The Metropolitan Green Belt covers a large part of the Greater South East. It is a blunt policy instrument that ensures a high degree of enforcement and produces a range of unintended consequences. This has led to polarised positions. Its defenders argue for no change believing that any revision will be the ‘thin end of the wedge’ leading eventually to its demise. Opponents see a failure to address the consequences flowing from a long term restriction of land supply and point out that the world has changed since the Metropolitan Green Belt was conceived.
The Metropolitan Green Belt raises questions about the scale of planning. The development of local plans can include a review of the Green Belt but this does not take place in a strategic context. In particular cross boundary considerations between London and its neighbouring authorities are limited, yet the Metropolitan Green Belt clearly requires a coordinated approach. At the national level policy largely favours the status quo.
This 2017 KEI Project will draw together academic and practice views on the purpose of the Metropolitan Green Belt. The project promotes constructive debate on the purpose and future form of the Metropolitan Green Belt in the context of contemporary housing need and urban development planning in the region. It also asks how, in an era of localism, collaboration can effectively be pursued between different scales and authorities when reviewing the Metropolitan Green Belt.
We are seeking to identify the possibility of a more flexible approach to the Metropolitan Green Belt that supports a clear purpose but which recognises the need for flexibility given the complex and changing needs of London and the wider South East.