Green belt land equivalent in size to 1,100 football pitches has been concreted over each year since 1997, according to the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).

Eco-town construction, claims the report, could also lead to further loss of green belt land.

Green belt land covers around 13 per cent of England, and building on it is prohibited – although local planning authorities can appeal to independent inspectors, who are able to move boundaries.

Since 1997, 1,100 hectares of green belt has been developed, and 45,000 homes have been built on green belt land.

The CPRE’s report highlights another 18 areas around London that are under review by planning authorities.

Paul Miner, the CPRE’s senior planning campaigner, said: ‘The green belt is being seriously eroded. Too much development has already been permitted. We need a strong commitment by ministers in practice to uphold existing green belt policy. We also want the Government to carry out an urgent review of these current threats to the green belt to avoid further losses.’

Planning minister Iain Wright said, however, that the CPRE’s report ‘is flawed and one-sided. The suggestion that the amount of green belt is falling overall is deeply misleading.

‘What the CPRE fail to tell you is that since 1997 the overall amount of green belt has grown by 33,000 hectares.’

The CPRE’s report concludes, however, that green belt land equivalent in size to 1,100 football pitches has been concreted over each year since 1997.

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