'Build on the green-belt' says think-tank

23rd January 2007
A new report by the Policy Exchange think-tank has advocated scrapping the green-belt and simplifying the planning system.
 
A new report by the Policy Exchange think-tank has advocated scrapping the green-belt and simplifying the planning system.

‘We believe that it is time that the system is stripped from this ballast so that it can deal with what it was actually meant to achieve: the coordination of development,’ wrote the report’s authors.

The report, entitled ‘How Planning Restricts Economic Growth,’ blames restrictive measures such as the green belt for rising house prices, the increased cost of land, reduced economic development and even the cost of furniture.

The report’s authors denounce the green belt as ‘a clumsy way to protect the countryside’, and argue that local communities should be given greater say in decisions affecting their environment.

The report seems to support some of the recommendations made by Kate Barker in the review of land-use planning she submitted to the Treasury in November. Ms Barker advocated the relaxation of green belt restrictions so that ‘corridors’ of development could be built on previously restricted land.

In response to the Barker Review, Shaun Spiers, Chief Executive of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, warned that the green-belt was “one of England’s most effective, best known and most popular planning tools.”

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