The green belt policy in the UK is one of the topics studied in GCSE Geography. This quiz looks at some of the advantages of the policy - preventing urban sprawl for example - and disadvantages - such as a growth in demand for land leading to a rise in urban house prices.
A green belt is a distinct area of undeveloped land surrounding specific cities, with the aim of preventing urban sprawl. The Metropolitan Green Belt surrounding London was the first to be proposed in 1935. There are five stated purposes of green belts:
Stifling the growth of urban areas by restricting development on green belts has lead to brownfield sites becoming a viable alternative for developers looking for a place to build. This in turn reduces the amount of urban decay and promotes urban renewal.
Some people refer to green belts as 'nooses strangling the towns and cities within'. Settlements in the South are finding that the lack of brownfield sites and the restriction placed on expansion by green belts, are together driving up property prices, preventing the next generation from buying homes in the area and forcing them to move away. Commuters may also have a longer journey because of green belts and communities located in the green belt zone may struggle to have planning permission granted for essential services. It could be argued that rising property prices will force people to look at alternatives, including living in cheaper locations in the North with good commuter links to the South. For example, Crewe, in Cheshire, is being proposed as a commuter location if it gets a station on the new high-speed railway. We may see the growth of other commuter towns which are not encircled by a green belt as yet.
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