The 'Green Belt'

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24 February 2018

Green? Belt

22% of land within London’s boundary is Green Belt land. But much of this is around train stations and very little is luscious and green. In fact, there are 19,334 hectares of unbuilt Green Belt land within a ten-minute walk of London’s train stations. This is not traditional Green Belt land. At no environmental cost, this is enough space for almost 1 million new homes in London. Let me emphasise that I do not advocate for building on areas of outstanding natural beauty or in our national parks. These are national treasures and absolutely must be preserved.

There are 14 London Boroughs with more land designated as Green Belt than is built on for housing. In fact, in both Havering and Bromley, more than half of the total area of the Boroughs are designated as Green Belt! Just 13% of London's Green Belt is wildlife spaces, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, local nature reserves or ancient woodland and these would all have protection under the planning system even if not designated as Green Belt.

After meeting with a range of planning experts and academics, I have a copy of a map showing London's Green Belt immediately surrounding our train stations. Is it all luscious and green? No. See for yourself for the photo above taken from just a short walk from Northolt Station on the Central Line...

There is a housing crisis across our country and there is urgent need for more housing in our capital. Freeing up the Green Belt land immediately around London's train stations provides enough space for 1 million new homes. Watch my speech here:

Since this speech, latest estimates have been released to show that £72 million for affordable homes is to be handed back to Her Majesty’s Treasury by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government because the money is no longer needed. I was so shocked by this that I brought, once again, my solutions to the housing crisis to the House of Commons at a debate on homelessness. You can see this speech here: