New protective powers for England’s Green Belts have secured cross-party
A Private Member’s Bill presented today by Mark Prisk, MP for Hertford
and Stortford, and supported by Michael Fabricant will strengthen the
protection of Green Belt land.
Two years ago, John Prescott changed the planning rules, so Green Belt
land could be developed if land elsewhere in the region replaces it.
This is opening gaps in green belts, allowing development to sprawl and
undermining urban renewal schemes. Michael Fabricant explains "Under Mr
Prescott’s changed planning guidance, the green belt separating
Lichfield from Birmingham could be built upon provided that land is
protected elsewhere anywhere in the whole of the west midlands region.
So fields in Herefordshire could be designated ‘green belt’ while
construction begins around Shenstone. This makes a nonsense of the
principle of metropolitan green belts which were designed to encircle
major cities in order to protect the countryside and stop urban sprawl
outwards. This new law would protect our green heritage and ensure that
Lichfield and Burntwood are not swallowed up by Birmingham as has
already happened with Sutton Coldfield.
"Later this year, I will be co-sponsoring a Bill which will prevent
excessive development on private gardens."
The Bill has support from Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs
and is also backed by the Campaign to Protect Rural England. Mr Prisk
intends to seek public support, by petition, before the Bill’s second
reading next year. He says "Green Belts need to be permanent both to
protect the countryside and to encourage the renewal of our towns and