Implementation: Designations such as strategic gaps, rural buffers and green wedges were first referred to in UK planning guidance [The Countryside] in 1997. The guidance states that in reviewing development plans local authorities should re-assess the function and justification of such policies, at the same time recognising that they can contribute to urban form and the shaping of urban areas. [Strategic gaps] are to protect the setting and separate identity of settlements, and to avoid coalescence; retain the existing settlement pattern by maintaining the openness of the land; and retain the physical and psychological benefits of having open land near to where people live. [Rural buffers] are to avoid coalescence with settlements (including villages) near a town until the long-term direction of growth is decided. [Green wedges] are to protect strategic open land helping to shape urban growth as it progresses; to preserve and enhance links between urban areas and the countryside; and to facilitate the positive management of land.
Type Classification: C: Cross-sectoral strategies