The Secretary of State for the Environment approved a final draft of the GLDP on 9 July 1976.16.
He accepted some of the Layfield Panel recommendations concerning open space, and disregarded others. The 1976 GLDP was more positive in respect of the Green Belt. A strong statement was made in favour of its preservation and subsequent paragraphs dealt with the need to study the continuation of agriculture, to improve derelict land, and to develop recreational usage. The concept of Metropolitan Open Land was included in the approved draft, as ‘land within the built-up area’ which needs ‘to be safeguarded just as much as the Green Belt’. The NPFA/Abercrombie concept of an open space standard as acres per 1000 population was discarded as ‘only a crude measure of need’. ln its place, the Minister approved the hierarchy of open spaces of different sizes and functions, as proposed in the Draft GLDP.
Chapter 1OA of the 1983 proposed alterations to the GLDP acknowledged the fact, remarkable in hindsight, that: ‘The approved GLDP contained no direct references to ecology or nature conservation’.’7 The omission was remedied with a whole series of ecology policies in 1983. They covered the formulation and implemen- tation of guidelines on ‘ecological priorities and management requirements for habitats, sites and species throughout Greater London.’ The Draft was never approved by the Minister, but a London Ecology Centre (now the London Ecology Unit) was set up and has had more influence on open space planning than the adopted section of the 1976 GLDP. Every borough now has policies for nature conservation in its local plans.