What is Green Belt 1

What is Green Belt?

“Green Belt” is often confused with “green fields”.

About 10% of land in England is what is called “urban”. And only about one-fifth of that, i.e. 2% of all the land in England, is actually “concreted over” with buildings, roads, playgrounds, railways etc. The other 90% (non-urban land) is woodland, water and countryside.

However, only about 12% of all the land in England is in a Green Belt, which mostly consists of rings around our big cities. Our area is unusual. South Beds District Council wanted to resist pressure from the Government to build houses. So practically the whole district was put into a new Green Belt as a sort of “extension” to the London Green Belt. This happened in the 1980s. So if you wander into what was the old Mid Beds area (e.g. Flitwick or Ampthill) there is no Green Belt there at all. Nor is there any Green Belt if you travel in any direction from South Beds (except towards the London Green Belt) until you hit another major city (e.g. Oxford, Cambridge or Birmingham/Coventry).

There are five stated purposes of including land within the Green Belt:

  • To check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas
  • To prevent neighbouring towns from merging into one another
  • To assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment
  • To preserve the setting and special character of historic towns
  • To assist in urban regeneration, by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land.

We can find a good interactive map showing the location of Green Belt land can be found from the following link –
Green Belt Map

Article written by Cllr. Paul Dickens.

October 2020