I am exceptionally fond of the British countryside. The Government reconfirmed its commitment to protecting the Green Belt in the Autumn Budget. While it is up to local authorities to determine the development of new homes through local plans, I would like to reassure you that steps have been taken to protect the Green Belt from inappropriate development.
The Housing White Paper, published in early 2017, emphasised a continued commitment to protecting the Green Belt. Ministers want to amend national policy to make it clear that:
'Green Belt boundaries should only be amended in exceptional circumstances, when local authorities can demonstrate they have fully examined all other reasonable options for meeting their identified housing requirements; and where land is removed from the Green Belt, local policies should require the impact to be offset'.
Planning policy also guarantees strong protection for National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sites of Special Scientific Interest. The Green Belt also enjoys protection against erosion from caravan and traveller sites. There is an ambitious programme to bring brownfield land back into use in England and work is being done with local authorities to drive this forward. This will ensure that development is prioritised on brownfield sites rather than at the expense of our countryside.