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Green Belt definition lost in election fatigue

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Re: The Architecture Foundation mayoral debate, 27 May 2004. Thank you for the opportunity to attend - not being a political animal, I have not previously had the pleasure of observing the democratic process close-up.

I have a feeling that the event was somewhat flat, probably because the mayoral candidates were beginning to suffer from electioneering fatigue - one of them observed that the reason they were more or less in agreement on most of the issues, apart from the Hughes/Livingstone chancellor of the exchequer flare-up, was that they had seen so much of each other over the preceding few days. The metaphor would be of placing grit, sand, pebbles, etc, into a rotating drum to produce a homogeneous mixture. Perhaps next time a balloon debate could be tried, allowing the audience the opportunity to progressively reduce the size of the mayoral panel?

My second observation concerns use of the term 'Green Belt', which was mentioned quite frequently, and I wonder whether it would be useful to have a definition of what the Green Belt actually is - in addition to the usual statistics, a sort of diagram or map where one could see at a glance what it means in practice.

Have surveys been carried out to establish which parts of the Green Belt are significantly biodiverse? Are there Green Belt sections with low biodiverse ratios and low recreational-use facility that could be surrendered to other activities? Looking at the problem from another perspective, does the London Wetland Centre at Barnes count towards Green Belt land use?

Derek Pasquill, via email

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