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England’s 14 Green Belts cover more than a tenth (12.4%) of land in the country and, according to our research, provide a breath of fresh air for 30 million people. The ever-increasing pressure for more roads, housing and airport expansions means that it is vital to protect the and invest in Green Belts that we have.
Development on Green Belt land is supposed to be tightly controlled so that it can fulfil its main purpose: to serve as a buffer between towns, and between town and countryside. This gives the incentive to regenerate damaged and derelict land within the urban areas surrounded by Green Belt. At the same time, Green Belts bring social, environmental and economic benefits, while giving people a chance to tap into natural capital on their doorsteps.
The Green Belts are a cherished asset, as we have shown through the Our Green Belt campaign, and they’re also extremely valuable for food production, flood prevention, climate change mitigation and much more. International comparisons suggest that without the strong protection Green Belt designation offers against most forms of development, the countryside around our largest towns and cities would long since have been lost. For example, the city of Los Angeles sprawls more than 50 miles eastwards from its centre.
But the Green Belt has never before faced such serious threat as large sections of land disappear under new developments. CPRE believes this trend must be curtailed.