Landscape Institute statement on Green Belt

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    The Landscape Institute has been incorrectly attributed as supporting development in the Green Belt in two recent Times’ articles. To clarify, the Institute’s position is as follows.

    The Landscape Institute undertook a consultation survey with our members in 2015 seeking their views on Green Belt as the first step in ensuring that the knowledge and expertise of the landscape profession is at the heart of the debate on Green Belt policy in the years ahead.

    There are many competing opinions on the subject and there is much public confusion. The public often believe that much of the Green Belt is being lost through development and the debate is frequently portrayed as a binary choice between new housing and Green Belt such as in the Times editorial on 25 October 2016.

    The Landscape Institute believe that the debate is much more complex than this and we need to reflect on what we want from the Green Belt in the 21st century. To this end, we held an exhibition on the Green Belt together with a series of public debates at the Building Centre earlier this year, to discuss how we can bring about agreement on a future for the Green Belt.

    Following the consultation exercise the Green Belt has been adopted as a priority policy theme for the Landscape Institute during 2016/17 and our next steps will see the appointment of an expert panel to guide our future policy activity in this area.

    Landscape Institute statement

    Merrick Denton-Thompson president of the Landscape Institute said:

    ‘The Green Belt has served its post-war purpose well of preventing urban sprawl and the coalescence of towns and cities but it predates the fundamental need for sustainable development and is no longer fit for purpose. The time is now right to consider a new approach that seeks greater emphasis on the public benefits.

    ‘Arguments emerging in recent years underline that the policy should be reviewed in light of perceived or real negative consequences, however unintentional. These include the perception of Green Belt as a contributing factor to the housing shortage; its impact of intensifying development in those towns and cities constrained by it; and the poor environmental quality of much Green Belt land.

    ‘We want collaboration across the built environment professions to campaign for a strategic review by the Government to drive a new vision for a modern, fit for purpose, positive and strengthened Green Belt that can deliver a multi-functional landscape.

    ‘In any new strategic review, we may well consider the funding for a transformation of the landscape to include a Green Belt levy for any development. We need to ask ourselves If Green Belt is to remain a valued part of the planning system, then we will have to designate more Green Belt in areas of the country where the legislation was not adopted. These issues and more need to be debated if we are to create a Green Belt fit for the 21st Century.’

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