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London’s Green Belt: our climate safety belt

24th March 2020

“Our Green Belt is our climate safety belt”, say London campaigners

London’s Green Belt: our Climate Safety Belt – Read our report Green Belt Our Climate Safety Belt  published March 2020, on why London’s Green Belt ensures we build a low carbon city and protects us from severe weather events.

“Our Green Belt is our ‘climate safety belt’, promoting the development of a compact, efficient, low-carbon city and protecting us from floods and high temperatures.”

“At its simplest, compact cities are lower carbon because people travel less by car and goods don’t have to be moved so far. But with more extreme weather events, our Green Belt is also now vital in managing rainfall and flooding and reducing high temperatures generated by the urban heat island effect.

“The incremental destruction of Green Belt will mean we have a higher carbon city with more congestion and pollution. It won’t mean we have significantly more housing nor will it make housing more affordable.

“Londoners, particularly those in Outer London, need to appreciate the negative impact of Green Belt development including bringing many more car journeys to the area.

“They need to weigh this against the potential for improving lives by building attractive new ‘car-free’ neighbourhoods within the existing urban footprint of the borough, where people can live car-free and close to amenities. Those higher density developments can deliver affordable housing and homes near to amenities for older people or young people, or those on low incomes who don’t want to or can’t use a car.

“Planning development around public transport, walking and cycling, and car-share schemes instead of private car ownership, is not only possible but desirable, particularly to older people, young people and people on lower incomes who do not want to or cannot afford a private car. Roughly a third of households in Outer London, and two thirds in Inner London, already do not have access to a car. For those who need a car occasionally, car-share and hire are realistic and cheaper alternatives to car ownership. And high density development does not have to mean high rise.

“We are launching a campaign to raise awareness about renewed threats to our Green Belt, about why Green Belt is so important to tackling air pollution and climate change, and why building on it won’t solve the housing crisis.”

“We are urging members of the public to contact their local councillors and respond to local consultations to say no to building on Green Belt in their borough and to promote more sustainable alternatives.”