Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, criticised as “a con trick that will convince nobody” government plans to review the green belt in Hertfordshire – removing its protection from land they want to develop and moving it to land under less threat.

    Speaking after publication of the East of England plan this week, Peter said:

    “The East of England minister, Barbara Follett, says there will be green belt reviews and overall more green belt will be created than will be taken away.

    “That’s like accepting the loss of a protected species by announcing that protection is being extended to other, less threatened species, so, hey, we are protecting more species than ever before.

    “Most of the plan’s 120 pages are woolly and opaque, full of the language only experts use. But it is pretty clear that they are further easing the way to create a dreadful corridor of urban sprawl between Stevenage and Hitchin, and between Luton and Harpenden. Why can’t the government just come out and say plainly what they intend to do? Because they know there would be a political storm, that’s why.

    “The report says a minimum of five thousand houses should be built to the west of Stevenage by 2021. The county as a whole has a target of more than 83,000 new homes and that does not include possible development planned on green belt land to the east of Luton.

    “This plan is bad news for the green belt and for anyone who loves the beautiful Hertfordshire countryside.

    “I have fought to protect the green belt ever since I entered Parliament twenty five years ago and I will carry on doing so. These proposals will have a tremendous impact on the quality of life of my constituents.