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Green Belt and Vacant Land: Planning Permission

Question for Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

UIN 8168, tabled on 24 May 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make it his policy to urgently introduce statutory protections to protect green belt and greenfield sites from speculative developments before wider planning reforms are introduced in the Levelling Up Bill.

Answered on

1 June 2022

The increased weight given to plans and national policy in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill will give more assurance that areas of environmental importance - such as National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and areas at high risk of flooding - will be respected in decisions on planning applications and appeals. The same is true of the Green Belt, which will continue to be safeguarded.

The National Planning Policy Framework already sets out strong protections for Green Belt land, and also expects local authorities to recognise and enhance the importance of biodiversity, valued landscapes and agricultural soils, and the character and beauty of the countryside. Local authorities should give priority to re-use of suitable brownfield land wherever practicable and sustainable.

These protections in national planning policy are to remain firmly in place, and by 2023 will be further reinforced by the biodiversity net gain requirements introduced through the Environment Act 2021. We will pursue options to make the Green Belt even greener.