Both London and Cambridge have Green Belts. These are rings of countryside on the edge of both cities which are designated to be protected from urbanisation and sprawl, where activities such as farming, wildlife preservation and outdoor leisure can take place. Green Belt land includes existing villages and roads and any development that was already there.

Both London and Cambridge are now starting to reach the point where there is limited opportunity for further development within the urban area to accommodate fast rates of growth. This means that if the population of both cities continues to grow quickly, then in the future, housing will either have to be built on the Green Belt or located beyond the Green Belt.

In the case of London, there is massive opposition to any development on the London Green Belt which means London politicians and planners will increasingly expect new workers to commute from new developments that are outside of the London Green Belt, which includes places like Cambridge. But Cambridge has the same problem as London, limited room for growth without building on it’s Green Belt.

However, it seems that there is not the same political pressure to protect the Cambridge Green Belt as there is in London and, as a result, the Cambridge Green Belt is being slowly built over by new developments, for example those at Trumpington and on the edge of Queen Edith’s. Many of the people who are (or will be) living in these developments are working in London. When, eventually, Cambridge South Station opens that will further increase the number of people commuting to London for work.

Green Belts are important because they providing opportunities for exercise and wellbeing, they help to improve air quality, reduce flooding and capture carbon. They also encourage the recycling of previously developed land within the city. And they give city residents access to countryside on their doorstep.

So, is it fair for the people of Cambridge that their Green Belt is built on in order to help save the London Green Belt?

If it’s not, then now is your chance to tell local politicians and planners what you think. Up until the 24 February 2020, Cambridge City and South Cambs Council’s are asking for views on the Cambridge Green Belt, the amount of growth and the location of future development. In their own words this is “the most important document you’ve (probably) never heard of. It will affect how we live, work and play in Greater Cambridge over the next 20 years and beyond.”