Hayes in the House – The Green Belt
William Blake - in the much loved hymn Jerusalem – portrays England as a ‘green and pleasant land’, evoking images of rolling hills, fertile fields and misty fens. This vision of gentle, natural beauty enables our immersion in tranquillity, lifting our spirits and securing our wellbeing.
As a conservative, I can think of few more important missions than the protection of our countryside. During my campaign to safeguard and expand parks and green spaces, I learned just what a difference accessing natural beauty can make to mental and physical health; green places and open spaces contribute to a reduction in dementia, loneliness and type 2 diabetes, saving the NHS millions of pounds a year. Our sense of community cohesion too is bolstered by accessible green belts, which restrict development and, in juxtaposition with what we build, provide breathing space – a reconnection with nature.
In England’s great hymn Jerusalem, Blake also writes of ‘dark, Satanic mills’. Yet bizarrely, some are now aiming to concrete over what is lush and lovely in pursuit of ubiquitous, ‘dark’ development.
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