New research shows over 400 sites are now identified for housing in London’s Green Belt
The London Green Belt Council  has today published a report ‘The accelerating loss of London’s Green Belt – who is to blame? . The research shows that the threats to the London Green Belt have grown rapidly in just 12 months.
- The number of sites under threat from development more than doubled between July 2016 and July 2017, from 203 to 443 and the number of houses proposed on the London Green Belt increased from 123,528 to 159,304.
- The counties with the greatest number of threats are Hertfordshire (44,974 houses), Surrey (37,590) and Essex (35,674). The councils with the greatest number of threats are Central Bedfordshire (17,100), East Hertfordshire (16, 950) and Basildon (13,035)
The research is published alongside an updated Threats to London’s Green Belt Map showing the locations of sites under threat. It comes as the Government is consulting on a new approach to calculating local housing need which will lead to significant increases in housing targets for the majority of London Green Belt Local Planning Authorities .
Richard Knox-Johnston, LGBC Chair says: ‘This year’s data shows we were correct in 2016 to predict there would be a further increase in threats. While Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG ) spokespeople referred to our ‘Safe Under Us’ report last year as containing ‘speculative and misleading’ data, our research proves that, if anything, we under-reported the scale of Green Belt threats.’
Catherine Maguire, LGBC Campaigner explains: “DCLG figures  claim only a small loss to the Green Belt nationally from 2016-2017. This dramatically understates the problem as it only takes account of development that has already happened, rather than the development that is planned which is shown in our research.”
“In fact, the evidence suggests that the threat numbers will increase even more, because many councils have not yet published their plans, for example in areas such as South East Essex, Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks.
“Unless the government takes action, we estimate that threats will increase to over 600 sites by July 2018.’
Richard Knox-Johnston adds, “Councils are being pushed by government to set targets which are much higher than will ever be built. They must release land even though it won’t be needed. None of this will have any impact on the overall supply of housing because land supply was never the problem. But it will mean that Green Belt will be built on before brownfield land. So this is fundamentally undermining the purpose of the Green Belt – to promote much needed regeneration in run down areas and contain urban sprawl.”
LGBC points to further evidence from CPRE’s national report ‘Green Belt under siege: 2017’  which shows that more than 70% of houses proposed for development on the Green Bel tare not expected to be ‘affordable’. 
Knox-Johnston concludes: “Action is needed more urgently than ever if we are to avoid irreparable damage to the integrity of London’s Green Belt. Instead of proposing ill-thought out methods for calculating targets which conflate housing need with market demand, the Government should be reducing the pressure on councils to build on Green Belt land by focusing on genuine housing need and restricting the ability of councils to de-designate Green Belt land.”
 The London Green Belt Council is a grouping of about 100 organisations with a concern for the Green Beltaround London. These organisations campaign locally against development on Green Belt land and collectively they represent over 50,000 people.
 ‘The accelerating loss of London’s Green Belt who is to blame? ‘is an update of the research undertaken for the September 2016 report ‘Safe Under Us? – An investigation into widespread threats from housebuilding in the London Metropolitan Green Belt.’. It is issued alongside an updated Interactive Map of threats to London’s Green Belt, which identifies the locations, and gives details, of sites under threat. Data for the report and map was provided by the following CPRE Branches: Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, London and Surrey
 The Government’s consultation Planning for the right homes in the right places was launched on 14 September and runs until November 9 2017.
 Based on local and city-regional planning policies and new data from planning consultants Glenigan, CPRE’s annual Green Belt Under Siege report shows that more than 70% of houses proposed for development are not expected to be ‘affordable’ It also demonstrates that just 16% of houses built on Green Belt land since 2009 outside local plans were classed as ‘affordable’
 Dispatches – Secrets of Britain’s New Homes, Channel 4 Monday July 10 2017. The recent Dispatches report for Channel 4 used the Local Plan proposals to build on the London Green Belt in Guildford (Surrey) to highlight how increased building on Green Belt does not lead a rise in the supply of genuinely affordable homes needed by young people and families.