ASI report "The Green Noose" is featured in the Evening Standard

The ASI’s new report The Green Noose: An analysis of Green Belts and proposals for reform was featured in The Evening Standard in both a news article and as the paper's lead comment piece: From The Evening Standard:

Evening Standard comment: We may soon have to build on the green belt

Right-wing think-tank the Adam Smith Institute has reignited the debate about keeping the green belt with a report calling for it to be substantially modified.

It points out that a million new homes could be built by sacrificing 3.7 per cent of greenfield land — the belt of green space around big cities that local authorities have been able to keep free from development since 1947. Indeed one option it suggests is to open up greenfield land for building within half a mile of a railway station. It is an idea gaining currency across the political spectrum: Labour mayoral hopeful David Lammy, for example, has suggested that we must consider building on the green belt.

Demand for housing in London has increased dramatically and supply has simply failed to keep up with it. The green belt serves a useful purpose —to prevent urban sprawl — but should not be sacrosanct. In terms of environmental diversity, not all green spaces are of equal worth: some brownfield sites are far more valuable as habitat than intensively farmed land. It is worth considering whether building on land around railway stations could meet demand for commuter homes.

At the same time, there are other options than giving up the green belt to increase the housing supply. Many developers sit on land they already own in order to maximise its future value rather than using it. There are other ways of creating sustainable housing, such as plans for new “garden cities”. There are also ways of building more intensively within London that could use space far more productively.

The suggestion of building on the green belt is inevitably controversial and would trigger major local battles were any government to pursue it. But this is a debate we need to have: to meet demand for housing, we must now look at every possible option open.

Also from The Evening Standard:

MPs attack plan by think-tank for green belt London homes A plan to tackle the housing crisis by building a million London homes on London’s green belt was blasted by MPs today. 
The Adam Smith Institute called for the development of 3.7 percent of city green belt land within 10 minutes walk of a railway station.
The Right-leaning think-tank argued that this designated special protection is damaging other parts of the city.
But Greenwich and Woolwich labour MP Nick Raynsford said: “The idea you can nibble away at the green belt without long-term consequences is wrong. The reason it was put in place is to safeguard England rom urban sprawl.”
The institute branded the current planning structure out-of-date and called for radical reform.
But Ilford North Tory MP Lee Scott said: “There are a lo of brownfield sites that could be built on, including some very close to stations.”
Tom Brake, Liberal Democrat MP for Carshalton and Wallington, called the plan “too blunt an instrument”. He added: “We need a safety belt around London to ensure it does not suffer the urban sprawl prevalent in the US."

The new ASI report, The Green Noose: An analysis of Green Belts and proposals for reform, looks at the Green Belt’s impact on England’s housing shortage. After a comprehensive review of the causes of the housing crisis, it concludes that the planning structure is out of date and in need of radical reform.