Benefits of Green Belt Policy

Landscape

The idea of a belt of land around major cities and towns that is reserved for an open space was originally proposed to halt the urban sprawl, and protect the rural environment and historic towns from urbanization. However, green belt policy has been shown to have a number of benefits for both rural and urban areas as well as for the environment which has made it one of the most effective measures against the current environmental problems and nature conservation issues.

The main purpose of introduction of green belts – prevention of unrestricted urban sprawl has been shown very effective because all areas that are designated as green belt land are not allowed to be built upon. Some buildings are allowed in green belt such as those for agricultural purposes, while developmental projects are approved only in rare cases. Thus green belt land has become the key in protection of natural and semi-natural environment as well as a retreat for wildlife.

Landscape

By checking urbanization of the countryside, green belt areas helped save the rural communities from being absorbed by large urban centres as well as helped preserve unique landscape which offers many benefits to the urban population as well. Access to an open space provides a number of recreational and educational opportunities, while the physical barrier between urban areas and the countryside improves air quality in urban centres. In addition, the strips of lands that are kept as open space help preserve unique character of smaller historic towns because they prevent the smaller towns from becoming suburbs of larger urban centres and from merging with the neighbouring towns. At the same time, the restrictions in use of green belt land have forced better land use within the urban areas surrounded by green belt land.

Due to a number of benefits of green belt policy, the UK government encourages local authorities to include green belt land in their developmental plans. The policy has not shown equally effective in all areas, however, the time has shown that green belt policy has more advantages than disadvantages especially when it comes to protection of the countryside and improving quality of life for both rural and urban population. Its success in nature conservation depends on the use of the green belt land as some areas that are used for agricultural purposes did not achieved the same level of success as areas that are used for forestry, for instance.