The main purposes of Green Belts are: to protect open countryside from the unrestricted spread of built-up areas; and to retain the separate identities and historic settings of villages, towns and cities. Within Green Belts agriculture, forestry and related uses are allowed, while opportunities for public access to open countryside, recreation and landscape and nature conservation are encouraged.
The Cambridge Green Belt was created in 1954. The current purposes (set out in Cambridge Local Plan 2006) are to:
- Preserve the unique character of Cambridge as a compact, dynamic city with a thriving historic centre;
- Maintain and enhance the quality of its setting; and
- Prevent communities in the environs of Cambridge from merging into one another and with the City.