Letter: Ditch the brown belt

Sir: It is refreshing to see that Tony Blair's Performance and Innovation Unit is proposing that the green belt should be relaxed and farmland freed for development (report, 11 December).

At last the anti-development hysteria that has log-jammed new ideas in town planning has been tackled head on. The battlefield between developers and "nimbies", concerned solely with preserving the view in their backyard needs radically rethinking. Green belts should no longer be regarded as sacred cows in a rural pasture.

Green belts surrounding our cities have slowly been turned into brown belts often consisting of lifeless fields, poisoned ditches and fly-tipping areas. They have become a landscape stripped of its wildflowers, butterflies, birds and animals, ruled over by ruthless crop sprayers, chemical pesticide companies and a small coterie of rich landowners that no longer serve the public interest.

Town planners will at last have to stop sitting around like a range of exhausted volcanoes. They should be producing new ideas for settlements for the 21st century along multi-modal transport corridors around which new growth points could flourish.

DAVID WILSON

City Renaissance Ltd

London WC1

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