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We have to work with what we have. Section 14D requires that planning authorities could not approve any application for development that was
“likely to have an adverse effect on any intrinsic natural or cultural heritage value of the proposed green belt land.”
That is a very high bar and it allows authorities to consider the benefits of the proposals—for example, facilitating access to the countryside.
Section 14D would also conflict with section 25 of the 1997 act, which sets out that decisions should be made in accordance with the development plan
“unless material considerations indicate otherwise”.
Planning authorities must have the discretion to appropriately weigh up relevant issues in making decisions.
Beyond that, definitions, as are, are unclear in section 14D. There is no statutory definition of “brownfield land”, and local authorities are not required to designate it, so it is not clear how an applicant could know what land is considered to be brownfield by the planning authority.
There is also a difference between designated green-belt land and greenfield land. There can be brownfield land in a green belt—for example, old quarries or derelict farms, which could very well benefit from redevelopment.
As it stands, section 14D is a guddle. I ask members to back amendment 130 to remove it.