Leading article: A green Queen

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The Independent Culture
THAT BUCKINGHAM Palace is home to some of London's most exotic wildlife will come as a surprise to no one. Intruders in the bedroom, flamingo-eating foxes and a procession of tinpot tyrants, from Hastings Banda to Nicolai Ceausescu, have all crossed the manicured lawns. And that excludes the plumage of the guests, male and female, at the summer tea parties.

What will surprise many is that the Queen has 40 acres around her London residence, most of it given over to tree and bush, as she is short of gardeners and unwilling to recruit yet more staff on whom to lavish Tesco Christmas pudding. All that land, and not the faintest hint of a housing development to help towards the million new homes that will be needed in the South-east over the next generation.

Quite right. The Queen is an example to us all. What need of Swampy, or man-made burrows to stop the bulldozers, when all we need is to refer to our gracious sovereign and her green belt, sited in the middle of the highest-value urban land in the world? After you, Ma'am.

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