Communities face a postcode lottery over how much of their countryside is blighted by new homes because some councils fail to use powers to protect it, research has found.
Some local authorities choose to protect their green belts but others accept much higher housing targets and allow developers to build on environmentally valuable land.
The different approaches mean some areas are being earmarked to have thousands more homes than necessary, according to research by the Campaign to Protect Rural England.
Councils are planning more than 360,000 homes on England’s 14 green belts, which are rings of protected land designed to prevent urban sprawl.
The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), introduced in 2012, requires all councils to determine their “objectively assessed need” (OAN) for housing, which…