Greening the Green Belt
CPRE London’s AGM 2023 panel discussion focused on ‘How can we green the Green Belt?’
Large swathes of London’s Green Belt are under threat. Hounslow, Enfield and Ealing borough plans have all recently suggested substantial areas should loose their Green Belt designation. In Hounslow the council has proposed removing protective designations from 45% of the borough’s Green Belt and to develop 41% of that land.
It is vital to consider an alternative, better future for Green Belt which has proven its valuable role in protecting the countryside from urban sprawl, and encouraged regeneration of urban areas in decline.
The climate crisis and biodiversity crisis means we now urgently need to look again at what we want the Green Belt to look like and the role we want it to play. As well as containing sprawl is there more it could be doing to help with carbon capture and strengthening biodiversity? What can be done to make it more welcoming and inviting to Londoners with a need to spend time in the countryside away from the hustle and bustle of city life?
It is vital we protect and restore precious habitats such as woodlands, wetlands and chalk grasslands. Nature friendly farming to help meet local food needs is also key.
On woodland creation, an opportunity has arisen for creating The Tree Ring Community Forest – a continuous ring of trees around the capital – a kind of M25 for nature but also designed to nurture the well-being of people – and CPRE is urgently gathering input from community groups and landowner in order to submit an expression of interest for consideration by the Nature for Climate Fund.
The Green Belt is London’s climate safety belt and the countryside on the doorstep of Londoners.
We also launched our Greening the Green Belt appeal at the AGM. To support this important area of our work see Here