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The green belt must be tightened

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AJ 19.2.98 had two relevant items: the news report on 'greenfield taxes' and David Sayer's letter about the Dimbleby TV programme on 'a number of rural issues, including . . . building new homes (sic) in the green belt . . .'

While related to rural use, the chief importance of green belts is to preserve and enhance the towns and cities they encircle.

Urban sprawl is not only an uneconomic use of land but, by allowing the increase in the absolute dimensions of a town or city, multiplies the problem of its infrastructure and motor traffic, air pollution and communications generally. It also reduces any incentive to redevelop run-down urban and suburban areas, with the corresponding social consequences.

Taxes on sites in the green belt would not only be counter-productive, but would be a licence to destroy this protection and add to the wider ills that follow. Far better to use that money to subsidise the urban brownfields.

Where do they get their ideas from?

PAUL DARRINGTON Carshalton, Surrey

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