Tom Papworth - Senior Fellow at the Adam Smith Institute and author of ASI paper "The Green Noose: An analysis of Green Belts and proposals for reform" - wrote a comment piece for Public Sector Executive calling for radical overhaul of the UK's planning structure:
Voltaire once quipped that the Holy Roman Empire was not holy, was not Roman and was not an empire. In light of the fact that they are neither particularly green, nor are they exactly belts, one might say something similar about England’s green belts.
Originally conceived to prevent urban sprawl, preserve a rural/urban distinction, stop the agglomeration of towns and encourage city-centre renewal, the green belt designation has come to encompass far more land than we have actually developed.
Green belts are twice as big as the cities they aim to contain and 50% bigger than the total amount of developed land in England.
Yet, as I discuss in ‘The Green Noose’, my recent report for the Adam Smith Institute, the fundamental premises of green belt policy are confused, ambiguous and flawed.
The 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 After a comprehensive review of the causes of the housing crisis, it concludes that the planning structure is out of date and in need of radical reform.