Written Question on Green Belt

Written Questions are submitted by MPs or Lords to receive information from a Department.

See more on: "Green Belt"
Date Title Questioner
30 Nov 2017, 4:22 p.m. Holly Lynch MP (Labour - Halifax) Holly Lynch MP (Labour - Halifax)

Question to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what his policy is on the use of greenbelt land in local plans when there are insufficient brownfield sites.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

The National Planning Policy Framework encourages local authorities to prioritise re-use of suitable brownfield land for development, and to adopt Local Plan policies that support the take-up of brownfield. Moreover, each local authority is now legally required to publish a register of local brownfield land by 31 December 2017. These new registers will bring many more sites to the attention of house-builders and investors. However, brownfield sites differ, and not all will be available or in the right place for sustainable redevelopment. It is therefore for each local authority, in consultation with local people, to decide what land to allocate for development, as part of the Local Plan process.

The Framework sets out strong protections for Green Belt, stating that inappropriate development should be refused permission except in special circumstances. Green Belt boundary may be altered only in exceptional circumstances, using the Plan process. In the Housing White Paper, Fixing our broken housing market, we proposed that a local authority should be able to alter a Green Belt boundary only when it can show that it has examined all other reasonable options for meeting its development needs. Besides brownfield, the options included under-used land; optimising the density of development; and exploring whether other authorities could help. We will announce our conclusions as soon as possible in 2018.

A local authority can consider any suitable land, but should have regard to all relevant policies in the Framework. For instance, the Framework also asks local authorities to direct development away from the best and most versatile agricultural land, and to recognise the character and beauty of the countryside.

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