Play your part in this important debate
The Landscape Institute is surveying all its 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 landscape 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. These have 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 stands 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 Landscape Institute 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 well-being. Landscape professionals’ analytical skills and imagination are needed by us all if the nation is to sustain the Green Belt for the next century.’
Members may have noticed that earlier this week, at the same time as the LI launching its own consultation, Government announced a consultation which could have significant impact upon the Green Belt in England. This has been picked up by various sections of the media, including the Guardian and the Telegraph .
In its Consultation on Proposed Changes to National Planning Policy, the Department for Communities and Local Government states its view that:
‘We consider that the current policy can hinder locally-led housing development and propose to amend national planning policy so that neighbourhood plans can allocate appropriate small-scale sites in the Green Belt specifically for starter homes, with neighbourhood areas having the discretion to determine the scope of a small-scale site.’
Further information on the proposals can be found in the official consultation document. The Landscape Institute’s Policy and Communications Committee will be responding to these proposals and welcomes the contributions of all members. If you would like to contribute please contact the policy team. head of policy, at firstname.lastname@example.org.