A new map of the London Green Belt was launched to a meeting of MPs in the Houses of Parliament on 5th November 2014. Copies of the map may be obtained by using the order form available by clicking here
Richard Knox-Johnston gave a brief presentation about the map and the importance of the Green Belt. He started by acknowledging the immense amount of work done by Graham Lomas in cooperation with Helen Cooper and Philip Smith of Land Use Consultants Ltd. The purpose of the map is to promote greater awareness of the extent of the London Green Belt in relation to local authority and parliamentary constituency boundaries, historical features, country parks etc.
Richard recalled the purposes of the Green Belt – preventing urban sprawl and protecting the countryside, in addition to encouraging revitalising the towns – and gave some statistics of the London Green Belt:
- 92% of the Metropolitan Green Belt is undeveloped land
- High percentage of “semi-urban uses”
- 9899 Km of public rights of way
- 87,000 ha (18%) is woodland
- 120,000 ha (24%) is designated AONB
- 25,000 ha is SSSI
- 6500 ha of Country Parks
He said that there are over 30,000 dwellings in the pipeline in the London Green Belt, together with over 100 ha of commercial buildings. Cane Hill Hospital in Croydon is threatened with 670 houses and Epping Forrest DC is considering releasing Green Belt to build up to 10,000 dwellings (although the local MP, Eleanor Laing, in subsequent discussion dissented and said that the figure was nearer 2,000). He detailed further threats in Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Surrey and Hertfordshire.
Summing up, Richard said that the London Green Belt Council wanted to see:
- An overall land strategy to prevent ad hoc decisions
- A cross party campaign to protect London’s Green Belt
- Protection of the London GB in every party manifesto
- The countryside kept next door to people in London
A lively discussion followed which we hope will have left the MPs present with no doubt of the importance of the Green Belt to their constituents.