Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) called on MPs to prioritise investment in their forthcoming 25-year plan for the environment and make sure green belt protection was enforced.
Planning campaign manager Paul Miner used the launch of a research report on Monday (12 December ) to insist the green belt was successful, popular and helped prevent urban sprawl.
"With increasing pressure of development the green belt is more vital than ever," he said. "Yet we are nibbling away at it month by month while the government looks the other way.
"The green belt’s future depends on the government’s desire to protect it and to fund opportunities to use that land for further public benefits.
"Yesterday’s car parks and sewage works can be tomorrow’s wetland and woodland, enjoyed by urban and countryside dwellers alike."
Produced by consultant ADAS, Nature Conservation and Recreational Opportunities in the Green Belt, included case studies and insisted green-belt woods and wetlands helped fight climate change.
"Given green belt’s protected status, CPRE argues we have the perfect case for investment to improve these vital public amenities."
As well as prioritising investment in the green belt in its 25-year plan for the environment, CPRE called on the government to reiterate its commitment to protecting the green belt as a permanent area of undeveloped land in its forthcoming housing white paper.
CPRE also called on local governments in large towns and cities to use regional park funding models and introduce long-term management plans to improve nature and recreation.
Councils should also market the green belt as a visitor destination and create new green belts in areas where evidence suggested they would have most benefit.