Land News

Housing plans would 'wreck' countryside

Lawson Fairbank 30th September, 2005

Edinburgh's green belt is, as with most green belt land, a controversial subject. The developers say the land is needed if it is to provide for a growing population while the environmentalists worry about urban sprawl.

Dhief executive of Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh and Lothian (SEEL), Jim McFarlane believes the current green belt policies are outdated and green belt land could be put to better use - without environmental damage.

Existing brownfield sites are filling up fast, with a huge swathe of Edinburgh's waterfront - set to create thousands of new homes and jobs - currently under development.

The Capital already expands by one third through an influx of commuters each day. Allowing businesses to move onto green field sites would relieve some of the pressure.

"The city needs to seriously address the problems of planning, looking at how it can be compatible with the green belt rules," Mr McFarlane says.

"We need to redefine these rules now the city area has expanded. What was appropriate in the 1930s is not necessarily appropriate for the 21st century.

"We should look at opportunities on green-belt sites where there is no agricultural value, such as the south-west wedge and the M8 corridor, which has poor environmental quality.

"Why not have a new approach, with high levels of landscaping quality, using top architects, while respecting the spirit of the green belt? It would redefine the whole approach to the subject."

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