HC Deb 28 April 1971 vol 816 cc420-1
37. Mr. Idris Owen

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to complete his review of the green belt; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Graham Page

The review of the progress that can be made in the approval of proposed green belts is proceeding but my right hon. Friend is not ready to make a statement yet. Meanwhile, the green belts already approved will be safeguarded.

Mr. Owen

Is my hon. Friend aware that that reply is rather disappointing because of the slow progress being made? Is he aware that for years and years green belts have merely appeared on town planning maps and proposed green belts have attracted many appeals against planning decisions? Does he realise that the sooner he positively determines green belt proposals the sooner he will reduce the amount of appeals on planning decisions?

Mr. Page

This has to be considered in the context of the regional planning studies. We hope to make a fairly early announcement on the green belts in the South-East, and we have the matter under consideration particularly in connection with the North-West planning study, in which I am sure my hon. Friend is interested.

Mr. Marks

Will the hon. Gentleman take note that the proposed green belt in south-east Lancashire and north-east Cheshire is quite inadequate? Will he protect it from the depredations of speculative builders?

Mr. Page

This is the idea of regional planning, which will take into account the planning of land values and the growth of a region and, in particular, the green belts. Without committing myself, I would agree with what the hon. Gentleman has said about the extent of green belt in the area.