§ 8. Sir Sydney Chapman (Chipping Barnet)
If he will make a statement about his policy on green-belt land. 
§ The Minister for the Regions, Regeneration and Planning (Mr. Richard Caborn)
The Government's policy was stated in our response to the 10th report of the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Committee. We said:the Government favours robust Green Belt boundaries and a continuing presumption against inappropriate development within them.
§ Sir Sydney Chapman
However many houses our nation will need between now and 2016, and however great the proportion that can be built on brown-field sites or recycled land and land earmarked for industrial development, given that some will have to be built on green-field sites, why cannot the Government give a continuing commitment to protect established green-belt land, especially as it represents less than an eighth of England's countryside? Why cannot the Minister give that simple commitment?
§ Mr. Caborn
I want to put on record the fact that, since the Government came to power in May 1997, the amount of green belt has considerably increased. Each case will be judged on its merits. We have a specific commitment to PPG2 on the green belt. As for household growth, we are ensuring that this becomes a regional issue, we have made a commitment that 60 per cent. of building will be on brown-field sites, and we have commissioned the inquiry under Lord Rogers of Riverside. We have done more to protect the green belt in the past 18 months than the previous Administration did in 18 years.