The Green Belt is a designation for land around certain towns, cities and large built-up areas, which aims to keep the land permanently or largely undeveloped. The purposes of the green belt are to:
- check the unrestricted sprawl of large built up areas
- prevent neighbouring towns from merging
- safeguard the countryside from encroachment
- preserve the setting and special character of historic towns
- assist urban regeneration by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land.
Green Belt is identified in the local authority’s development plan (usually its Local Plan). The relevant policy guidance on designated green belts can be found in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) NPPF chapter 9 Protecting Green Belts
Green Belts are intended to be of a permanent nature, and there is a strong presumption against development which is considered ‘inappropriate’ within them. Generally development which harms the open character of the green belt or conflicts with the purposes for including land within it is considered inappropriate. Details of development which is considered inappropriate is available in the NPPF and your Local Planning Authority’s Local Plan.
The NPPF makes it clear that, once established, Green Belt boundaries should only be altered in exceptional circumstances, through the preparation or review of the Local Plan.