Statistics reveal green belt land loss

The amount of green belt land in England has fallen by 130 hectares over the past year, according to government statistics out today.

Green belt: small decrease in total area
Green belt: small decrease in total area

National statistics published by the Department for Communities and Local Government reveal that there is an estimated 1,639,410 hectares of designated green belt land in England in 2011/12, according to data as at 31 March 2012.

The figures come just days after planning minister Nick Boles said he would protect the green belt from new housing but called for more open land in England to be used to build new homes to meet the country's growing housing need.

The total figure for green belt land represents a decrease of 130 hectares from data for 2010-11, which the department said was due to three authorities (Chelmsford, Hyndburn and Thurrock) that have adopted new plans that changed their green belt boundaries.

The main reason given by these authorities for the loss of green belt was the release of employment land, the statistical release said.

But the change represents a decrease of less than 0.01 per cent in the total green belt area, which makes up about 13 per cent of the land area of England, it added.

It also said that since green belt statistics were first compiled from 1997, there has been an increase in the area of green belt after taking account of the redesignation of some land as part of the New Forest National Park in 2005.

"Real changes are rare and are the results of new local plans being adopted, which must satisfy the strong tests for protecting green belt land set out in the National Planning Policy Framework," the document says.

Local authority green belt statistics for England: 2011 to 2012 is available here

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