Thursday, 21 October 2021

'Green belt is under threat'

THE green belt in the Chilterns is under even greater threat of development, according to an environmental charity.

The Chiltern Society says the Government’s latest white paper on housing does nothing to protect the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Trustee Paul Mason said: “Eighty per cent of councils in the Chilterns are considering building thousands of homes in the green belt because there simply isn’t anywhere else to build them if they are to comply with existing rules on calculating housing requirements.

“The ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to calculating future housing numbers clearly doesn’t work in places like the Chilterns where there are large areas of green belt and an AONB. The white paper makes no attempt to solve the problem. In fact, it may make matters even worse because a proposed change to the wording of national planning policy would seem, in our view, to positively direct councils to release green belt for development once other options have been explored.

“When assessing future housing, the next government needs to allow for flexibility. It is essential that housing targets in areas constrained by AONB and green belt should be lower to give meaningful and effective protection to these areas.

“The Chilterns, a vital green lung for London and the South-East, will suffer irreversible damage if a tidal wave of new housing is permitted.”

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