A greener future for England’s green belts
Natural England and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) published their joint report on environmental state of Green Belt land in England and the benefits it provides for people and wildlife on 28th January.
Green belts are areas of wild or agricultural land surrounding urban areas, where development is prevented in order to stop urban sprawl into the countryside and retain open spaces for the population. England has 14 green belt areas, covering 13% of the country and providing important cultural services such as recreational space for the 30 million or so people that live near these areas. They also contain a third of England’s local nature reserves, and support more than 260,000 hectares of high quality agricultural land.
The report is positive about the contribution that green belt land has made towards improving the state of the countryside and well-being of the population, however, warns of challenges facing it with increasing pressure from development and the growing population. It urges
– better and more coordinated land management of these areas
– more investment to improve its resources (for recreation, production and nature conservation)
– better connectivity of green belt areas to help cope with climate change and improve recreational networks.
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