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The Moral Maze next witness is Tom Fyans, who's director of campaigns and policy at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, the CPRE

Some green belt land is beautiful, but a lot isn't

It's far bigger than it was originally intended

the country's desperate for housing

A human is / is not less important than hedgerows

the greenbelt is the most popular planning tool we've had since the war

It is to prevent urban sprawl, to stop growth, to promote urban regeneration

most importantly in a lot of ways now, it's the countryside next door for 30 million people

when we talk about their wellbeing, the origins of the green belt were green lawns around the cities, for the workers to escape from the industrial conditions they were in for their health and wellbeing

that's what it was for

it still happens now

There's a huge store of national capital in the green belt

it's worth preserving

we should be very proud of it

the world is envious of the green belt and has tried to copy it

the issue is that the green belt's almost completely outdated by now

it's not 1955 any more

any policy that lasts that long surely needs to be at least updated and changed to suit modern needs

We live in a very different time now

it's more relevant than ever

If you look at the threats of climate change, we need green spaces around our cities more than ever

We need to flood resilient carbon capture

We need farmland that's productive to produce food in the cities

With a growing population, green spaces become more valuable and more environmentally important

it's the opposite

It's been a successful policy

Tom Fyans came on the train this morning from London

if we didn't have the green belt, Faversham would be part of London

The same growth as L.A. has experienced in the last fifty years

the Moral Maze would be sitting in London right now

It might have been an easier journey, but it certainly wouldn't have been a more beautiful one

we have a growing population

Tom Fyans

Tom : we have a growing population

George Buskell

the point is that we do have a growing population

George Buskell

we need to build more homes

we need to do it quickly

we're living in a time where millions of people can't actually afford homes in their local area

Isn't that an issue

we really do need more homes

CPRE really supports the right homes in the right places

The issue isn't land area

it's housing building rates

With this planning permissions for half a million homes that are being sat on, Tom Fyans came through Ebbsfleet in Kent on the train earlier on the train as well

They have built 500 houses in the last nine years on a development there

Nine years it's taken to build 500 houses

That's their planning permission for nine years, for 15 thousand houses

Land is an issue

green belt is not the bogeyman of this crisis

There is a supply problem with housing

the government has stopped building houses since the war

There's plenty of brownfield land available

that's previously developed land

There's enough land to build at least 1.1 million houses at least in this country

we should use that first and see where we are then

developers don't want to use that land

it's more expensive

green belt is nice and cheap, fresh

Somebody someone

Somebody : green belt nice and cheap, fresh

Tom Fyans

developers want to just start anew, keep the profit margins high, so prices stay high

Tom Fyans

That's the real morality tale here

the green belt at least contributes to that problem

if you look at actually somewhere like Leicester which doesn't have a green belt, and Nottingham that doesn't have a green belt, house prices are exactly the same

if you look at Cambridge, Oxford, and London, the places with the most recognisable green belts, and possibly the biggest green belts in England, their housing prices are absolutely soaring

They're ridiculous

that's not all to do with the green belt

That's to do with the fact that people are now seeing houses as an investment rather than a home

that is one of the problems

If you look at house prices in those places, they're unaffordable for most people in the country now

That is not to do with the green belt

the government have recognised recently it's a broken housing market

the government has also recognised the sanctity of the green belt

the government does not want to change it

Tom Fyans would / would not accept building on the green belt under certain circumstances

We already do

When it's affordable housing, they're called Rural Exception Sites

when there's small developments that a landowner has put forward ... usually the land is free, which makes it a big problem in this country land value

CPRE does support brownfield development in the green belt as long as it doesn't affect the openness too much

CPRE understands that there's an affordable housing crisis

the types of houses that currently get built in the green belt are generally executive homes

90% of the homes thatCPRE's looked at in the green belt in the moment are not social or affordable housing

we're kidding ourselves if we think that we're going to build on the green belt and solve the housing crisis