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PR 09 - RTPI welcomes CPRE'S Green Belt Concession

26 February 2008

The Campaign to Protect Rural England's (CPRE) acknowledgement that a \"readjustment of Green Belt boundaries\" may be required to meet the housing needs of Britain's growing population has been welcomed by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).

The CPRE's acknowledgement came in its think piece entitled \"20:26 Vision - What Future For The Countryside?\", which was released today (Tuesday). It concedes that the redevelopment of brownfield sites and urban renewal cannot produce enough homes to meet the growing need, and that greenfield development around existing cities and large towns may be desirable, even if it does lead to a reduction of Green Belt land.

The RTPI believes that in a limited number of cases the use of Green Belt land could be integrated into housing policy. In its submission to the Barker Review it called for a set of clear, sustainability criteria against which any proposed changes to the designation of Green Belt land should be tested, to ensure nationwide consistency.

RTPI Secretary General, Robert Upton, said: \"We welcome the CPRE's acknowledgement that an adjustment of Green Belt boundaries may be required to deliver more sustainable development.

\"We believe that taking an inflexible protectionist attitude toward Green Belt land is wrong. It fails to recognise that the best social and environmental outcomes can usually be achieved by putting houses where jobs and services already exist. In a small number of cases this may require an adjustment to Green Belt boundaries.

\"As we advocated in our submission to the Barker report we believe there needs to be a clear set of sustainable development tests to be used to check whether changes to Green Belt are necessary or desirable. These tests might cover such issues as reducing travel demand, concentrating infrastructure, creating green infrastructure and improving accessibility to open space.

\"Green Belt should no longer be the pasture for England's sacred cows: it needs to be an active element in sustainable development.\"

For further information please contact:

Dale Atkinson, RTPI Communications Manager: 0207 929 9479, mob. 07870 672 020

Notes to Editors:

1. The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) is a dynamic organisation leading the way in the creation of places that work now and in the future. Through our 20,000 members, we constantly seek to create areas and places in which people want to live and work. As well as promoting spatial planning, RTPI develops and shapes policy affecting the built environment, works to raise professional standards and supports members through continuous education, training and development. For further general information, visit the RTPI website at:
41 Botolph Lane, London, EC3R 8DL, charity no. 262865