To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 6 December to Question 117028, what assessment he has made of whether alterations made by local authorities to the shape of their green belts have been consistent with the criteria set out in his answer.
Under the National Planning Policy Framework, local authorities can alter the shape of their Green Belt only in exceptional circumstances. They do this through their Local Plan. This involves rigorous consultation in public and consideration by a planning inspector at examination, who then makes a formal determination on whether the submitted Plan is sound. It is for each Plan to be found sound if it is properly prepared, justified, effective and consistent with national policy in the Framework.
In the Housing White Paper, Fixing our broken housing market, we recognised the need for more clarity on the exceptional circumstances in which a Green Belt boundary change can be proposed and consulted on a criteria. We are currently considering the responses and will implement any policy changes in a revision of the National Planning Policy Framework as soon as practicable in 2018.