Labour Party & the Green Belt: ‘Build Back Better’ Strategy unveiled

Picture of Harry Quartermain

Harry Quartermain
October 10, 2023
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At the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool, Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner have set out a series of measures that they will introduce if the Government changes at the 2024 General Election.


What are Labour proposing?

They have used their conference speeches to criticise the ‘restrictive planning system’, land bankers, and councils who prefer ‘back door deals’ to proper local plans. They want to encourage the creation of more beautiful cities, a modern electricity network, and the next generation of Labour New Towns. All things that align with our mission, if they can make it happen.  

Key to achieving their plans will be reform of the Green Belt, and this is likely to be controversial, and a far cry from the additional restrictions that the current government were discussing at the start of the year, which we discuss here. Starmer has enthused that ‘Labour is the party that protects the Green Belt’, but he has pointed out that some of the currently protected Green Belt is ‘disused car parks and dreary wastelands’ labelling them a ‘grey belt’.


How could this impact developers?  

According to recent official statistics, 1,638,150 ha of England is currently designated as Green Belt (12.6% of the country). Of this, data from DLUHC suggests that most of the land is used for agriculture (65.6%) with just 6.7% used for ‘developed use’. This must be the grey belt that Labour are referring to. 

So how much housing could you deliver on this 109,756 ha of Green Belt? Well, this new idea is not so new to us. We looked at this back in 2022 in this blog where we establish that just 5% of the Green Belt, if built-out at 40 dwellings per ha, would deliver 3.2 million homes. That’s over 10 years of meeting the 300,000 housing target: a target that’s not been met since the 1970s.

This is good news for developers – the political will to unlock this land could be coming. And LandTech will be here to help unlock these new opportunities for you. 


Watch this space

Will the Labour Party get a chance to put this rhetoric into action? Time will tell. In the meantime, you can read all about the extent to which Green Belt affects your sites in our regional reports - available now in our Reports Hub