Vast swathes of Yorkshire’s green belt could to be lost to development according to new figures that reveal plans for more than 46,000 homes on protected land across the region.
The number makes up nearly a third of the total number of houses granted planning permission or proposed for building on green belt sites across England, which has nearly doubled to 150,000 since last year.
More than 600 acres of warehouses have also been earmarked for protected sites by planners in Yorkshire, according to data published by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).
If approved, Leeds, York and Calderdale would be poised to lose the most of their surrounding countryside, it shows.
CPRE said it was seriously concerned about whether the Government pledge to prevent building in the green belt other than in exceptional circumstances was being implemented effectively.
But it welcomed a written Ministerial statement from communities and local government Minister Brandon Lewis last month stressing that the single issue of housing demand did not in itself justify building on the green belt.
Paul Miner, senior planning campaigner, said: “Ministers saying that the green belt is not being given the level of protection they expected, is a welcome recognition of the problem. But the extent to which the threat is growing – nearly doubling in a year – is deeply worrying.
“It should not be necessary to build on green belt land when there is enough brownfield land available for a million and a half new homes.”
Campaigners are now calling for action to promote the use of brownfield sites first and new measures to help councils work together to direct development away from green belt sites to areas in need of regeneration instead.
Mr Miner said: “Green belts prevent urban sprawl and are the green lungs of many of our largest or most historic towns and cities. Ministers now need to go further. Hard decisions are needed to help ensure both urban regeneration and protection of the green belt.”