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Conservative environment spokesman Time Yeo has attacked Labour's first year in power as being an unparalleled disa...
Conservative environment spokesman Time Yeo has attacked Labour's first year in power as being an unparalleled disaster for the green belt.

Since coming to power in May 1997, more land has been removed from the green belt than at any time since WW11 and rural England now faces an unprecedented threat from urban sprawl.

Developments have been approved for up to 10,000 homes on green belt west of Stevenage and for 2,500 homes on green belt around Newcastle even though 4,000 homes stand empty in the city. John Prescott has personally granted permission for homes to be built on green belt near Croydon and for industrial development on farmland in the green belt around Birmingham.

Mr Yeo said: 'The green belt, a cornerstone of our planning system, is under threat as never before. Labour have proved in one year that they cannot be trusted to safeguard the best interests of either town or country.

'John Prescott makes green promises but fails to back words with deeds. The sequential approach to planning he promised in February, which would reprieve many sites threatened with over-development, has not materialised. Despite indicating that there would be a rethink of the number of new homes to be built he has not allowed a single County Council to change their Structure Plans.'

On Friday Mr Yeo attacked the decision by Hertfordshire CC to build up to 5,000 homes on green belt around Stevenage and Hemel Hempstead.

The decision has been made in the face of the continued opposition from local residents and the Conservative group in the Hertfordshire CC. The 5,000 homes are only part of the overall total of 65,000 homes set by the government.

Mr Yeo said:

'This decision is simply another nail in the coffin of the green belt, which has been a cornerstone of our planning system for the past fifty years.

'Labour's first year in power has seen nothing short of a systematic attempt to undermine the green belt by allowing development on it up and down the country. Hertfordshire CC's decision to go ahead with this development is deeply disappointing but not surprising when you consider that it has been legitimised by the fact that John Prescott has personally approved several significant developments on green belt land since last May.'

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