A new Green Belt for the new City of Reading

A new Green Belt for the new City of Reading

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Paul Stevens started this petition to Council for Protection of Rural England (Berkshire branch) and

A new Green Belt for the new City of Reading?

It’s an idea I need to share as widely as possible, and as quickly as possible, while the application for City status for Reading is still ongoing. The idea is a simple one, and if you agree with it I hope you will find the time both to show your support for it by signing this petition, and to share it further amongst your family, friends and other contacts.

Green belts are a buffer between towns, and between town and countryside. The green belt designation is a planning tool and the aim of green belt policy is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open; however, there is not necessarily a right of access there. There are currently 14 green belts in England and 1 in Wales.

A Green belt around major conurbations is clearly not a new idea, but it is one that has added impetus in the light of the ongoing application by Reading to become a city. It is also highly relevant to the current "Climate Emergency". We have all see the apocalyptic pictures of wild fires and flood across the world. I am sure many of you are also aware of the recent UN Climate Change Report. I take away one key message from it here:

Healthy ecosystems can provide 37 per cent of the mitigation needed to limit global temperature rise. Damaged ecosystems release carbon instead of storing it.

Added to this is the current position Reading in  particular, but also the UK in a wider sense finds itself. We live in what is currently a temperate zone. A “Goldilocks” position that is not too hot nor too warm, not too wet nor too dry. Reading still has much of its surrounding countryside intact. But it is under threat, from the need for houses, roads and jobs in particular. I get that. These things are important, but so are our open spaces. Once the fields are developed they are unlikely to ever be reclaimed. Meanwhile our urban spaces, such as the centre of towns like Reading, are under review in the light of recent changes in our living, working and shopping habits.

Reading is currently involved in applying for City status through a new competition being run by the Queen. 2022 will be a year of celebration, growth and renewal in the Platinum Jubilee year of Queen Elizabeth II, where towns and cities across the country showcase their heritage and civic pride. I would argue a great part of that pride and heritage is in the villages, fields, woods, waterways and hedgerows that surround Reading.

Consider for a moment the potential benefits of a green belt around the new City of Reading:

·       A forest of trees planted, or simply allowed to grow naturally, capturing and storing carbon and absorbing pollutants.

·       Wildflower meadows full of desperately needed pollenating insects.

·       Countryside walks, woods, parks and recreation spaces to improve our fitness and mental wellbeing.

·       Waterways, woodlands and open spaces allowed to recover from waste and pollution and alive with biodiversity.

·       Land where people can grow or buy locally grown fresh and organic food, not dependant on imported food, or food full of unhealthy fats and sugars.

·       Soil that is naturally fed and full of life giving organisms and nutrients.

·       A natural way to absorb rain without the extremes of flooding caused by concreting over the countryside.

·       A place in the open where the people of Reading can enjoy the restorative benefits of sunshine, exercise and fresh air.

Now is the time to do something positive, that will help to turn back the tide of catastrophic climate change, and leave a lasting legacy for our children. Please join me and support this petition.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 500!
At 500 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!