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Woods and homes urged for ‘wastelands’

Local agricultural green belt land

A new report says much of the UK’s agricultural land, including green belt land, is not particularly green and some should be redeveloped to provide more woodland and affordable housing.

The report entitled ‘Land Economy’ by Mischa Balen, has been published by the Adam Smith Institute, which describes itself as Britain’s leading innovator of free-market economic and social policies.

According to the report, "modern farming techniques turn huge swathes of land into monoculture wastelands which are ugly to look at, and provide no habitat for insect, bird or animal life."

It goes on to say that, "coupled with this is the fact that our planning system precludes even sympathetic development, and creates a restriction in supply for housing which excludes many would-be first time buyers from the market."

BBC News Online has examined the 40-page document and quotes Mr Balen as saying that the proposal would create almost a million new homes and 130,000 hectares of woodland, which equates to about an 11% increase in the woodland cover of England and Wales.

The BBC also quotes the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) spokesman Anthony Gibson as saying that the English countryside is essentially a pastoral landscape.

"I'm not sure that very many people would very much enjoy the prospect of seeing vast swaths of the countryside covered in a mixture of concrete and forestry," he is quoted as saying.

You can discuss this issue in this site’s forum.

17 April 2006

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