The greenbelt

MQT on 2018-11-22
Session date: 
November 22, 2018
Question By: 
Andrew Boff
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Are you still committed to the greenbelt in London ?


The greenbelt

The greenbelt

Answered By: 
The Mayor

The draft London Plan provides that the Green Belt will be given the strongest possible protection from inappropriate development.


The Green Belt serves multiple important functions for our city.  They include food growing, mitigating the impacts of climate change, preventing flooding, providing important habitats for wildlife, and allowing space for recreation and relaxation for Londoners.  I am committed to preserving the Green Belt.


City Hall has taken a robust approach to refusing development proposals that would cause harm and any inappropriate attempts to de-designate Green Belt are not supported.  For example, I directed Harrow Council to refuse an application for development where a new sports building would result in harm to the openness of metropolitan open land that would not be offset by the proposed land swap arrangement.  I directed Bexley Council to refuse an application for a rail/freight interchange where the proposal involved inappropriate development in the Green Belt.  I directed Barnet Council to refuse an application for a school in a Green Belt.  Although I do recognise the importance of meeting educational needs, the proposed build footprint and the extent of the development on Green Belt land and open space was excessive.


We are prioritising the protection of the Green Belt from development that would undermine its role or cause harm through planning decisions.  Where required, I intervene in the local plan process where the Green Belt was being threatened at borough level.


London’s Green Belt serves to prevent urban sprawl, driving the re-use and intensification of previously developed land to ensure that the city makes efficient use of its land and infrastructure, and that inner urban areas benefit from regeneration and investment.  This is a key part of the approach of the draft London Plan.


Andrew Boff AM:  Mr Mayor, thank you for those words.  Will you formally object, therefore, to Enfield Council’s Local Plan consultation, which includes the aim of releasing Green Belt for development?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  If it is the case that their Local Plan is in breach of our policies, then I will do what I normally do, which is to object to it.


Andrew Boff AM:  Thank you.  Will you also therefore be more flexible when it comes to de-designating Strategic Industrial Land (SIL), especially for those sites located within housing zones?  Enfield is using the SIL restrictions on it as a reason for now seeking to develop the Green Belt.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Chairman, I am happy to look into the details but SIL is quite important in relation to not just the employment needs of our city but other needs in relation to logistics, planning and other issues.  In general terms, I would not be happy and would normally object if somebody was trying to de‑designate SIL.  I do not know the details here.  I am prepared to have Jules Pipe (CBE, Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills] look at the detail but it has not reached us yet, I believe.  I am happy to look into it.


Andrew Boff AM:  Your office has already listened to representations from the Conservatives on Enfield Council.  I hope your office will now listen to the representations from the Labour Party on Enfield Council, which say that this very strict interpretation of SIL is the motive behind the Council wanting to look at Green Belt.  I am asking you to talk to your own party.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Chairman, with respect, this Member is asking me to talk to the council and of course I am happy to talk to the council, as I do any to council irrespective of party affiliation if their policies are in breach of other London policies.  It is really important to protect the Green Belt, particularly if there are other parts of the borough that can be used.  Sometimes that means increased intensification.  However, of course I will look at the case.


Andrew Boff AM:  I anticipate that the Labour Party in Enfield will follow the lead of the Conservative Party in Enfield.  Thank you very much.