The Landscape Institute is to survey its 5,000 members to seek their views on the future shape of the Green Belt.

This will be the largest survey of its kind of landscape professionals involved in the Green Belt and will ensure that the knowledge and expertise of the profession is considered in the debate in the months ahead.

The government has made it clear that the Green Belt will continue to be protected but there is growing recognition of the pressures being placed on our finite land resource. Pressures such as the supply of housing, climate change adaptation and mitigation and biodiversity. This has inevitably led some to question whether or not it is time for a review of Green Belt policy.

An increasing number of organisations and individuals are voicing their opinions on the subject and Landscape Institute members have been invited to submit their thoughts on Green Belt policy as it exists today with their ideas for the future.  Responses should be returned by January 2016 and a report will be made available in early 2016.

Noel Farrer, President of the Landscape Institute said: “The focus should be on increasing densities in towns and cities to accommodate our housing need and increases in population. The Green Belt’s role should be to provide health wellbeing benefits as conveniently as possible for those living in our urban areas. This is my personal view but we need to know what Landscape Institute members think. Green Belt forms a fundamental component of our landscape. As such, the views of the profession are critical to inform the debate in the future.”

Merrick Denton-Thompson, President Elect of the LI and currently Chair of the Policy and Communications Committee said: “The Green Belt has always been a relatively crude planning device to prevent the merging of villages and towns; as such it has only one value. In my view the Government needs the skills and innovation of landscape planners, landscape architects and landscape managers to renew and transform the Green Belt, by giving it new values relevant to the demands of the 21st century.

“Green Belts should become highly valued multifunctional places, distinctive in character, resilient to change, teeming with wildlife, and contributing to local health and wellbeing. Landscape professionals’ analytical skills and imagination are needed by us all if the nation is to sustain the Green Belt for the next century.”

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