People can now compare the location of the green belts in England with a range of other datasets including National Park, Local Authority boundaries and the proposed route of the High Speed 2 rail network thanks to an initiative by the membership body of town planners in the UK, the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) in conjunction with software specialists Idox.
The Map for England pilot website is an online mapping portal whereby users can view the effect a range of publicly available datasets on their area and can be seen here: http://www.idoxgroup.com/mapforengland/
Pictured above: The Map for England showing green belts, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Local Authority boundaries and National Parks.
The pilot ends on the 31st March 2013, and the data on the site include the 20% most deprived areas on the Index of Multiple Deprivation (2010), LEP Growing Places funding per head, the Highways Agency Pinch Point programme and the availability of superfast broadband in 2012.
Peter Shand, RTPI Map for England Project Officer, said: "The green belt layer is an important addition to the Map for England, and we have found that it is a subject of great interest to many people. The Map for England now allows users to see how green belt land, alongside other key landscape designations such as Areas of Outstanding National Beauty, relate to areas of predicted housing growth and road improvements. Since the launch of the pilot website in October, the RTPI has been encouraged by the positive response from businesses, communities and the wider public with regards to the initiative. We have found that there is a great desire across sectors to be able to view the way in which a range of national data could affect their areas. In the current drive towards open data, the Map for England is a way of releasing publicly available information in a transparent and standardised format, which would also increase consistency in the appraisal of policy, improve security and resilience, and provide a better understanding of how each of these things relate to each other."
James Sealey, Product Manager at Idox, said at the launch: "Planning is one of our core business areas. When we heard what the RTPI were looking to achieve through their Map for England campaign, we welcomed the opportunity to support their debate utilising our proven capability in providing spatially enabled software solutions for the planning domain."
Additional benefits of the map include:
- Helping to boost growth. Housing, industry and business would be able to make quicker and better informed investment decisions which are more closely aligned to public sector infrastructure funding plans.
- Being much more transparent. Local communities would be able to find out about how government plans affect their areas and to influence them.
- Saving time and money. When writing new strategies, government departments could see the existing plans for different parts of the country and relate their new strategies to them. Datasets drive innovation.
- Helping to coordinate infrastructure across borders with Scotland and Wales.
We are encouraging businesses and the general public to send us their views about the initiative. Our questionnaire and more information can be found at www.mapforengland.co.uk.