The London – Cambridge Corridor: Making more of the Green Belt

The Metropolitan Green Belt covers a large part of the Greater South East. It is a blunt policy instrument that ensures a high degree of enforcement and produces a range of unintended consequences. This has led to polarised positions. Its defenders argue for no change believing that any revision will be the ‘thin end of the wedge’ leading eventually to its demise. Opponents see a failure to address the consequences flowing from a long term restriction of land supply and point out that the world has changed since the Metropolitan Green Belt was conceived.

The Metropolitan Green Belt raises questions about the scale of planning. The development of local plans can include a review of the Green Belt but this does not take place in a strategic context. In particular cross boundary considerations between London and its neighbouring authorities are limited, yet the Metropolitan Green Belt clearly requires a coordinated approach. At the national level policy largely favours the status quo.

The report authors are seeking to identify the possibility of a more flexible approach to the Metropolitan Green Belt that supports a clear purpose but which recognises the need for flexibility given the complex and changing needs of London and the wider South East.

Author: Alan Mace, Alessandra Mossa, Fanny Blanc (LSE) with Levitt Bernstein

Publication date: February 2018


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