HC Deb 11 November 1997 vol 300 cc483-4W
Miss Kirkbride

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to change the requirement for areas which consist mainly of green belt land to take their full quota of the requirement for new homes. [14763]

Mr. Raynsford

Government polices encourage local authorities to make full and effective use of land within existing urban areas. The Government have a national target of 50 per cent. of all new housing to be built on previously used land.

The Government's Green Belt policies remain as set out in Planning Policy Guidance Note 2. There is a presumption against inappropriate development in the Green Belt, except where there are very special circumstances justifying the proposal which outweigh the harm to the Green Belt. PPG2 emphasises that, once fixed, Green Belt boundaries should be changed only in exceptional circumstances. Any such changes proposed by a local planning authority would need to be subject to full public consultation. They must be advertised for a period of six weeks, during which anyone may lodge an objection. The planning authority have to consider all the objections and representations made to them. An inquiry must then be held, unless none of the objectors wish to take part. In addition my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minster would need to be satisfied that all opportunities for development within the urban areas contained by or beyond the Green Belt had been fully considered.