Green belts
Produced in partnership with Stephen Morgan of Landmark Chambers
Green belts

The following Planning practice note Produced in partnership with Stephen Morgan of Landmark Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Green belts
  • Policy
  • Wales
  • Purposes of including land in green belt
  • Determining the boundaries of a green belt
  • Enhancing beneficial use of the green belt
  • Removing land from green belt
  • Land erroneously included/excluded in green belt
  • Change in physical circumstances
  • Change of planning circumstances
  • More...

The fundamental aim of green belt policy is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open. The essential characteristics of green belts are their openness and permanence.


National policies relating to green belts in England are set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which was originally published on 27 March 2012 but replaced with a revised version in 2018 and again in February 2019. It requires local planning authorities (LPAs) to draw up green belt boundaries and determine planning applications in accordance with the NPPF's policies on green belts. There is a general presumption against inappropriate development unless very special circumstances can be demonstrated to show that the benefits of the development will outweigh the harm caused to the green belt. The NPPF sets out what would constitute appropriate development in the green belt. For more information see Practice Note: Development in the green belt.

The NPPF superseded Planning Policy Guidance Note 2: Green Belts.


In Wales national planning policy on green belts is set out in Planning Policy Wales (PPW).

PPW advises LPAs to consider establishing green belts and making local designations, such as green wedges. Both green belts and green wedges must be ‘soundly based’ on and should only be employed where there is a demonstrable need to protect the urban form and alternative policy mechanisms, such as settlement boundaries, would not be

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