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Area Info

A map of the Welwyn Hatfield Borough:

Welwyn Hatfield borough covers about 82 square miles of gently rolling Hertfordshire. Beneath our feet is mostly a layer of chalk, from the Upper Cretaceous period, dating back to about 100 million ago. London clay also encroaches from the southern edge of the borough. More geological info and maps can be found courtesy of the Herts Geological Society, click here.

Green Belt

About 80% of our borough is covered by the London Metropolitan Green Belt. Their are fourteen green belts around the country, with the London’s being the largest.


London's green belt


The origins of the green belt concept lay in the ideas and works of Ebenezer Howard, founder of Welwyn Garden City. His revolutionary ideas around merging town and country in a specific and sustainable way laid the foundation for the planning movement that lead to a national collection of green belts. Howard’s aim was to promote a new kind of town that provided a healthy, sociable, and economically self-sufficient alternative to the overcrowded slums and industrial pollution that dogged large swathes of many British cities.


Ebenezer Howards map

One of Howard's early diagrams illustrating his planning concept


Howard’s book ‘Garden Cities of To-Morrow’  from 1902 was influential on post war planning and the birth of the green belt. It’s full text can be read here. The book could be seen as a blueprint for ‘sustainable development’, over a century ago Howard was playing a key role in the development of the environmental movement that shapes the UK today, including the green belt concept

The green belt is primarily designed to:


  1. Stop neighbouring towns from merging
  2. Help protect the countryside from encroachment
  3. Preserve the setting and special character of historic towns
  4. Assist in urban regeneration, by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land

An interesting recent document from the CPRE about the future of the green belt can be downloaded here: green-belts-a-greener-future-summary.

With the current shortage of housing and new planning framework from central government the green belt is under pressure, knowing about the aims and aspirations of it should be helpful in forming a view on whatever new development proposals emerge for Welwyn Hatfield in the coming years.



The 2001 census had the population of Hatfield at 27,883 and Welwyn Garden at 43,252,  those official numbers are badly out of date now, however they are still a benchmark used in some WHBC projections.

In 2009 the Office for National Statistics estimated the population for Welwyn Hatfield to be 113,000. The last census in 2001 had the number at 97,000, so we’ve apparently seen an increase of well over 10% in less than ten years. This may have big implications for housing and infrastructure planning, and the meeting of resident’s needs. The figures from the 2011census should be available soon, that will shed further light on population growth in our borough.

Life expectancy in Welwyn Hatfield is 79 years for men and 82 years for women. This is in line with the national average and better than many other areas. Sadly though people from the most deprived areas of the borough have a life expectancy almost seven years less than those those from the most affluent areas (NHS Data 2011). There must be many and complex reasons for this, access to health care, diet and lifestyle are probably just a few factors that contribute to this inequality. In our relatively small geographic area this, of course, shouldn’t be. Clearly there is work to do.


The statistics for this area are also now out of date (2001). However, here is a breakdown of economic activity based on the number of people working in different sectors, aged between 16 and 74. It will interesting to compare this with the census 2011 data due out soon:




Welwyn Hatfield Economy

How economic actvity breaks down in Welwyn Hatfield

This section will be updated as data becomes available.



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