Councils will be banned from permitting the building of incinerators, slurry pits or landfill sites on the green belt, the communities secretary has said.
Eric Pickles said local authorities will be discouraged from issuing planning permits for waste facilities in areas covered by the green belt policy, which limits urban growth.
Local authorities are responsible for protecting the green belt, and must give ‘significant weight’ to wider environmental and economic benefits when deciding whether to allow the building of waste facilities in these areas, according to Planning Policy Statement 10 (PPS10), which regulates how councils can issue planning permission.
Further restrictions will be announced this week, Pickles (left) told The Daily Telegraph.
“[These] new rules will discourage the likes of incinerators and waste dumps on green belt land,” he said.
“I hope this will prevent speculative applications that threaten to harm our countryside, and give more power and discretion for local councils and local people to protect the local environment.”
He added: “I believe the green belt plays a vital role in stopping urban sprawl and providing a green lung around our towns and cities.”
However, Stephen Freeland, policy executive at the Environment Services Association, told MRW that the green belt policy should not thwart the construction of developments that were considerate of the environment.
“The Government correctly attaches significant importance to the green belt, as reflected by the policies of PPS10 and the National Planning Policy Framework,” he said.
“However, the green belt need not be a barrier to the development of more environmentally sensitive forms of waste management development where such development would not compromise the objectives of the green belt designation. Specific locational needs of development proposals should always be considered equally alongside landscape and relevant environmental objectives.”
Freeland added that ESA was not aware of a push to develop waste facilities on the green belt, or that current planning policy favours waste development on such sites over other forms of development.
- UPDATE: A DCLG consultation on planning for sustainable waste management - which proposes strengthening protection for the green belt - has been published. It closes on 23 September.