Definitions, Purposes & History of Green Belt
Green belt or greenbelt is defined as an area that is reserved for undeveloped or agricultural land to protect the urban areas of large cities. It is an essential element of national planning policy to control the development of urban areas. Green belt is usually laid out in Local Plan by local planning authorities (Green Belt UK Politics, 2009).
Green belt have a series of significant purposes or functions for improving the life quality of humans. For natural environmental aspect, it could protect natural environment, and, to some extent, improve air quality of urban areas. In addition, protecting habitats for wild animals is another function. Green belt provides open space for urban population to access to fresh air. For planning aspect, it is helpful to prevent urban sprawl. Furthermore, the unique character of urban areas, such as the historic towns, could be kept by setting up a green belt. And rural areas are separated from urban areas by green belt. It is aimed at preventing neighbouring towns merging into one another as well (Naturenet, 2007).
The concept of green belt could be dated back to the ancient time. In UK, the first green belt was built by Elizabeth I of England to prevent the spread of plague around the City of London. However, the first true meaning of green belt was not proposed until 1930s. It is known as Metropolitan Green Belt, which is located around London. Since then, it seemed that green belts started to be essential in urban planning. Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and some other groups push the implementation of green belt policy in UK.
Benefits of Green Belt
Green belt has been proved that people are benefited from the construction of green belt. As mentioned before, the most important achievement of green belt is preventing urban sprawl. No buildings are allowed to build in green belt, unless those buildings which are for agricultural purposes. Consequently, green belt area could protect natural environment for the future. The unique landscape could be kept by green belt as well as smaller towns. All the purposes seem to be achieved.
Because of the benefits of green belt, the government tries to enhance the development of green belt. However, it does not have same effect to all the places.
Negative Impact of Green Belt
Actually, despite of the benefits of green belt brought for humans and environment, a series of problems and disadvantages of green belt come out as well. The environmental problems, which were expected to be solved by green belt, are still unsolved. For instance, some green belt areas are designed for intensive agricultural use. However, they could not provide clean air or other benefits for residents, even worse that they could harm people’s health and environment, because of the pesticides used within the areas. It may cause more environmental problems, such as green house effect. The green belt could stop the urban sprawl....