The policy has the potential to unlock land to build hundreds of thousands of new homes

Labour has set out five golden rules to free up poor-quality parts of the green belt in a bid to boost housebuilding and increase affordable housing supply.

It will retain its brownfield first policy, while creating a new class of ‘grey belt’ land to ensure “poor quality and ugly areas” of the green belt can be built on.

In addition, Labour said that plans must target at least 50% affordable housing delivery on grey belt land that is released.


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Labour leader Keir Starmer with his deputy Angela Rayner and shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves (right) at last year’s party conference

Real estate firm Knight Frank has identified 11,000 grey belt sites in England and has estimated that they could be used to deliver approximately 100,000 new family homes, potentially rising to over 200,000.

Labour leader Keir Starmer and his deputy Angela Rayner have ruled out building on “genuine nature spots” and said plans must include improvements to existing green spaces.

They added proposals must boost public services and local infrastructure, like more school and nursery places, new health centres and GP appointments.

Starmer said: “Labour supports brownfield first policies. But we must be honest we cannot build the homes Britain needs without also releasing some land currently classed as green belt.”

The party previously pledged to build 1.5 million new homes over the next parliament and has said it will deliver “a blitz of planning reform” to help achieve this.

The planning reforms would involve working with local authorities to quickly draw up local plans that have stalled and recruiting hundreds of extra planners.

Kate Henderson, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, welcomed the proposals and said: “Building on brownfield land alone will not deliver enough homes to solve this crisis, so it’s right to consider how our approach to the green belt can better serve our country and our communities.”

And Gavin Smart, chief executive at the Chartered Institute of Housing, added: “Labour’s proposal to identify ‘grey belt’ land for development fits well with CIH’s call for a national review of green belt land.”

Labour has also said it will strengthen requirements to approve new homes in areas that do not have up-to-date plans and will intervene to approve new homes in poorly performing areas, including using call-in powers.