Posted by steve
on Jul 29, 2012 in Commercial Property Property Management
The Greenbelt policy we have in the UK is a bit like the NHS - a peculiarly British idea. Both tell us a lot about the way we see ourselves and our country. We feel that the weak and the infirm deserve to be looked after by the state, and that post industrial revolution, we must protect the identity of our green and pleasant land. I don't think I've ever met anyone who doesn't agree with these principles.
As time moves on, and our nation becomes ever more diverse in its needs to house the population of over 65 million the Greenbelt is coming under ever increasing threat. Should we be worried?
A recent set of statistics revealed by the BBC would suggest not.
The UK National Ecosystem Assessment has revealed that only 6.8% of the UK's land area is classified as urban. This is broken down further as being 10.6% in England, 1.9% in Scotland, 3.6% in Northern Ireland and 4.1% of Wales. This means that 93% of the land in the UK is actually Rural. Furthermore, of the 6.8 % which is defined as Urban only 50% is actually built on. Once you take into account parks, lakes, reservoirs and rivers only 2% of the land in the UK contains any buildings at all.
What does this mean? I guess if you were to look at this in the context of North v South you would find that the proportions change quite a bit, the south containing a far greater proportion of Urban Area - and this is the challenge for Government. The demand is in the South where the pressure on the Greenbelt is greatest - but there is plenty of capacity elsewhere in the UK. Cities such as Manchester are well placed to take up the slack and Government Policy should be directed towards pushing investment towards the northern cities where infrastructure and capacity already exists.