Environmental group Ealing Friends of the Earth write of their concern that Ealing’s Green Belt is under threat from Ealing Council
“Ealing Friends of the Earth is deeply concerned by Ealing Council’s plan to cancel all the borough’s seven Green Belt areas as well as downgrade some of its Metropolitan Open Land (MOL) sites.
“The recommendations are part of Ealing Council’s draft local plan which residents have until February 8 to comment on.
“Ealing’s Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land Review recommends: “The London Plan sets Ealing a challenging target of providing 21,570 dwellings over the period 2019/20 – 2028/29… Given these housing pressures, and the scarcity of land for development, it is important to consider all the possible ways of meeting housing need. This includes considering the possibility of Green Belt/MOL providing land for development to a limited extent.”
“The review says that Ealing’s Green Belt plays no role in containing the outward expansion of London or preventing it from merging with neighbouring cities or towns.
“And it says: “The assessment of Ealing’s seven current Green Belt sites shows that none of the sites score well against Green Belt objectives / criteria. Consequently, it is recommended that the Green Belt designations are removed from all seven sites.”
“Most of the borough’s Green Belt sites will become Metropolitan Open Land and should enjoy similar protections to Green Belt. But Ealing’s draft local plan has already identified a number of MOL areas as development sites, casting doubt on how much protection an area will receive.
“Ealing’s review of Green Belt land is faulty in that it quotes selectively from the National Planning Policy Framework. The NPPF says: “The fundamental aim of Green Belt policy is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open; the essential characteristics of Green Belts are their openness and their permanence.”
“Ealing’s review has ignored the emphasis on permanence and instead assessed Ealing’s Green Belt land against a few narrow targets to produce the result the council wants. It hopes this will lead to potential development being allowed on Green Belt land.
“Ealing Friends of the Earth believes Green Belt land plays an even more important role as climate change begins to affect our every day lives. Instead of planning to take Green Belt protections away, Ealing should be using its Green Belt areas to mitigate carbon emissions as much as possible either by planting more trees or rewilding suitable areas.
“Ealing Friends of the Earth says: “Most of the draft local plan is about encouraging development and population growth in Ealing. But we’re concerned that means pressure to build on Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land. We need that land to provide forests and cool green spaces as the climate gets even hotter. Once we build on Green Belt we will never get it back.”
To comment on Ealing’s draft local plan before February 8, go to the council website https://www.ealing.gov.uk/newlocalplan or email email@example.com