THE Council to Protect Rural England today launches a blistering attack on Government policies which, it claims, are putting Britain's green belts "under unprecedented threat."
Although green belts are, in most people's minds, a largely urban creation they could have an important role in the future planning of Yorkshire Dales development.
In Wharfedale, for instance, there are enormous pressures on land between Otley and Ilkley, where developers would pay huge sums for some of the most desirable sites in Yorkshire.
But there are threats, too, to smaller villages, like Silsden in the Aire Valley and along the A65 further north: Long Preston, Hellifield and Ingleton, amongst others, are undergoing a big surge in housing development, causing distress amongst some older residents who feel that village life is being radically changed.
In its report today, CPRE president Sir Max Hastings, the author and journalist, claims "speculators are selling plots within green belt land holding out to buyers the prospect that a Government which is already nibbling hungrily at green belt in several areas will soon allow planning consents to be given to others."