Posted by: westlancashirerecord | January 1, 2017

MPs Want A Ban On Green Belt Development

Most readers will know of Migration Watch UK migwatch, an independent and non-political think tank chaired by Lord Green of Deddington, a former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Its Vice Chairman is Mr Alp Mehmet, MVO, a former Ambassador to Iceland and it has a distinguished Advisory Council from diverse professions as business, academia, medicine, law, politics and journalism.

Migration Watch believes that sustainable levels of properly managed immigration are of distinct benefit to our society, that many migrants make a valuable contribution to our society in terms of both their skills and experience, that Britain also has a long history of welcoming genuine refugees which must continue, and that nowadays those granted protection comprise only about 10% of net immigration. At present immigration is neither sustainable nor well managed. In 2015 net migration was over 300,000. If net migration continues at recent levels the latest ONS statistics project that our population will increase by 500,000 per year, or the equivalent of a new city the size of Liverpool every year. England is already twice as crowded as Germany and 3.5 times as crowded as France. An obvious conclusion would be drawn that new build housing will be needed to match that increased population.

So why is there some pressure for continued mass immigration? In a national newspaper it is reported that Ministers are being urged to impose a ban on green belt development until after Britain has left the EU so that housing forecasts can be reduced to reflect lower immigration. Tory MPs fear that, unless ministers agree to “pause” development now, huge swathes of green belt land could be bulldozed to house EU migrants who will not have the right to come to the UK.

Official forecasts suggest 5.3million new homes will be needed in England over the next 25 years, with immigration accounting for 37 per cent of new demand. But, with Theresa May pledging to end free movement, critics say these figures should be reviewed. The push is being led by Tory MP Craig Tracey, whose North Warwickshire and Bedworth constituency is being squeezed by growth in Coventry and Birmingham. “I want the Government to have a pause on all greenbelt development during Brexit and then see what the real need is” he said.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) warns that England’s green belt is “under siege” from developers, with councils planning almost 300,000 homes on green belt land. Planning Minister Gavin Barwell said councils should continue to use the pre-Brexit housing projections as a “starting point” when considering housing need. But if he DID say that, and believe it too, he’s a total dud as a planning minister. He didn’t comment on the rise in the number of immigrant births putting pressure on NHS maternity services. He didn’t comment on the shortage of school places, that 60% of local authorities will have a shortage of primary school places by 2018. He didn’t comment on some local medical surgeries with one month waiting to see a doctor. And he didn’t explain that the economic illiteracy of our EU masters has ruined Southern Europe to the extent that immigrants from Eastern Europe now come to Britain. Even the OECD forecasts that there will be no convergence of UK and East European wages before 2035.

I’m of an age when I won’t be around to see that, but I am certain that Migration Watch UK is correct in saying it is not possible to be both a member of the European Single Market and in control of EU/UK immigration. If the UK remains a member of the Single Market, EU migration will remain high and is unlikely to fall below 155,000 a year in the medium term. In which case you might wonder not just about whether Parrs Lane will be built on but also how little of West Lancashire’s entire green belt will be left untouched.

On the bright side, buy shares in land developers, you know it makes sense with Minister Barwell in charge! barwell


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