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Tightening the green belt

Britain's cities need to grow. It's time to start building on the green belt

By Max Nathan   February 2007

The green belt is planning’s gold standard. It places a green ring around our major cities, holding back sprawl and protecting the countryside. Over the past 60 years it has achieved totemic status, like the NHS or A-Levels. It is beloved of environmentalists and middle England alike.

In December, the government made these people very anxious when it published the economist Kate Barker’s review of land use planning. In a previous review, Barker had recommended Britain build an extra 140,000 houses a year. Now she was arguing for the government to rethink the whole green belt approach, encouraging cities to…

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