I The outcome of British town and country planning In 1985 the British environment was still, by global standards, the product o f a prosperous past and privileged present, well admin­ istered and running smoothly apart from the crisis areas. There can be no doubt that the town and country planning system had, as intended, saved the rural areas from a flood o f development that would have spilled out o f the cities and far into the countryside, but for the green belts and development control (Hall et al, 1973, vol. 2). With the unprecedented material prosperity o f the postwar years, giving spending power and choice to many who had never had it before, and particularly with the rise o f car ownership, housing and associated development would have taken place wherever people were prepared to buy houses and rely on private transport to connect them to jobs in the city. This would have included most recognized ‘beauty spots’ , villages and historic country towns, inflicting irreparable damage on environments that could never be replaced.