Enfield is one of five London boroughs in which the Green Belt is facing a major threat, according to a countryside charity.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) says the borough’s Green Belt faces a high threat due to the council’s decision to earmark land near Crews Hill railway station for possible development.

In a report published on Thursday (March 12), the charity calls the Green Belt a “climate safety belt”, pointing out the semi-rural land can help manage rainfall and flooding and reduce high urban temperatures.

The CPRE also claims new homes can be built on previously developed brownfield sites, which it says are “widely available”.

According to the report, developments in the Green Belt tend to provide “executive homes built at low density”, with many households owning cars.

The charity says protecting the Green Belt encourages high-density development that has social and environmental benefits, as residents will use public transport rather than cars.

Alice Roberts, of CPRE London, said: “Boroughs say they must find space for housing, but planning permission is already in place for a quarter of a million new homes in London, and there is enough previously developed land to build for at least 20 years.

“The incremental destruction of Green Belt will mean we have a higher-carbon city with more congestion and pollution. It won’t mean we have significantly more housing, nor will it make housing more affordable.”

Crews Hill, which is close to the borough’s northern border, was earmarked as a possible site for development in Enfield Council’s Local Plan and Options Consultation.

The CPRE says this is a “serious concern” for local campaigners, who have pointed to “huge amounts of brownfield land within the borough and the many areas in need of regeneration which would provide more sustainable locations for development”.

Council leader Cllr Nesil Caliskan (Labour, Jubilee) said: “We will always prefer to meet Enfield’s housing needs by building on brownfield and town centre sites first, and our new Local Plan considers all realistic and deliverable options available to us.

“Enfield Council’s new Local Plan explores the possibility of whether plan-led, walkable and compact development around the train station at Crews Hill, including previously developed land, is an appropriate and proportionate option to deliver the thousands of homes the borough needs.”

Deputy council leader and chair of the Climate Change Task Force Cllr Ian Barnes (Labour, Winchmore Hill) added: “Enfield Council has this week published a draft Climate Action Plan which sets out the council’s pledge to be carbon neutral by 2030.

“Our plans include the delivery of a substantial tree planting programme in the north of the borough. This will recreate an area of ancient woodland with over 100,000 trees that could capture up to 234 tonnes of carbon emissions every year.

“You can read the draft Climate Action Plan online and we encourage members of the public to send us their views and feedback by Sunday, April 19.”