Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land are vital !
A report by the Council for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) has analysed all the green spaces and ‘designated’ land in London.
CPRE found, perhaps unexpectedly, that the great majority of sites which are “statutory” or “designated” for their importance for nature and wildlife are in Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land (MOL).
CPRE says “Our new detailed survey of Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land within Greater London – so-called ‘protected land’ – describes borough by borough the extent, location and character of our most precious green space. Using analysis undertaken by Greenspace Information for Greater London CIC the survey shows how important this land is for nature conservation, especially the protection of ancient woodland. It also outlines the growing pressures facing London’s Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land which is meant to have the highest level of protection from development in planning policy.” See http://www.cprelondon.org.uk/resources/item/2409-london-s-protected-land
The report, available at the above link, shows that 92% of Ealing’s designated sites are in Green Belt or MOL. The figure for London as a whole is 95%.
Probably the biggest threat to Green Belt and MOL is councils, sometimes forced by the London Mayor or national government, ‘releasing’ land for building. However, other CPRE reports show clearly that lack of land is not the reason for housing shortage and for housing targets not being met. There is ample land outside Green Belt and MOL to meet housing targets. The reason why that land is not being used and instead MOL is being stolen is the planning system which in turn is driven by politics/ideology.