Greenbelt Myth-Busting: Anti-Social Behaviour and Access

The myth . . .

Land-owning maintenance companies like Greenbelt have a duty to police people’s access or behaviour in relation to their land!

 . . . busted

We have no legal rights or powers to do so!

The vast majority of the areas that Greenbelt owns and manages are designated as ‘public open space’, meaning that we cannot legally bar people from visiting and enjoying them.

Sometimes, residents ask that we make these areas more private or exclusive by locking them overnight or otherwise ‘fencing off’.

Sadly, we’re forced to decline these requests, as doing so would represent a breach of planning permissions – it’s important to us that we don’t take the ‘public’ out of our ‘public open spaces’, in any sense of the phrase.

However, we may sometimes block access to certain areas on a purely temporary basis, typically for health and safety reasons.

To minimise disruption or inconvenience to residents, we undertake health and safety works as a matter of priority. This means that we can resolve the issue and restore access as soon as possible.

While we do take a hard line against common anti-social behaviour – such as vandalism, littering and dog fouling – Greenbelt has no special powers to combat this either.

Rather, the ability to address this behaviour (known as “power of enforcement”) is retained by police and – in some cases – the relevant local authority.

As such, we cannot directly resolve anti-social behaviour; we prefer to work closely with local residents, police and councils in order to stamp out issues of unacceptable conduct in a way that best fits the local community.

In cases where our land is subject to criminal damage, we always look to pursue the perpetrator for the price of any damage and necessary repairs.

This helps to discourage anti-social behaviour, and ensures that our customers don’t have to pay for these selfish or destructive actions.

Remember that, in the first instance, emergency services will always deal with potentially dangerous situations for the public.

If you have any queries – or wish to report an instance of anti-social behaviour – then our dedicated customer care team can be reached by telephone on 0800 028 1749, or by e-mailing All correspondence will of course be handled in the strictest confidence.