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it was an interesting example of where there was a conflation, really, between what the green beltis it symbolicis it really a thing in itselfwhat we had tonight was an argument which we started out talking about whether the green belt was full of golf coursesthis marvellous bit of nature that Goethe would have celebrated, had he been around nowwe ended up with it being very functionalfor Jane it was about having something nice to look at on the train from Londonshe thought that a train journey might be a bit boring if we didn't have itwell get something more sensational to read on the trainit was an interesting example, it was different things to different peoplethe witnesses who were suggesting that you couldn't really touch it otherwise something dreadful would happen actually disagreed on what the something dreadful wasClaire's having none of it
An interesting example of the dilemma we've got is that one of the panel madewhen you're in your hospital bed, nature is valuable for humansyou look out and seeYes, Maddiegreat pointthat's a wonderful way to think of natureI want to be able to build the hospitalI want to be able to create antibioticsI want a cure that's beyond looking out the window at the fieldThe field is a nice thing that we as humans might addit's very low down the pecking order of, in my sense, a sense of prioritieswhat I wanted to get over today is not that I despise the beauty of naturealthough we've established that just 'cos the green belt's called "green" it's not necessarily beautiful greenerywe are above and beyond natureNature is now at our servicethat's it's great beautywe are not natureWe are natural, but we overcome natural limitsThat's why we're sitting in with electricitywith all the gains of modernityhuman consciousnessour capacity to socialise and reflect and have a morality is what makes us distinctIf we were natural, we would just benature's pretty grimIt's a fightit's savage, you want to overcome itI'm having none of thatit's at the moral heart of thisGeorge and Poppy were impressingvery good, very goodWe're talking about what we morally aspire toyour caricature of Poppy's point about development meaning a carpark is just cheaprightIt's called moving things forward and not getting stuck in the past
I'd describe myself as a vandalI'm a nice vandalI don't think that the homes of normal, average working people should be compromisednor their ability to buy a home should be compromised by the existence of some pretty useless grassthe issue is that the green belt's almost completely outdated by nowit's not 1955 any moreany policy that lasts that long surely needs to be at least updated and changed to suit modern needsWe live in a very different time nowyou mentioned that we have a growing populationthe point is that we do have a growing populationwe need to build more homeswe need to do it quicklywe're living in a time where millions of people can't actually afford homes in their local areaIsn't that an issuethe green belt at least contributes to that problemif you look at Cambridge, Oxford, and London, the places with you know the most recognisable green belts, and I think possibly the biggest green belts in England? Their housing prices are absolutely soaringThey're ridiculouswould you accept building on the green belt under certain circumstancesI think we've kind of been focusing on like housing in terms of development a bit too muchNow, lots of people like naturethey love fieldsthey also don't like the fact that they have bad broadband connectionsThey don't like the fact that they have to travel 20 miles to get to a GPSurely their concerns are importantwhat about the fact that the countryside's been changing since the industrial revolutionsurely progress is a good thingwe should be open-minded and forward-looking as opposed to looking backwards to this sort of 20's view of the countryside where we overly-romanticise itYeahI mean we would have to place moral importance on elements of landscapePeople obviously get a lot of enjoyment out of countrysidethe issue is when there are genuine human needs, like development and infrastructure, they need to be taken into account firstIf it is truly the case that developers only want to build on the green belt because it's cheap and because they want to increase their profit marginsthat's obviously a problemwe should look to other placesif it turns out to be the easiest and simplest solution to the problemthe problem at hand is bigit's getting worseperhaps we may have to look at the cheapest and easiest solutionI think that the people that are in need of the homes are the communityultimately they are being stopped by the individuals that perpetuate this. Sort of like an attitude towards homes where they're like an investment, rather than a place to liveI guess they've become sort of like a sort of a difference between the collective good and what the community wantsI think there definitely is a differencepeople aren't infalliblethat doesn't make it the collective goodIs it morally justifiable that one group in society directly benefits and makes a huge amount of money off the fact that some people can't afford to buy their own homesYeahI definitely argue that nature has utilityas someone previously pointed out, the green belt isn't necessarily naturea lot of the green belt, although you can say "Oh, it's very nice. We can go out to this park, we can all go out and have some fun"not everyone cana lot of it is actually used for ridiculous things, like private golf coursesWell who benefits from thatThe people who can afford to play golfIt's not all valuable, in that sense
Anne's talking rubbishPoppy was talking rubbish toonature is not something 'out there' that you either like or you don't likeJane made this point very well, and MaddieNature is usIt is who we areWe are as much a part of it as it is 'out there'It's what we breatheit's what we eatthe idea of being 'against nature' or 'for human beings' is a false distinctionNature is usprotecting nature is protecting us
Not reallywe would only need to give up a small amount of land to accommodate the developments required, full stopthe figures that were spoken about earlier, if you look at 11% of England is already developed?In order to accommodate two thousand houses for the next fifteen years, we're only looking at a figure of one percent anywayif we can't find one percent out of the remainder of land that isn't protected in England, I'm not quite sure what we're doing wrong, to be honestOne of the bits of discussion that hasn't come out so far is the link that we inherently have with the environmentwe are part of naturenature is part of usWe're distancing ourselves from it, as if it's something we can work on, we can manage, we can embed in our economic systems without actually maintaining the link that it inherently has with us as a speciesWe're talking about housing and accommodation hereactually the greatest accommodation we have is our environmentIt's just a different levelif we get that wrong, we get it all wrongOur water is filtered through our environmentour health and well-being is ultimately dependent on the quality of that environmentwe may well differ in certain areas, but actually our fundamental well-being is linked to the sustainable management of our environmentYou couldThere are plenty of places in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland I suspect that can be developed perfectly wellThe reason these areas are protected is not because there's been some arbitrary decision to protect these areas because they fulfil certain criteria nowThey've been protected for a long timeThere is a national consensus that the value of some of these areas that require protection is just that: there's a national consensus on their value, hence the importance of protecting themThat's a very good questionour planning policies allow fulfilling engagement in the development of local plans and programsThere is also a national elementA lot of these areas were designated - this is not just green belt, this is areas of outstanding natural beauty and the national parks - were designated, or at least the process for setting their designation came apart shortly after the Second World War, when there was a real re-evaluation of what actually was important, and how we were actually going to look after those areas that we consider to be important in the nation's interest, not just for local interestEverybody does have a different view. But where we do have commonality is an understanding that the benefits that we derive from a healthy, functioning environment supports us per seour food comes from our environmentAbsolutelyin areas of outstanding natural beauty, the planning processes that take place within, or the area planning processes take into account people's concerns around broadband, around access to servicesI think anybody managing any form of protected landscape has this central to their thinkingyou used broadband as an exampleThe market doesn't necessarily support the rollout of broadband to these deeply rural areasin the same way that housing is an issue, it's not always economically viable to do thatthere needs to be support mechanisms in place to actually deal with some of these issuesthese issues aren't there because these areas are protectedthese areas that common across all rural areas, they happen to be protected as wellYeah, absolutelyI couldn't agree moreThe landscape has been changing for millennia, and not just for the last hundred years or soThese landscapes are products of human endeavourThey aren't naturalthey're no more natural than anything elseIt would be absolutely wrong to look at them as areas of preservationThat's not what they're aboutI would like to think that there's a lot of effort at the local level going into innovative housing, innovative design, innovative land management that actually ensures that these landscapes remain very contemporary, actuallyThey have been changingthey always will changeactually designing or managing the design of that change is a really important step in their managementThe reason a lot of people want to move out to what they see as 'idyllic countryside' is that we don't even get our planning right in the towns and cities, where we should be concentrating most of our effort
we have a responsibility to preserve naturea responsibility to ourselves to finding natureif that makes me a NIMBY, than so be itIs it the principal of the green belt, or the way the policy's been applied that you'd say you object to?would you say that nature just doesn't really have any value to you whatsoever?Does it have to do something or be staggeringly beautiful like the lake district to actually be preserved?with 25 million empty bedrooms in the U.K. and lots of brownfield sites available, why are you so fixated on the green belt?Are there not other options that we should explore first?Just cos it's the easiest, should we take that one?with 25 million empty bedrooms in the U.K. and lots of brownfield sites available, why are you so fixated on the green belt? Are there not other options that we should explore first?for you ... is it a case of the collective good versus the individual good that's the problem heredon't you think that maybe sort of small villages, communities, towns, families ... do they not count as their own collectiveDo they not have their own collective good, to not think of their opinionbecause often, small villages will want to maintain their green belt, their area, their sort of beauty of their areaDo you not think that we should value their opinionthere must be people out there that just want to maintain the green belt for natural value, not just because they want, you know, sustainable housingthey actually want to maintain the environmentdoes that sort of mean that poorer people who then can't access this kind of housing, do they not really care about natureWould they rather just, you know ... "let's just build on the green beltPoorer people : I need housesPoorer people : get rid of natureWell, I'm gonna be honest. I don't agree with you,I'm part of the younger generationI'm not so obsessed with having a house that I want to build on the green belt,I think that you've overlooked that a little,you've overlooked the fact that young people aren't all obsessed with having a house.Nothat's a very powerful pointwhen you go on the train from Faversham and you go up to London ... when you're sitting in that train, you don't really appreciate what you're going pastthis is miles and miles and miles of greenfieldwe would surely notice that, if that was all buildingsWe would look out the window, and this sounds such a stupid point, but it would make train journeys so boring, if all you ever see out the window is the same thing over and overObviously there's an issue with people having to commute to workI think that really, is the slight annoyance of having to get on a train to go to where you work or to go wherever, compared to sort of preserving natureto me that sounds like a much bigger sort of proTo me, that's just ... that doesn't even ask a questionTHat's just nature and someone having to be on a train for an extra 20 minutes. What do we value moreWhere would you stop with this developmentthere's gonna be people everywherehow - where are you going to stop this development to sort of make it easier for everyone to get to workI think it was a very important point to make, that actually we need natureWe can't just brush it off as a few trees that we're getting rid ofFundamentally, humans need nature to surviveWe can't just sort of say "We need houses, so let's build it ... nature's gone, we won't be able to breathe, but it's fine".The fact that you're trying to boil it down to such a binary social and sort of the natural world ... you can't,it's such a blurred line between the twoit's so interconnectedYou cannot really separate themI think if you try to do that, then it becomes quite a dangerous argumentI think you really have to think about the implications that both have on each otherthere are 25 million empty bedrooms in our cities
I'm eithernature is valuable in and of itselfit's time that we start realising that it's moral worth is not defined by what we as humans can fund with itit's value's intrinsic, and not instrumentalI would kind of like to jump on your feeling of responsibility to my generation, really.I think that's all well and gooddon't we surely have a responsibility to the generations that come after me?Don't we have a responsibility to preserve nature for them?So with your kind of new emphasis on development, are you kind of okay with letting loose on the greenfield cites,possibly leaving my children, my grandchildren with a world of concrete?See, that kind of brings me on to my next point.Surely there's an argument for saying that my generation should be the first generation to say "you know what? I'm going to settle for less. I'm going to appreciate the damage that development has done to our kind of environment"you yourself say that now we know more than ever about kind of the environmental situations that we ourselves are creating.Surely we should be the ones to take that moral stand.Surely that's not good for development within the cities, rather than expanding outwards, to restrict kind of the damage that urban areas doI want to pull it a little bit back to nature, rather than buildings.So, nature's value ... is it intrinsic, or is it instrumental?So, what do you need nature to be to justify it's worth?How does it need to justify it's worth?Okay, but I mean development as we've seen it so far, all it's gone to do really is line the pockets of the developers themselves.How are we ensuring that the benefits of development are actually going to go to the people that need it?So, I would like to bring you back onto this kind of point about our obligation to nature now that we know more.How do we know that we don't continue doing the damage that we have so far?Well, I mean when it comes down to it, I - don't shake your head, Poppy.When it comes down to it, I think my generation are the ones who have been educated the most about this topic.I think it really comes out when you have arguments like this.even in this room today, all of the talk of development has been about environmentally friendly development, and it shows a lot about the values in this very room, and about how much nature means to every single one of us.We can completely see how much nature means to us just by this conversation.Well, my mother rents and my father ownsI can see both sides of itI think we all accept the realities of what we have to live with, and we'll all deal with it.I don't think either way my quality of life is going to dramatically drop down the drain. I think I'll be fine, thanks.The key to this argument and the key to moving forward is development within the cities, which is actually what people wantWhen people want to live in a city, they want to live in an urban area, they want to be close to things, they want to be close to facilitiesI'm afraid I disagree with Poppy in the fact that yes, you want to live in a city, but there are many, many, many other people that want to live in the countrysidethe thing is, when you expand outward the cities, you don't end up with people living in cities, you end up with people living in suburbiaThat's the differenceCould I just jump in there by saying that, I mean, if you want to look at a collective, look at the popularity of the green belt policyIf you want to look at us as a nation coming together over what we believe in and what we think has moral value, I think you'll find we like the countrysideGood pointI still think you're a little bit outnumberedI take it backWell ... oh, sorryI think you'll find that if you end up doing that most people would ask to put a green belt around that as wellNoI mean, I take your point, if I'm allowed to say that on the Moral Mazehonestly, I think everyone should have a say, irrespective of whether they are housed or not housedEveryone's opinion on this is validI don't own my own homeI am a member of the young generationI personally place more value on nature on the moment than ripping up plans for the green belt and expanding outwardI think you'll that humans are in fact part of natureI don't think we can separate ourselves outas much as we like to think we can dominate it and that we're somehow masters of the natural realmit was here long before usit'll be here long after we're goneit was picked on a little bit in the debate, but I don't think we really put as much emphasis as we should on our connection with natureLooking into - this is going to sound rather stupid, but looking into development for new hospital blocks, for example ... there has been a lot of emphasis on making sure people that are lying in their beds can look out their window and see a garden, Or look out and see some greenery, and have that connection with the natural worldwe have so long been taught to ignore as people. Which is just wrong.
one of the things about human being should be our capacity for imaginationthe arguments that we heard from Shiv Malik and Tobey Lloyd was a kind of lack of imaginationwe could massively increase the density of our citiesas Jane said, there are 25 million empty bedrooms in our citiesWe can have land taxesThere are all sorts of ways we could accommodate more people in better cities without having to damage naturewhy is nature the victim of the human failure of our planning policyWhy don't we have human solutions to human problemswe can't resolve thisrather than saying "Well because we can't resolve thiswe can't resolve inequalitybecause we can't resolve inequalitywe can't make developers more imaginativeit's the green belt that has to suffer for our failureI find your vision of the future terrifyingit feels like the whole world is a Naughty Story carparkOh godhave we done nothing wronghave we done nothing wrongis there nothing that human being have done in their dominion over nature that worries youIs it all progressIs everything progressIs there nothing that's you'd like to go back and changeThe dodo
For my generation, home ownership has been a one-way ticket to prosperitySome have made more from their houses than from a lifetime of workFor the generation that form our audience here at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, it will likely be an increasingly impossible dreamHouse prices have tripled in the last 20 yearsIf general inflation had increased since 1971 at the same rate as house prices, a chicken would cost £51There are many reasons for thisthe most important one is the shortage of building landSmall islandcrowded at this endtight building regulationsthe green beltpreserved with the best of intentions to stop urban sprawl, protect our beautiful countrysideshortage of building land means fewer homes get builtShort supplyincreasing demandhigher prices70% of the cost of a new home is in the land it stands onIt was less than 25% when I was your agethere's a growing clamour to unlock the green beltthere is such vested interest to protect itThe moral argument is much deeper and more complicated than drawing a line between environmental protection and selfish NIMBYismDoes our physical landscape have a moral value beyond what use it can be put to by humansWhat about intergenerational justiceDo we have an absolute moral obligation to provide for the next generation, whatever the consequencesAnd provide whatAdequate shelter may be a basic human rightis home ownershipmore successful countries, like Switzerland and Germany, prefer to rentIs home ownership a moral good at all, or merely the symbol of a society whose only moral is materialismThat's our Moral Maze tonight, and our student panel - Poppy Cleary, who wants to become a barrister; Jane Fidge, who wants to study politics; as does Maddie Groeger-Wilson, who wants to do politics and international relations, and George Buskell, who also wants to study politicsNo shortage of future politicianswhere do you stand on all of thisare you a NIMBY or a vandalJane FinchMaddie Groeger-WilsonGeorge BuskellOur first witness is Shiv Malikhe is a journalist who writes on political issues affecting young people in particularHe co-wrote the book Jilted Generation: How Britain Bankrupted its YouthShiv Malik reckons - as I understand it - the shortage of building land is wrecking the lives of our younger generationShiv Malik reckons you lot are having a dreadful timeShiv Malik reckons it's his faultMaddieShiv Malik, thank you very much indeed.Our next witness is Tom Fyans, who's director of campaigns and policy at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, the CPRESome green belt land is beautiful, but a lot isn'tIt's far bigger than it was originally intendedthe country's desperate for housingA human is less important than hedgerowsGeorgeOur next witness is Toby Lloyd, who's head of housing development at Shelter, and co-author of a new book, Rethinking the Economics of Land and Housing, which places it squarely in today's issue.Toby Lloyd, is your basic position that "all property is theft", but home ownership is particularly pernicious and damaging to society?Okay, Maddie.JaneOur last witness is Howard Davieswho's chief executive of the National Association of Areas of Outstanding Natural BeautyI suppose the argument is, you'd only have to give up a small amount of green belt to build homes for a rather large number of individuals or familiesIt's people versus dirt, isn't it?GeorgeHoward Davies, thank you very much indeed.ÂSo, student panel, what do you think of what you heard?Jane. Shiv Malik, our first witness, I think he said that his generation, or the younger generation were serfs.Do you feel a trainee serf?you the sort of person who would settle for less?And Maddie, was it you that said "perhaps we ought to settle for less",And if the end result is ... I don't know, I mean ... maybe your own family own their own home, but you won't own your own home. You won't feel unfairly cheated or generationally abused?Poppy, you were shaking your head. Will you be fine?Or resentful?PoppySecond witness, Tom FyansGeorge ... I mean all our witnesses had powerful arguments and well-organised argumentsTom Fyans' argument was centred on that there's a moral value to landscape, above and beyond human utilityIs that something you would take issue withThe argument I suppose that would resonate with a lot of people that Tom Fyans madeactually green belt was made as attractive to developersit's cheap to build onit's the only place where you can build homesJane, his argument that, you know, if it wasn't for the green belt that Faversham would be on the outer ends of L.A., is that ... actually, that sounds rather attractive, come to think of itno, no, no. No.And Poppy, somebody said "what's wrong with urban sprawl?"What is wrong with urban sprawlCan we make this a doubles match as well as a singles matchGeorge, it's quite interesting with our next witness, Toby Lloyd, where ... or maybe I wasn't following it closely enough, but it's quite interesting with this argument about how much it is to do with the individuals' rights and responsibilities versus the communities', and which way round that argument wasmaybe I wasn't following it closely enoughToby : it is to do with the individuals' rights and responsibilities versus the communities'Where do you think the locus of that argument lieswhen the Faversham Heritage Society, if there is such a thing, objects to development plans, they're just a collection of atomised individuals, are they? With less moral forceYeah, MaddieWe never say "good point" on the Moral MazeNever give an inchGeorgeMaddieToby : if you're looking at it from an environmental perspective, here are people who are having to commute across the green belt with its own inherent environmental problemsdo you not think that Toby had a pointPoppyGo on, JaneOh sorry, go on JaneJane first, then MaddieMaddie, wouldn't you accept the argument put forward by the one side of the argument by two of our witnesses that in this debate, it is the well-housed, it is the affluent, dare I say it is the more elderly who have the sayTwo of the Moral Maze's witnesses : the homeless and the young don't have much of a say in this argumentDo you not think that's institutionally unfairYou can, to meMaddiePoppyOur last witness, Howard Daviest got to an interesting binary issue - I can't remember who raised it with him - about whether the social was more important than the naturalIs that not what it boils down to, Poppy, do you thinkIt's human utility, it's ... human beings are much more important than any old tree is, as somebody mentionedGeorge ... just going back to what Howard Davies was saying as our last witnessHe was saying that even going along with the human utility argument, which you've espoused, it is rather important to us for utilitarian reasonsIf we develop on floodplains, we get a lot of floodingour health is essentially - probably our physical and our mental health - are banned up in an environment which we enjoy and doesn't threaten usI must add golf club members to the list of well-heeled, affluent, and old people who haveJane, come onLast word, with youlet's now turn to our established panelAffluent, well-heeled, old golf club member, Claire FoxHow's your chipping these daysThat was MaddieMatthewAnne McElvoy has the answer to that questionGilesIt's a technical term
I'm on the vandal sidethe joining of nature and people is not fundamental to my identityI don't think that it's fair for me to be restricted in such a way that the green belt proposesI want the freedom to be able to build a house near a city that I want to live and work inthe green belt was created in 1955as George already outlined, we live in a very different societythe green belt isn't necessarily a thingit's manmadeit's created by humansWho's to say we can't tear it up and remake a different policy better-suited to our needs?If it's a constraint, shouldn't we take away the constraint that should stop affordable houses being built in the right places?It's not just about creating the homes for people who want them, but they need to be in the right areaif the green belt is cheap, than certainly by opening up the entire area, you're gonna create the idea and the ability to create affordable homes in that areaDo you not think that if you opened up the green belt area that is so valuable to many people, that the housing market would adapt itself to enable affordable houses to be built in the areas that people want to live in?you argue that human identity is linked to the natural environmentwouldn't a human-centred approach to nature mean that you put humans first, so you would build new homes for humans and infrastructure for humans above everything else, no ifs, no buts, no "what about the environment"?everybody has a different view of what the environment means and is to themMine is development, houses, parks, leisure centers, businesses, families being able to live in open countryside, and have good standards of living there and trove thereA countryside and environment and nature full of peopleI'm sure that's different to yoursCan't you sustain the environment in England and in Britain and in the U.K. but still decide to build houses and develop in areas that don't need to be protected?who decides how they're valuable?Who decides what's worth protecting and what's not worth protecting?I disagree, I-I place a great importance on the prospect of owning a home in a city that I want to work in and that I want to live in for a lengthy period of time.I disagree with Jane's point that the young generation don't care about owning a home,owning a home and having that security in your life is of great importance to me.With such an arbitrary piece of policy such as green belt land, it's not fair - especially on younger generations -it's not fair on anybody that wants to live in an area that's heavily populated or very popular.I don't see the problem with urban sprawl.I don't think there is anything wrong with urban sprawlLike one of the witnesses outlined, if we didn't have the green belt than Faversham would be part of Londonthat's greatI'd love thatI think that would be beneficial to peopleI think that city growth and the growth of areas where people want to live is importantit's a benefit to humanitythere's a limit [crosstalk 00:39:39] to how many people that cities can accommodate until you have no choice but to expand upon themWhereas if you are so inclined with the view that you want to live in the countryside and you want to have acres of field around you, then there's more options for that sort of person than there are for a person who wants to live in a citycities have grown considerably since they were first establishedLondon has grownit can continue to growYou can still preserve nature whilst accepting that cities can expand a bitYou can still preserve vast areas of nature in nature whilst accepting that you don't want a two hour commute into the city where your job isLike was point upon earlier by some of the witnesses. You can create new citiesYou could completely re-imagine the environment and the landscape in which we live inthere hasn't been a new major city in years and years and yearsWe can completely restructure the way that we live inI mean, then that's surely an issue with the property market, rather than actual protection for natureI would agree with that statementhuman beings are more important than the treewe need some sort of greenery and environment in order to have a remotely sustainable beingnature holds any sort of moral superiority to humanshumans are dominant over natureshould continue that waythere should be areas that exempt from thatI don't think that is part of my identityI can understand that I'm part of an ecosystem and that I utilise as a human parts of the environmentI don't think that people's value of nature should equate to a law or equate to regulations that stop me developingthat's a connection that you have to the natural world, that's not a connection that I have to the natural world
We've really suffered in this country, I think, from a lack of imaginationalso we've looked upon sort of the next generation as people who can basically be serfs, live in a lack of housing stock and basically pay rent to the point where they can't really enjoy their lives, where they can't even raise familiesall of this sort of centers on us not building for the last thirty to forty yearsthe result is this, which is a generation worse off than their parentsit really comes down to the policywe're not just talking about homes, we're talking about the infrastructure of the cities that we need to as a country both expand and absorb our growing populationIf you don't do any of that, then yes, you have a problem with the policy, which is that the green belt is there to restrict already existing citiesThe policy itself can be useful in saying "look, we don't want urban sprawl"at the same time if you don't do anything else, then you're stuffing the next generationNoof course nature has valueyou've got to ask yourself "what is this green belt that we're talking about"?the answer is, if you actually go and do a tour of the green belt, you'll find that most of it's sort of almost regarded as brownfield site in many regardsA lot of it's just, as one of the panelists has said, just sort of useless grassit doesn't actually do muchit's in and around cities that already have existing infrastructureTHat's greatAt the same time, we're not talking about, you know, building over the lake district herethis is about balancing what we want in lifeDo we want people to have, to enjoy their lives, and therefore not spending their working lives paying for their mortgage or paying for rent?then they can go out and enjoy their livesactually the economy as a whole grows properlyThey're able to raise children and have childrenImagine weighing that against a field that we say "well look, we've siphoned this out, and forevermore no one should ever build on it"if we look outside of the window here in Faversham, we can see all of this was once woodland if you wantwe've as human beings worked with naturein some senses we've got that horribly wrongnow we know more than ever about what we can do that's right, environmentally speakinglet's put that into practicelet's buildthe green belt is the easiest thing to dowe shouldn'tit is the easiest thing to doin the midst of a crisis, right - which is where we are at the moment - then that might be the way outI'm not suggesting that we simply build over the green beltas we mentioned before, it sounds niceit's greenif you actually go and do a tour of the green belt, you'll find that most of it's sort of almost regarded as brownfield site in many regardsactually turns out to be a lot of brownfield site, toowe're subsidising most of this, too, through farming subsidies and the likeNo. No, we shouldn'tYesOkay, so ... we have this, as human beings we have wonderful sets of systematic biases in how we see the world.So most of us travel from one built-up area to another.And so we think, in England, that most of it's built up.Now if I asked most people what percentage of Englandjust England, not Scotland or Wales - just Englandthat tends to be the place that people focus on as most built-up.What percentage is actually built-up?The answer might be 20% or 50%it actually turns out to be 11%it's actually less than thatthat includes all the parks, and all the gardens, and all the rivers and canals, and it turns out that actually three percent is concreted over.can we extend that by a percent?AbsolutelyWhat are we giving up for that?we have to ask ourselves that questionwhat are we doing for nature in that regard?But if that also means that the lives of not just our generation of people under thirty-five, but every other corresponding generation after this is going to be much lower than even their parents ... then that's a terrible incitement of both us as a society,If we're going to be a sort of declining society, we aren't going to be able to fix the sort of problems, the environmental problems that we need to do.now we know more than ever about kind of the environmental situations that we ourselves are creating.That argument leads you in two directions.One is, look, we should not just settle for less, but we basically go back to being purely environmental being.go! Great! Be a hunter-gatherer, right?Cos that's the least environmentally-destructive position that you can take.I don't want that.So we've got to find a middle ground.The other solution is to say "well look, hang on.Our currently - our cities in this country certainly are incredibly environmentally destructive.Just take traffic, for example. It creates a whole load of Co2That's just one little small thing.cars can't get from one place to anotherthey're congestedImagine a city in which there wasn't not just traffic, but also you could build homes and houses and entire buildings and streets built with solar panels ...weren't designed to live and breathe environmentallyWell, the problem with that is that people already own that land.I'm less willing to evict those people at very high cost, then we're gonna be stuck.Thank you.
No, absolutely notThat quote we use from Proudhon we use in the book, really, to expose the contradictions and tensions at the heart of the housing system, which are in fact at the heart of the liberal concept of private property and land.Toby : Proudhon also said that "property is liberty"our conjecture is that he was right on both countsProperty is both things.Well firstly, if we're talking about green belt, as we've already heard that doesn't actually already have anything to do with the intrinsic value of nature.It is a planning policy for the containment of urban areas.And in fact, I suspect the debate would have been very different if all this time, instead of being called "green belt" it had been called "urban containment zones", or something kind of technical as most planning policies are ... we'd probably be having a very different conversation.Unfortunately, this debate gets tied up with the debate around the intrinsic value of nature, which actually green belts have nothing to do with.There are bits of green belt land which are in the inner city, I know of one which is a derelict petrol station next to a tube station and a main road, but technically it is green belt land and an affordable housing provider cannot build affordable housing therethat is green belt.Equally, there are huge amounts of green belts surrounding our cities, which are actually of extremely low environmental value,they [inaudible 00:24:46] desert for very very low biodiversity, far lower biodiversity than the urban areas in the inner city often are ... and also things like golf courses.You know, we use more land in England for golf than we do for homes.when people say "we cannot afford the space to provide the homes we need", it is simply nonsenseI don't think nature needs to justify it's worth at all.It is, as you said, intrinsic.The question here is how do we as a society regulate the amount of space that we use for homes, versus other uses?I agree that we have a fundamental problem with the nature of our development industry in this countryis far too predicated on delivering the highest possible returns, first to the landowners and second to developers, with the communitythe people who actually need homes - including the quarter of a million people who are homeless in this country - are very, very distant third in that pecking order.I agree that the development sector needs urgent reform to provide the homes that we actually need, not just profits.Firstly, the planning system, I think, does have strong tools for protection nature.Things like national parks, areas of outstanding national beauty ... these are all outstanding policies for protecting the really really valuable bits of nature ...I just don't think that the green belt per say is a particularly effective way of protecting nature.And in many ways, it's quite damaging.Millions of people commute every day across the greenbelt, twice. That is adding hugely to the carbon impact on ... of the economy,they cannot live close to where the jobs are, because green belt policies insist that we build homes off and on greenfield sites beyond the green belt,then demand that people commute thirty miles into town to work.That cannot be an environmentally sustainable or sensible position.Yesit is certainly a tension right at the heart of all planning decisions, and at the heart of property itselfBy owning any property, you are inherently engaged in a tension between the rights of the individual and the surrounding communityThe very debate we are having here is about the fact that some people may own bits of land, and may want to do things like develop it or farm it, and other people may have justifiable interest in that land ... heter as provision of recreation space or just a good view, or the value of natureit is about that tensionAbsolutelyone of the problems with our development system is that it does not work anywhere closely enough or effectively enough with local communitiesWe do a lot of work with people who resist developmentthey will tell you overwhelmingly that it's not the principle of houses being built that the opposelots of villages are worried that their villages are dyingTheir schools are closingtheir shops can't stay openthey don't have the populationWhat they don't want is ugly, unsustainable, overpriced, badly supported housing being plunked onto their villages knowing that no one who lives there will be able to afford those homesWhat they do want is genuinely sustainable, good-quality affordable housing, so that local people can afford to continue on living thereThere are somethere are also people who will resist any development at allMostly, those are people who are extremely well-housed themselvesThe people who never get a say in these debates are people who are not well-housed, who have no hope of being able to rent or buy a decent place themselvesNothis is just illustrative of how there are always tensions between different interests in societyI don't see why we should always prejudice the interests of well-heeled, affluent, usually older homeowners over the interests of everyone elseit is to do with the individuals' rights and responsibilities versus the communities'if you're looking at it from an environmental perspective, here are people who are having to commute across the green belt with its own inherent environmental problems
Of course notit's also the most popular planning tool we've had since the warIt is to prevent urban sprawl, to stop growth, to promote urban regenerationmost importantly in a lot of ways now, it's the countryside next door for 30 million peoplewhen 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 wellbeingthat's what it was forit still happens nowThere's a huge store of national capital in the green beltit's worth preservingwe should be very proud of itthe world is envious of the green belt and has tried to copy itit's more relevant than everIf you look at the threats of climate change, we need green spaces around our cities more than everWe need to flood resilient carbon captureWe need farmland that's productive to produce food in the citiesWith a growing population, green spaces become more valuable and more environmentally importantnoit's the oppositeIt's been a successful policyI came on the train this morning from Londonif we didn't have the green belt, Faversham would be part of LondonThe same growth as L.A. has experienced in the last fifty yearswe'd be sitting in London right nowIt might have been an easier journey, but it certainly wouldn't have been a more beautiful onewe have a growing populationYeswe really do need more homesCPRE really supports the right homes in the right placesThe issue isn't land areait's housing building ratesWith this planning permissions for half a million homes that are being sat on, I came through Ebbsfleet in Kent on the train earlier on the train as wellThey have built 500 houses in the last nine years on a development thereNine years it's taken to build 500 housesThat's their planning permission for nine years, for 15 thousand housesLand is an issuegreen belt is not the bogeyman of this crisisThere is a supply problem with housingthat's because the government has stopped building houses since the warThere's plenty of brownfield land availablethat's previously developed landThere's enough land to build at least 1.1 million houses at least in this countryLet's use that first and see where we are thendevelopers don't want to use that landit's more expensivegreen belt nice and cheap, fresh, somebody said earlierlet's just start anew, keep the profit margins high, so prices stay highThat's the real morality tale hereit doesn't 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 samethat's not all to do with the green beltThat's to do with the fact that people are now seeing houses as an investment rather than a homethat is one of the problemsIf you look at house prices in those places, they're unaffordable for most people in the country nowThat is not to do with the green belt I'm afraidthe government have recognised recently it's a broken housing marketThey've also recognised the sanctity of the green beltdon't think they want to change itWe already do, actuallyWhen it's affordable housing, they're called Rural Exception Siteswhen 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 valueWe do support brownfield development in the green belt as long as it doesn't affect the openness too muchWe understand that there's an affordable housing crisisthe types of houses that currently get built in the green belt are generally executive homes90% of the homes that we've looked at in the green belt in the moment are not social or affordable housingwe're kidding ourselves if we think that we're going to build on the green belt and solve the housing crisisyou canthat's what developers are arguing all the timeThe only people, as I say who actually argue for development on the green belt are developersactually want to increase their profit marginsCommon sense says you don't want to pay for the countryside next door to where most of your urban population livedevelopers do want to tear it upit's a constraintIt's been a very successful constraintI would love that to be the right case in some wayswe don't have a housing market that's delivering affordable homesback to the land issue, developers want the green beltit's cheapThey're not bothered by the environmental benefits that we have as users when we use itIf we had a house building sector that could build houseswe've built less than 200 thousand homes a year consistently for the last 10, 20 yearsWe're just not building the housesThere's a constraint in supplyoften intentionally by some of the developersthere's a skill shortagethere's a material shortageThere is just not the model at the momentCouncils are not allowed to borrow money to build social or affordable housingWe've got a problemI'm not disputing we've got a serious affordability problemit's not really the green belt is often the easy bogeymanit's just not trueI don't think sowhen you get planning permission on a piece of land, it goes up in value about 300 timesThat's a land market problem that we've gotthat's an economic problemCommunities don't benefit from thatThe landowner doesthen the developer does by then building unaffordable housesCommunity don't benefit at allyou don't get that support for that type of housing in communities across the country at the moment