Building on the Green Belt

Nice to see someone waking up to reality:

Policy Exchange said most people were unaware that 90 per cent of England is undeveloped.

Its chief economist Dr Oliver Marc Hartwich, writing in Total Politics magazine, said: "Why is there such a gap between perception and reality? Perhaps because people have been told again and again that open land is disappearing.

"England has no lack of open space. Even if urban areas were expanded by 10 per cent this could be achieved by using less than one per cent of the total land mass. That would still leave 89 per cent of the country untouched by development."

More than 1.6 million hectares in England, 12.9 per cent of the land, are officially classed as green belt, Policy Exchange said.

But Dr Hartwich said the green belt was not full of birds and hedgerows and much of it was instead home to industrialised agriculture.

The green belt added to areas protected for conservation or scientific reasons makes up 55.2 per cent of England\’s land, he said.

Green belts are of course a subsidy to those who already own land inside them. The rest of us have to live either more crowded together or further out from the main cities than we would like in order to provide that subsidy.

This also isn\’t new information, it\’s all been pointed out before.

2 thoughts on “Building on the Green Belt”

  1. I think I probably agree with this policy, but it would nice if people gave the figures as not for all England, which does include Cornwall, Devon, Wiltshire etc, and for the S.East. Maybe it’s 80% that is undeveloped (Kent always looks very empty to me) but it would be perhaps a fairer way of making the case.

  2. “Green belts are of course a subsidy to those who already own land inside them.” How come? They will have surely paid for the advantage, capitalised in their house price. It was, I’d have thought, a subsidy to those who lived beside the green belt when it was declared, decades ago. To remove it now is surely a confiscation (= theft) from those who live there currently.

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