Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, has joined with Conservative councillors in condemning plans to build 5,000 new houses between Hemel and Redbourn.

    Peter said, “I have always believed defended the sanctity of the green belt to maintain green lungs between our built up areas.

    “I support the recent motion of St Albans District Council, partly drafted by Conservative Councillors, opposing the plans forced on Dacorum council by the Government to build 5,000 homes on the green belt.

    “We are waiting for the final report of the Buncefield Inquiry. If, as I hope, the storage depot is rebuilt further north, well away from any habitation, it would be reasonable to build housing on that site. We should not therefore rush to a decision before this report is published.

    “I would also point out that as long as we allow mass immigration on a scale which accounts for one third of all new households it is hypocritical for parties which are in favour of mass immigration to simultaneously deplore the need to build on the green belt when this is the logical result of their own policies.

    “However, we do to build more homes in Hertfordshire. But the County Council’s urban capacity study showed that there is adequate room on brown field sites to accommodate the original housing targets set by the government. Unfortunately the government has repeatedly increased those targets, which is why they are now requiring councils to build on the green belt.

    “The second Barker report published yesterday demands even more building on green belt land. However, the report was required only to look at the supply of housing – not the demand for it which is partly the result of government immigration policy.

    “This increase in targets is entirely due to increased immigration into the UK. We need a national debate whether we should continue to allow immigration at the cost of building on the green belt, or, as I have urged, adopt stricter immigration policies so that we can house existing residents and a more modest future numbers without concreting over the countryside.”