Labour's plans to build 1.5 million homes and change planning laws on green belt

-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)


Ahead of the election, Labour promised to build 1.5m homes over the next five years. Now the party has set out how it plans to do it.

Earlier this week, the new Chancellor Rachel Reeves said she would take 'urgent steps' to put the plans into practice. This includes changing planning laws and reviewing green belt policies, promising to prioritise building on brownfield and 'grey belt land' first.

'Grey belt' is a new term used by Labour which refers to land such as disused car parks and wasteland that are protected from development because they are on designated green belt sites. The Labour Party has previously pointed to a disused garage in Tottenham, north London, as an example of a green belt site that cannot be developed into housing because the land is protected.

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In her first major speech as Chancellor on Monday (July 8), Ms Reeves said green belt boundaries will be reviewed. She also confirmed that mandatory housing targets would be reinstated across the country with each area required to prepare local development plans.

Ms Reeves said that the government will consult on a new 'growth-focused' approach to the planning system before the end of the month. The Chancellor also announced that the ban on new onshore wind farms would be lifted immediately with plans to go further.

Under new plans, onshore wind will be part of the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project regime, which means that decisions on these developments will be taken nationally, not locally. Deputy Prime Minister Angela Rayner has said that she will not hesitate to review planning applications made locally where the the potential benefits for the regional and national economies warrant it.

The Chancellor said that Ms Rayner will write to local councils making clear that they are all expected to have local development plans and review their green belt boundaries. Ms Reeves said that 'grey belt' land will be developed to meet housing targets where needed.

She said that this will allow thousands of the affordable homes to be built, including more for social rent. She also promised that the reforms to the planning system will also help deliver big infrastructure projects, promising to set out its plans in the coming months.

She said: "Be in no doubt – we are going to get Britain building again.

"We are going to get Britain’s economy growing again. And there is no time to waste."