Green Belts: a Greener Future is the first major survey of the environmental state of Green Belt land and the benefits it provides.
The report has been jointly produced by Natural England and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE). It highlights the need for positive land management to ensure that this valuable resource delivers wider benefits for the natural environment, and for the millions of people who live in and around Green Belts.
The report reveals that 30 million people live in or next to Green Belts, which cover 13% of the surface of England. They contain 33% of the nation’s local nature reserves and more than 260,000 hectares of high-quality agricultural land.
Helen Phillips, Chief Executive of Natural England, said: “By containing urban sprawl, the Green Belt has been a great success story of post-war planning. We need to look at ways in which it can expand on its success to date and play a full role in supporting England’s wider network of protected areas and open spaces.”
However, the Green Belt faces a number of challenges, including pressure from development and a rising population. In order to preserve and strengthen it, the report recommends three key actions: recognising and protecting the Green Belt; investing in and improving it; and connecting and networking it.
The full report and summary are available to download here.