to enjoy.”

Green Belts cover 13% of the land surface of England and contain 33% of England’s local nature reserves.

Quoted from: Campaign update


New surveys for this report show:
• The rate of development is at least one third lower than in comparable areas on the edge of towns and cities with no designated Green Belt (sprawl).
• Twice as much (39%) of the Green Belt has maintained its rural character as is neglected (18%) (character).
• 95% of people value the beauty of the Green Belt and 58% have visited for leisure in the past 12 months (leisure).
• Bird and butterfly species are increasing in population more in the Green Belt than in towns and cities which don’t have a Green Belt. (wildlife)
• New nature reserves are the highest priority for the public in terms of things they would like to see in the Green Belt in future. (leisure)
• 80% of the public would prefer to buy food produced in the Green Belt rather than food produced elsewhere (food).
Monday, 5 October 2009
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