Labour plans to build on “grey belt”

19 April 2024

By Richard Knox-Johnston

"We cannot build the homes Britain needs without also releasing some land currently classed as green belt" Sir Keir Starmer has announced.

"Labour supports brownfield-first policies. But we must be honest, we cannot build the homes Britain needs without also releasing some land currently classed as green belt.

“We’ll prioritise ugly, disused grey belt land, and set tough new conditions for releasing that land. Our golden rules will also ensure any grey belt development delivers affordable homes, new infrastructure and improved green spaces.”

The London Green Belt Council has responded with the following press release


Friday 19 April 2024


The London Green Belt Council – an umbrella group for more than 100 local community and amenity groups in and around London – has responded to today’s (19 April) announcements by the Labour Party on housing and planning.

Richard Knox-Johnston, Chair of the London Green Belt Council, said:

“We broadly welcome the Labour Party’s approach to building on inner-city urban brownfield sites which are ready to be developed now and could provide over one million homes, especially for affordable and social housing. We also welcome Labour's plans for affordable housing for which there is the greatest need especially for young people.

“However, we are deeply concerned about suggestions about building in the Green Belt, on land which site owners and developers have deliberately allowed to deteriorate in order to secure planning permission. These sites should be restored at the owner’s expense so that the Green Belt can perform its major role in providing carbon sequestration, reducing flooding in urban areas, providing important food production close to urban centres, as well as offering greenspace for recreation, health and wellbeing, and re-connecting with nature.

“We are also concerned that there will be considerable efforts by developers to show that any Green Belt land in which they have an interest is now ‘brownfield’ if there has been even a limited amount of ‘development’ on the site. This is likely to result in developers’ priorities being Green Belt ‘brownfield’ rather than urban derelict sites where infrastructure is already in place. Genuinely brownfield, urban sites are much more likely to provide sustainable affordable homes than Green Belt ‘brownfield’ land where, due to their location, affordable homes are unlikely to be sustainable.”


Press contacts:
Richard Knox-Johnston, Chair, 07899 795386; Andy Smith, Secretary, 07737 271676, web, email