Cash boost to crackdown on illegal building on Green Belt in England

Councils across England are set to benefit from a slice of nearly £2 million to crack down on illegal developments, including on Green Belt land.

The move is part of the Housing Minister’s drive to protect the Green Belt for future generations and local authorities will be able to use the money to hire enforcement officers, use new technology, and help meet the legal costs of bringing rogue developers to task for their illegal developments.

Speaking at the annual RESI Convention in Newport, Housing Minister Esther McVey announced that 37 councils would be receiving a total of up to £50,000 each to help with the clampdown.

‘Once the Green Belt is built on it’s often gone for good that’s why we are determined to protect it. The public have told us loud and clear they want it kept for future generations to enjoy,’ she said.

‘The funding announced today will help councils clamp down on rogue developers, giving the areas with the highest levels of Green Belt the funds needed to punish those who build illegally,’ she added.

Reforms to the national planning rulebook last year maintained the strong protections on the Green Belt, which protect an area’s character and prevent urban sprawl. Only in exceptional circumstances can land in the Green Belt be built on.

Alongside the cash boost for councils, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is teaming up with the Royal Town Planning Institute to overhaul the national enforcement handbook.

The updated handbook will provide the latest best practice and expertise on shutting down illegal building and preventing it from happening, whilst ensuring developers obtain full planning permission before a shovel hits the ground.

Councils will be receiving cash from the Planning Delivery Fund, a one off cash boost to assist with the costs of tackling unauthorised and illegal development in areas with significant areas of Green Belt land.