Green Belt Maps - Introduction
Every year the Oxford Green Belt Network receives enquiries for maps of the Green Belt from students studying Geography and Planning, and from journalists, who are researching its origins, its purpose, and its relevance today. A different kind of enquiry comes from people who want to know exactly where the inner and outer boundaries of the Oxford Green Belt are situated, often in relation to Planning Applications for developments near to their own property, and while all the Local Planning Authorities and Departments of central government do hold accurate maps of these boundaries in digital form as part of their Geographical Information Systems (GIS), this detailed information is often very difficult to acquire free of charge. A third kind of enquiry comes from people who want to know where the land designated as Green Belt relates to the various kinds of land use in an area, for example, in relation to agriculture or to nature conservation sites, and maps which provide this are rare outside the sophisticated GIS layers used by government. In this Green Belts Maps section of the website, the intention is to help all three classes of enquirers locate relevant maps which are available free of charge online, and the maps here are grouped for convenience into three sections.
Maps of England's Green Belts (Maps 1-8)
- The Daily Telegraph map of green belts in England is shown here as a static map, with a link beneath it to access the zoomable interactive version of the map and the associated article posted on the Daily Telegraph's website. This map is accurate, but the dark colouration of the Green Belts does tend to obscure the detail of the base map within these green shaded areas.
- The Defra (UK government's Department of Environment, Forestry & Agriculture) map of green belts in England is shown here as a static map, and the link beneath it connects with a much more complex interactive Defra Magic Map Application (also accessible as Map 13 here), which although it does include a layer showing the boundaries of all the Green Belts, it is not so clear or as easy to use for Oxfordshire as the CPRE interactive map (Map 8).
- The BBC green belts map provides an alternative colour rendering of the same data as Map 2, and the link is to the article dated 15.09.2011 which examines the value of Green Belts.
- The BBC News - 'threat' to green belt map uses another colour rendering to show the same data as Map 2, with the outlines of the urban areas added, with a link below to an BBC news report which emphasised the variety of threats to the Green Belt as identified on 25.05.2005.
- The CPRE - Green Belts: a greener future map is similar to Map 4 in showing England's Green Belts and built-up areas, and the link below the map leads to a downloadable PDF of a short CPRE report dated January 2010, from which the map is taken.
- The Guardian green belts map shows the boundaries of England's Green Belts superimposed onto an aerial photomosaic map of England, and the link below it is to the Guardian article of 20.08.2012 which outlines the difficulties and frustration in accessing maps of Green Belts from official sources.
- The new CPRE interactive zoomable map of the Green Belts in England is a very useful recent addition to this selection of maps. It has been produced using CartoDB which is a suite of open source cartographic software developed only as recently as 2011, and it appears to be very accurate in designating the boundaries of Green Belts, to the extent that where a Green Belt boundary is along a road, it is clear at full zoom which side of the road is included in the Green Belt and which side is excluded. It shows all roads, updated to show many road re-alignments undertaken in the last few years (e.g. the Headington Oxford A40 ‘half hamburger’ roundabout) with their names clearly visible if they are public roads, but as it is not using an Ordnance Survey database, it does not show any buildings or other standard O.S. features.
- The North Mymms green belt map shows the boundaries of England's Green Belts superimposed on a map of the English county boundaries, and the link below the map is to the notes and illustrations for a lecture presented at the March 2005 AGM of the North Mymms District Green Belt Society, which outlines the origins of Green Belt, with particular reference to the London Green Belt.
Maps of the Oxford Green Belt (Maps 9-13)
- The Oxford City and Green Belt map is a static map derived from the CPRE Oxfordshire's interactive map of the Oxford Green Belt, which is accessed by the link beneath it to CPRE Oxfordshire's web page which contains this interactive map. By clicking on any of the red markers on this map, a short text summary of a range of fairly recent specific Green Belt issues is displayed, but this information is not currently subject to any updating. This inter-active map is very accurate, with street-level detail becoming highly legible when zoomed, and it is easy to use.
- The Oxfordshire & Green Belt is a static map showing the boundaries of the 5 Local Planning Authorities with a share of responsibility for this Green Belt, derived from the same CPRE Oxfordshire interactive map of the Oxford Green Belt, and linked to it in the same way, as in Map 8.
- Oxford's Green Belt Parishes is Alun Jones' hand-drawn clear and impressionistic map simplifying the complex detail of all the parish boundaries within the Oxford Green Belt so that they are legible at this scale.
- Broad areas of Green Belt within Oxford's administrative boundary, page 64 of Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment, (Oxford City Council, August 2008). The Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) provides information on the opportunities that exist to meet housing need within Oxford. The SHLAA will be updated annually. The SHLAA does not allocate land for development but merely undertakes a technical exercise on the availability of land in Oxford. The 2008 SHLAA has now been superseded by the 2014 Strategic Housing Management Assessment (SHMA) but the areas of Green Belt land remain the same.
- This map labelled 'Oxford's Green Belt' can be fairly described as a clean-looking but rather simplistic map of the generalised boundaries of the Oxford Green Belt, with only major roads and rivers shown as landmarks around the city, and it was produced by the CPRE for use on posters and other publicity material, and is still useful as a graphic for reproduction at a variety of scales.
Maps providing useful supplementary information (Maps 14-19)
View the Map page.
- CPRE - Green Belts Under Threat map, provides a link to a CPRE briefing paper dated August 2012, which provides notes describing some of the threats to England's Green Belts.
- The Oxfordshire Footpaths and Rights of Way definitive map is a PDF of the O.S. map of Oxfordshire, including the Oxford Green Belt, overprinted with a grid, and by clicking on any grid square, that square is then displayed with any Rights of Way marked. This is a high quality map which can be zoomed further and printed, and is included here because it is so often the case that the value of the 'openness' of the Oxford Green Belt is assessed by Planning Inspectors, not only from dwellings and historic sites, but also from public roads and public Rights of Way.
- Farming UK News is a map, not of Green Belts, but of the counties of England showing the percentage of land in each county which is undesignated in any of the categories: National Parks, AONBs or Green Belts. The link is to the article published in Farming UK on 6.2.2012 which included this map.
- This Daily Telegraph map of UK wind farms dated 31.10.2012 is included because proposals to develop wind farms within Green Belts are highly controversial, and this zoomable and interactive map makes it possible to identify the nearest wind farm development in relation to any location in the Green Belt.
- In October 2014 the National Planning Casework Unit (NPCU) launched an interactive map to showcase its data. The NPCU manages planning decisions on behalf of the Secretary of State for DCLG. The explanatory text on the first page was added on 2.12.2014. The link to the map is lower down the first page. When you reach the map page you will need to enter your postcode. The map has zoom facility which you should set before searching for decisions.