L&G boss calls for green belt sites release to ease housing crisis

If local authorities freed up just 1 per cent of brownfield land in the green belt it would create enough land to build 350,000 new homes, the boss of insurance firm Legal & General has said.

Writing on his blog, Nigel Wilson, CEO of Legal & General, said the UK’s performance in housing building has been "simply woeful", and many councillors and campaigners are "still far too likely to turn down bold planning applications".

He pointed to Legal & General’s Let’s House Britain report, created with housing charity Shelter and consultants KPMG, which he said highlighted how house building has been neglected since 1979, with only around 125,000 homes delivered a year.

In order to create a more sustainable housing market, local authorities must innovate to free up land for building new homes, he said.

Wilson added: "Much of the greenbelt is actually brownfield sites and has increased from 1.5 million acres to four and a half million acres in the last 20 years. Just freeing up 1 per cent of the brownfield in the greenbelt, would create enough land to build 350,000 new houses."

Wilson also called for improved planning processes, outlining that "planning in the UK is probably as difficult as it gets anywhere in the world".

He said: "Progress has been made in recent years in cutting red tape. However, ‘nimbyism’ remains a national sport. Governments and local authorities need to work harder to remove the stumbling blocks."

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