So far as possible development on the Green Belt is concerned, it is a matter for local authorities to determine the scale of development of new homes through local plans. However, I am told that that the Government is acting to protect the Green Belt from inappropriate development.
The Housing White Paper, published earlier this year, emphasises the Government’s continued commitment to protecting the Green Belt. Ministers want to amend and add to national policy to make it clear that: Green Belt boundaries should only be amended in exceptional circumstances, when local authorities can demonstrate they have fully examined all other reasonable options for meetin their identified housing requirements; and where land is removed from the Green Belt, local policies should require the impact to be offset.
Planning policy also guarantees strong protection for National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sites of Special Scientific Interest. The Green Belt also enjoys protection against erosion from caravan and traveller sites. The Government also has an ambitious programme to bring brownfield land back into use in England and is working closely with local authorities to drive this forward. This will ensure that development is prioritised on brownfield sites rather than at the expense of our countryside.