Greenbelts were established to prevent the continued growth of many of the largest cities of England and Scotland.
They are rings of heavily protected open land circling an urban area. They aim to protect the surrounding countryside from development, and in some cases stop two large cities from merging. Planning permission is not usually granted for schemes on green belt land, although there is often great pressure to allow some proposals through.
The M25 is built through much of London’s greenbelt. One of the main problems of the greenbelts is that they have led to people commuting further into work.
The Rural-Urban Fringe
The Rural-Urban fringe is the name given to the land at the edge of an urban area, where there is often a huge mixture of land uses.
Often science parks, business parks and industrial estates locate in the rural-urban fringe as the land is cheaper, there is room for expansion and they are closer to transport links to allow export and import of goods.
Motorways and by-passes, such as the M25 and the Newbury by-pass have been built on the rural-urban fringe, much to the disgust of environmental groups who feel that the area should be kept as green as possible.
Recreational land-uses such as golf courses and leisure parks have been established in the rural-urban fringe.
Housing has also encroached into the rural-urban fringe, and small villages have grown as more people move out of the cities and commute to work.
Out-of-town shopping centres also find that the space available, good transport connections and cheap land encourage them to establish in the rural-urban fringe.
Farming still occurs in the rural-urban fringe, although the farmers often come under great pressure to sell their land for development. A farmer will make far more money from a sale if there is already planning permission for building to occur on the land.