This Government has a manifesto commitment to protect and enhance the Green Belt. Our National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) makes clear that most new building is inappropriate in Green Belt and should be refused permission unless in very special circumstances. When considering any planning application affecting Green Belt land, the local authority should ensure that substantial weight is given to any harm to the Green Belt. ‘Very special circumstances’ will not exist unless the potential harm is clearly outweighed by other considerations.
The latest NPPF published in July 2021 expects planning policies and decisions to support transitioning to a low carbon future by requiring renewable/low carbon energy generation and identifying areas for this infrastructure. It is rightly for the individual local authority to assess each case and judge whether an applicant has successfully argued that ‘very special circumstances’ would justify a planning permission in Green Belt.