The extent, location and character of Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land

Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land per Borough
Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land per Borough

Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land (MOL) are significant land designations for London’s regional and local planning. In autumn 2017 CPRE London approached GiGL with the aim of better understanding the location, extent and character of these designations.

GiGL has long-held useful data on Green Belt and MOL for most of Greater London. However, the datasets were not fully comprehensive, due to the lack of engagement by some local authorities, and therefore data on MOL was missing for some London boroughs.  CPRE London assisted GiGL in 2017 with our annual call for new data, to ensure there are comprehensive data available.

The project commenced with a thorough analysis of the existing datasets, comparing them with published land maps from the local authorities. Each planning authority in Greater London was then contacted (with the exception of the City of London which was known not to have either designation within its boundary) and asked to either confirm GiGL’s current data were correct or to provide updated GIS data.

We used the resulting comprehensive datasets to provide data analysis, visualisations and maps to CPRE London. This included analysing the Green Belt and MOL data against land use and Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs) data managed by GiGL, and statutory designated sites and Ancient Woodland datasets published by Natural England.

One outcome of this collaboration is the report ‘London’s ‘Protected’ Land: the extent, location and character of designated Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land in Greater London‘ – written and published August 2018 by CPRE London, available to download here.

CPRE London intends to promote the use of these GiGL datasets as the basis for an annual report to monitor changes to the extent and character of Green Belt and MOL within the Greater London area.

The up-to-date Green Belt and MOL datasets are available for use by the GiGL partnership with a shared-data licence. One borough provided data for use in the report only, so this has not been added to the GiGL database for future use. GiGL will continue to check for changes to these data on a regular basis, so that the resource remains a reliable representation of these valuable sites.

This project is an example of how GiGL’s impartial data collation and analysis services provide a resource for campaigning organisations and others to debate current issues with best-available data as their evidence base.