Think-tank: Scrap green belt to boost GDP growth

RESTRICTIVE planning laws are holding back economic growth, hurting the poor and pushing down the quality of houses, a new report claims.

The Adam Smith Institute (ASI) has called for a radical shake up of planning rules that would see the green belt scrapped, devolution of planning powers to local authorities, and the privatisation of development rights.

“The current system makes NIMBYism rational,” the report argues.

“Property owners have no incentive to agree to development and every reason to object.”

The think-tank concludes this approach “has restricted development, leading to expensive, high-density housing within the city. This excludes outsiders and first time buyers from London.”

As an alternative to a full shake-up, the ASI suggests auctioning development rights or tradable permits, with local authorities controlling the overall level of development.