Rishi Sunak has today guaranteed that the Green Belt will be protected if he becomes Prime Minister.

Rishi will use the forthcoming refresh of planning laws (the National Planning Policy Framework) to stop local authorities from requesting changes to Green Belt boundaries in order to release land for development and will order planning bureaucrats to automatically reject any such proposals.

Announcing the plans, Rishi commented that under his Government the planning policy will be “brownfield, brownfield, brownfield”.

Rishi will task his Housing Secretary to change policy to make it clear that inappropriate development should not be permitted on the Green Belt under any circumstances.

He will support local authorities to regenerate industrial land and he’ll strengthen policy to encourage densification in inner-city areas. He will do whatever it takes to support Local Authorities getting Local Plans in place including:

  • Immediately relaxing constraints such as the five year land supply and the ‘duty to cooperate’ which prevent local authorities from getting Local Plans in place.
  • Reviewing ‘Local Housing Need’ projections which are based on out-of-date 2014 ONS numbers and bear no relation to actual population movements.

The announcement is a huge contrast to his Leadership contest opponent who has pledged to build 1 million homes on green belt land.

Rishi Sunak said:

“Green belt land is extremely precious in the UK. Over the last few years we’ve seen too many examples of local councils circumventing the views of residents by taking land out of the green belt for development, but I will put a stop to it.

“Under my plans, if a local community has clearly judged a development to be inappropriate there are no circumstances in which planning permission should be granted.

“More homes can be built while protecting the green belt and our most precious landscapes. Data shows that well over a million homes could be built across the country on brownfield sites with particularly high capacity in the North West, Yorkshire and the West Midlands.

“These places are crying out for new homes and a combination of building here and more inner-city densification will help us provide the housing that the UK needs, whilst protecting the countryside around our towns and cities.”