Let's be clear that the UK doesn't have a housing shortage, London and the South East has a housing shortage. And this means we're not talking generally about building on greenfield sites, as attractive as this is to developers, but specifically on greenbelt sites. I'm sure that local housing pressures elsewhere in the UK can be met by the reuse of brownfield sites without despoiling the Chilterns, the Malverns, the New Forest, the Somerset levels or my own Brecklands.
John Redwood had half the solution when he asked why we were using premium rail routes into the centre of London for heavy steel-wheeled rolling stock; wouldn't it make more sense, he asked, to move the heavy rail termini to the outskirts and use these valuable inner corridors for rapid, rubber-wheeled, high capacity, computer queued light transit stock that could move millions of commuters about effectively and overcome overcrowding of both heavy rail routes and carriages?
The other half of the solution should be this; draw a 40 minute travel-time (by light mass transit) radius around London. Within this area, existing main line rail routes will pass through the greenbelt; between Gatwick and Victoria, Chelmsford and Liverpool Street and so on. A development corridor or ribbon two miles wide centred on the mainline, equipped with new stations and stops, through the existing greenbelt, will allow as much new housebuilding as anyone will ever need, with no additional pressures on the road system.
Too simple? Probably.