ON the 60th anniversary of Green Belt land becoming government policy, a poll has found that nearly two-thirds of people surveyed believe that its should not be built on.

The Ipsos MORI poll, commissioned by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), has found that 64 per cent of people agree the Green Belt should be protected, particularly in urban areas, while 17 per cent disagree.

According to the poll, strong support for Green Belt is demonstrated across a range of different groups, including people with children aged five and under, those renting from a local authority, and those on low incomes. It also found that more than six out of ten people who live in towns and cities support the protection of the Green Belt.

The anniversary poll comes just weeks after the Government re-emphasised its support for Green Belt protection at the launch of its Productivity Plan.

CPRE research shows that 226,000 houses are currently planned for Green Belt land.

In response to these proposals CPRE is launching a new campaign, Our Green Belt, which calls on the Government to be more specific on the limited circumstances in which Green Belt boundaries can be changed through local plans; As part of the campaign, authorities are being asked to direct local authorities to refuse developments in the Green Belt land that are not identified in existing local or neighbourhood plans.

The campaign is also trying to target public funding, through organisations such as Natural England and Local Enterprise Partnerships, to increase the quality of and access to Green Belt.

Shaun Spiers, chief executive of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), said:“We know that the Green Belt is loved by the general public and supported by politicians of all parties. Yet despite this, it is under greater threat than it has been in its 60 year history. Over 200,000 new houses are already planned for Green Belt land, and a growing number of think-tanks, developers and business groups are gunning for the Green Belt, arguing with very little evidence that we need to build on it in order to tackle the country’s housing crisis.

“The Green Belt is a fantastic British success story of which we should all be proud. It has both protected countryside and aided the regeneration of towns and cities across England. It is good for people’s well-being and quality of life; good for nature and wildlife; and it provides us with much of the food that we eat. Of course the country needs more homes, but we can get them without trashing the Green Belt. “CPRE’s anniversary campaign is intended to rally all who care about our Green Belt. We want both national and local politicians to make clear that they recognise the importance of the Green Belt, and to commit to ensuring that planning authorities secure its protection.”