§ Mr. Jim Cunningham
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what measures are in place to retain the green belt areas in the West Midlands. 
§ Mr. McNulty
Government policy on the Green Belt throughout England remains, as set out in Planning Policy Guidance Note (PPG) 2, which states that protecting the countryside from encroachment is one of the main purposes of including land in the Green Belt.
PPG 2 continues to require that local authority development plans include a strict presumption against inappropriate development in the Green Belt.
Green Belt designations can only be established or altered through development plans. Once approved Green Belts should only be altered in exceptional circumstances. If such an alteration were proposed, the Secretary of State would then wish to be satisfied that the authority has considered opportunities for development within urban areas before allowing it to take place.