Policy Exchange due to publish report suggesting scrapping green belt in favour of local referendums on planning

An influential policy think tank is set to publish a report advocating a radical rethink of the rules regarding the UK’s green belt land to give local communities more say over the future planning in their areas.

The independent centre-right think tank Policy Exchange is set to criticise the government for the way it has handled the current planning changes and has outlined more radical reforms which advocate scrapping the green belt’s protected status in return for forcing companies to hold local referendums on future development projects.

Policy Exchange is due to argue that developers should be able to build on protected land only on the prevision that more than half of local residents are in favour. Companies would be forced to pay for local referendums to poll local opinion on plans, rather than submitting plans to

The think tank argues that a large proportion of protected green belt land is of dubious help to the environment and actually consists of former industrial land and scrubland which could be put to better use.

Written by Policy Exchange’s head of housing Alex Morton, the new report also suggests that government proposals would lead to speculators banking land in the hope for a higher return once planning permission has been approved.