State of the Green Belt 2021


3rd March 2021

Annual report finds pressures on the Green Belt have quadrupled since 2013.

National CPRE’s annual State of the Green Belt report has found that plans for housing on Green Belt land have quadrupled in the past eight years.

There are currently 0.25 million (257,944) homes proposed to be built on land removed from the Green Belt – over four times as many (475% increase) as in 2013.   Only one in 10 of these houses is defined as ‘affordable’. 

Helen Marshall, Director, CPRE Oxfordshire said: “Sadly, the national findings are very much reflected in our local situation.  There are now nearly 20,000 houses planned for the Oxford Green Belt, equivalent to development the third of the size of the City itself.   The pressure on the countryside and surrounding villages will be enormous, but it will also severely impact existing City residents given the increased pressure on transport, infrastructure and services.  For example, there are only a number of routes in and out of the City, which are already highly congested.   We therefore need to make sure housing and growth targets reflect local constraints and prioritise brownfield development.  Land is a precious resource that we will need for many purposes including health and well-being, food production and climate mitigation – we cannot afford to squander it in this way.”

Meanwhile, a new poll, conducted by Opinium on behalf of CPRE, shows a surge in appreciation for local green spaces since the first lockdown, many of which are located in our Green Belts. It found that:

– Over two thirds (67%) of adults think protecting and enhancing green spaces should be a higher priority after lockdown;

– Nearly half (46%) reported visiting green spaces more since the start of lockdown – a dramatic 11 percentage point increase since April 2020;

– 59% reported they are more aware of the importance of these local green spaces for our mental health and wellbeing since lockdown.


You can read a summary of the State of the Green Belt 2021 report here.

And download the report itself here.