Several hectares of forest, open land and water in Dacorum developed on over three years
Several hectares of forest, open land and water in Dacorum has been developed on in the three years to March 2022, new figures show.
The developments – which include homes, industrial buildings, transport and utility sites among other uses – have been built on areas such as grassland, forests and waterways, including lakes, canals and reservoirs.
Under legislation derived from the EU, Natural England instructs new developments to be nutrient-neutral, meaning developers must demonstrate their plans won’t add to the ecological burden on local habitats, or pay for mitigation if they do.
However, under the changes proposed, this requirement will be watered down to become guidance.
Meanwhile, the latest figures from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities show 8.4 hectares of forest, open land and water in Dacorum has been converted into developed use from 2019 to 2022.
In total, there were 164 hectares of land use change completed in Dacorum in the three years to March 2022, including agricultural land, vacant sites and residential gardens.
Across the UK, 48,500 hectares of non-developed land were built upon, of which 4,800 were forest, open land or water.
Mr Gove's plans aim to provide an additional 100,000 new homes in England by 2030, saying: "We are committed to building the homes this country needs and to enhancing our environment.”
The new plans come in spite of the Conservatives backing off on house-building targets in December after a revolt from backbench MPs.
However, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has hit back at the easing on targets, announcing he would loosen greenbelt building restrictions and ‘back the builders’ to increase housing and help would-be homeowners whose ‘dreams have been shattered’.
The figures show 9,600 hectares of greenbelt land had been converted into developed use between 2019 and 2022, of which 1,100 were for residential use. This compares to 14,200 hectares of non-greenbelt land developed for residential use.
In Dacorum, 36 hectares of land were built on for residential purposes between 2019 and 2022, including land both previously developed and non-developed.