Headlines: January 28th, 2010

A call is being made today for investments and improvements to protect Green Belt Land. The first major survey of the environmental state of the land is published today by Natural England and the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

The report, ‘Green Belts: a Greener Future’, highlights the need for positive land management to ensure the land delivers wider benefits for the natural environment and for the millions of people who live in and around it. It sets out a series of measures which could help to achieve this, including investing in recreational resources, production of local food, fuel and fibre, environmentally sensitive land management and renewable energy production to protect the Green Belt’s rural character. It says more could be done to maintain Green Belts as part of an ecological network between urban areas.

Helen Phillips, the chief executive of Natural England, said Green Belt land had been successful in containing urban sprawl and added: “We need to look at ways in which it can expand on its success to date and play a full role in supporting England’s wider network of protected areas and open spaces. The Green Belt is an important environmental resource that, managed effectively, can help tackle climate change, support wildlife and provide health and leisure opportunities for millions to enjoy.”

Shaun Spiers, the Chief Executive of CPRE, added that where Green Belt land was underused, or in poor condition, the answer was to improve its quality and not to build on it.