Green Belt SPD and Long Term Environmental Targets

23 February 2023

Two important policies related to the environment.

Guildford Borough Council has produced a Draft Green Belt Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) and will be consulting on the document until Wednesday 22 March 2023 

This SPD provides detailed advice and guidance on Policy P2: Green Belt in the adopted Local Plan: Strategy and Sites 2015 - 2034 (2019) 

An important aspect is that the construction of new buildings is generally considered ‘inappropriate’ in the Green Belt. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) does identify circumstances where development could be considered ‘not inappropriate’.  Policy P2 in the adopted Local Plan: Strategy and Sites 2015 - 2034 (2019) provides further definitions for some of these exceptions. The draft Green Belt SPD provides further guidance in relation to how these exceptions will be interpreted. It has been produced to ensure there is clarity and consistency on how planning applications will be determined when applying national and local Green Belt policy.

To comment on the on the draft SPD, please visit the consultation homepage 

Nationally - Long Term Environmental Targets Confirmed

After consultation the government has confirmed long-term environmental targets, the targets are a cornerstone of the government’s Environment Act 2021 which passed into law in November last year.

The proposed targets cover water, air quality and the diversity of our wildlife, including:

  • Improving the health of our rivers by reducing nutrient pollution and contamination from abandoned metal mines in water courses and improving water use efficiency.  The new targets will tackle the most significant pressures on the water environment and will help with the serious challenges to clean up England’s rivers and support government ambitions under the Water Framework Directive, and in the 25 Year Environment Plan for clean and plentiful water.
  • Cleaning up our air through a target to reduce exposure to the most harmful air pollutant to human health – PM2.5 – by over a third compared to 2018 levels; this will reduce exposure to the most harmful air quality across the country and in locations where levels are highest.
  • Halting the decline in our wildlife populations through a legally binding target for species abundance by 2030 with a requirement to increase species populations by 10% by 2042.
  • Halving the waste that ends up at landfill or incineration by 2042
  • Increasing total tree cover by 3% by 2050, and significant improvements in the condition of Marine Protected Areas by 2042.

The targets have now been published after consultation 

  • The government has also published proposals for nature’s recovery in a Nature Recovery Green Paper.
  • The government is also making changes on how nature sites are protected which is aimed to make conservation decisions most appropriate for each site and ultimately ensure a better, more coherent protected site system. This could include reducing the overlapping types of designation for nature sites, such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Special Areas of Conservation and Ramsar sites.



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