Green BeltThe Green Belt is a concept for controlling metropolitan growth introduced around London, England following the Second World War. The idea is a ring of countryside where urbanisation will be resisted for the forseeable future, maintaining an area where agriculture, forestry and outdoor leisure can be expected to prevail. The notion was included in an advisory Greater London Plan prepared by Patrick Abercrombie in 1944 although it was some 14 years before the elected local authorities responsible for the area recommended had all defined the area on scaled maps with some precision.
As the outward growth of London was seen to be firmly repressed, residents owning properties further from the built-up area campaigned also for this policy of urban restraint, partly to safeguard their own investments but often invoking an idealised scenic/rustic argument which laid the blame for most social ills upon urban influences. In mid 1971 for example the government decided to extend the London Green Belt northwards to include almost all of Hertfordshire. The document to be found using the following link sets out the present approach of the UK government towards the green belts defined by local authorities in England or Wales. Local Councils are strongly urged to follow this detailed advice (PPG2) when considering whether to permit additional buildings in the Green Belt or assent to new uses being made of existing premises.
See also: London commuter belt.
For topical summaries of discussions about the possible release of Green Belt land for various developments or urbanisation visit: